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Coffee With The Authors is a live, conversational interview with local and regional authors about the craft and process of writing. The 2024 series kicks off April 6 at 1 pm at the Glen Arbor Arts Center with Heather Spooner, owner of Ampersand Lettering Lab, an art and hand lettering business in Traverse City. Spooner will talk about The Letter League, an adult pen pal project she created to encourage writing letters by hand during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sarah Bearup-Neal, GAAC gallery manager, leads the conversation.

Scott Bouma, a resident of Cedar, is the Glen Arbor Arts Center’s (GAAC) new executive director, as announced last week in a media release. Bouma joined the GAAC staff in 2013 as an office manager and rose to the position of operations manager. He replaces Sarah Kime, who served as GAAC’s executive director from 2019 until this month. Kime leaves the GAAC to join the staff of North Carolina Outward Bound School as director of advancement.

How can a creative practice help one navigate the grief that accompanies the death of a loved one? This topic is explored during Exploring Grief Through Creativity, the third in a series of retreats hosted by the Glen Arbor Arts Center and focused on increasing wellness through a creative practice. This retreat takes place on Saturday, March 9, from 9 am-5 pm at Pine Street Studios, next door to GAAC in Glen Arbor. The cost is $175 and includes all materials.

The Tree of Life is one of the most universal, recurrent, and enduring of all iconographies—a visual metaphor for the interconnectivity of life forms, Earth and the cosmos. Its legacy stretches across religions and cultures. It appears throughout literature, the arts, and even modern science. This ancient motif now graces the Lobby Gallery of the Glen Arbor Arts Center. It is the mixed media installation of Traverse City artist, Mary Fortuna, aptly titled: Tree of Life: Connecting the World. The exhibit will be shown through April 25. Fortuna’s Tree of Life: Connecting the World is a glorious rendition of this most recognizable of images. It is comprised of the tree form itself, which is drawn in Sumi ink on Japanese paper, affixed to which are numerous hand-sewn soft sculptures—a snake, armadillo, turtle, fox, and bee, among other critters.

“Happy.” How exactly is happiness defined? Is it a simple proposition or a complex notion? Is happiness something objective or something entirely subjective? Is it completely nebulous? Happiness can be the view from atop Pyramid Point; the June harvest of Bardenhagen strawberries; chasing the Northern Lights out at the end of Bohemian Road; volunteering at Leelanau Christian Neighbor’s weekly “Blessings in a Backpack;” driving Leelanau County’s back roads, like Schomberg—just because. The Glen Arbor Arts Center is interested in how artists relate to, and creatively express, the notion of happiness. The GAAC’s very first exhibit of 2024 will explore happiness, and is, fittingly, titled “Happy.”

How can creativity help one navigate the experience of caregiving for other humans? The Glen Arbor Arts Center’s HeARTful Care: Nurturing the Caregiver’s Soul Through Art is the second in a series of Creative Wellness retreats focused on increasing wellness through art practice. This retreat occurs on Saturday, Nov. 11, from 9 am-5 pm at Pine Street Studios, next door to Glen Arbor Arts Center.

Ann Arbor fiber artist Susan Moran will use her Glen Arbor Arts Center residency to begin a body of work “specifically inspired” by Leelanau County. Using photographs and sketches of mosses, fungi, and rock surfaces, Moran plans to create a series of hand-dyed, printed and stitched textile collages. She will talk about her project during a public presentation on Sept. 22 at noon, at the Glen Arbor Arts Center. The presentation is free. Click here to learn more about this and other upcoming GAAC events.

Massachusetts artist Ian Kennelly will use his Glen Arbor Arts Center residency to “further his observations” of the ephemeral space that exists where water, land and sky meet. Kennelly will talk about his project during a free public presentation on Friday, Aug. 25, at noon, at the GAAC, which also bids farewell to summer with a Front Porch Concert on Aug. 25 from 5-7 pm. The Arts Center also hosts Sarah Shoemaker for a Coffee With the Authors event on Aug. 26, a A guided walk-and-talk of “In Translation” on Sept. 2, and a screening of the film “Plague Phase” on Sept. 7.

Novelist Sarah Shoemaker of Northport has been an educator, university research librarian, world traveler, wife, mother, and grandmother. She recently spoke with the Sun about her most recent books, Children of the Catastrophe (2022) and Mr. Rochester (2017). Shoemaker will appear at the Glen Arbor Arts Center on Saturday, Aug. 26, at 11 a.m. for “Coffee With the Authors.” Other events this fall can be found on her website, SarahShoemaker.net.

The Glen Arbor Arts Center (previously called the Glen Arbor Art Association) celebrates 40 years in 2023. We republished this excerpt from the Arts Center’s website that recounts the organization’s history, beginning with its founders, Becky Thatcher, Ananda and Ben Bricker, Midge Obata, Suzanne Wilson, Richard and Barbara Sander, and Barbara Siepker.