Projects on the Boards

Learn more about our latest projects! Projects on the boards are projects that have been approved by the Arts Commission and are in progress either moving through approvals, fund development, call for entry process, artist development, or implementation.

Clinch Park Tunnel Art Exhibition

Project Update

Project Status: Artist, Bobby Magee Lopez has been selected
Image for fabrication of panel and lighting system
Project completion is anticipated for October 2019
Type of Public Art: Mural Public Art Program Category: Rotating Exhibition

Project Background

Prior to completion of the 2013 Clinch Park Improvements, Anishinaabek art and language was represented on the walls of the Clinch Park Tunnel. The stencil paintings were the work of artist Lois Beardslee and depicted regional animals. The paintings were in place since at least 1995. Those paintings created a humble reminder for people of all ages and backgrounds of the connection to the people and place of this region. Unfortunately, time and the less than friendly environment in the tunnel had degraded the paintings over the 20 plus years that they were displayed. The paintings were faded, wall staining had spread, and a few had graffiti over parts of them.

The stencils were white washed over with the updates to Clinch Park and the Tunnel in 2013 and 2014. A group of citizens, including members of the Grand Traverse Band, members of the Traverse City Parks and Recreation Commission, met in that first year to begin exploring possibilities to return and maintain an indigenous presence through public art at Clinch Park. The mouth of the Boardman River is a traditional meeting place for native peoples and it is in this spirit that the purpose of this project aims to honor a historical connection to place and people with public art at Clinch Park with an indigenous theme and perspective.


The proposed location for the Clinch Park Tunnel Mural. The existing pedestrian tunnel is located under Grandview Parkway at the intersection of Cass Street.

Project Description

The proposed mural will be located in the existing pedestrian tunnel located under Grandview Parkway at the intersection of Cass Street. The tunnel provides a safe pedestrian connection between downtown Traverse City and the waterfront. The project will be a rotating exhibition with the possibility that after each exhibition the artwork goes into a collection until at a later date multiple pieces could be displayed as its own exhibition or loaned to other art organizations and communities to display.

The mural will be a digitally printed replication from original art. The original art will be prepared by a professional artist who will coordinate and oversee the printing. The original art will remain in the possession of the Arts Commission who may choose to display the art at another location or request the artist store the art. A digital copy will be provided to the Arts Commission.

The project will include (2) two murals for a total of 608 square feet; one mural on the east tunnel wall measuring 4’-0” x 72’-0” and the second mural on the west wall measuring 4’-0” x 80’-0”. The mural art will be printed on vinyl and adhered to 6MM Alupanel. The panels will be mounted to the concrete wall using stainless steel standoffs. CNC cutting of the panels will ensure consistency and accuracy in the layout of the panels and the panel attachment.

The Arts Commission will review with Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to allow the panels to be attached to the walls. A requirement of MDOT is includes a condition assessment to be completed by a registered and licensed engineer - a sounding investigation was completed by Otwell Mawby in June of 2018. The project not only includes murals, but also proposed lighting enhancements.

The mural is supported by a 2% grant from the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians and the Public Art Trust Fund. .

Then & Now Project

Project Update

Project Status: Project completion is anticipated for October 2019
Type of Public Art: Plaques Public Art Program Category: Temporary Exhibition

Project Background

The Traverse City Arts Commission has been working with the Traverse Area Historical Society and the Traverse Area District Library to implement up to 10 historical “Then and Now” photographs plaques in the Downtown area.

The Then & Now Project is being funded by the Downtown Traverse City Association and Public Art Trust Fund.


Ten locations in Downtown Traverse City have been selected and are as follows:

Park Place Hotel
Milliken Building
Fire Station
Beadle Building
Hannah Lay Building
Straub Brothers Candy Store O.G.
Downtown Streetscape
Straub Brothers Candy Store
Union Street Bridge
Downtown Streetscape

Project Description

Create multiple historic focused plaques in Downtown Traverse City featuring a series of specific old photos which would be the “then” with the plaques placed so that people could view the “now” from approximately the same vantage point.

Boathouse Sculpture Project

Project Update

Project Status: Artist, Daniel Roach has been selected
Type of Public Art:
Sculptural Mural
Public Art Program Category: Permanent Work

Project Background

The Boathouse Sculpture Project is a new project that was introduced to the Arts Commission in early spring of this year. The project was included in the 2018-19 Public Art Program and budget that was approved in April. The project is being made possible by support from a local donor and dollars from the Public Art Trust Fund.

The generous financial contribution will come from a family trust and commemorate a family member that is now deceased. The Arts Commission met early on with the donor to discuss a possible public art project; discussions focused on different types of public art and how the location of the art will be important to the family. The location of the art will also play a role in establishing a design precedent and providing inspiration to the artist selected to complete the work. Ultimately, the Boathouse at Hull Park was chosen, but other locations that were considered included parks along West Grand Traverse Bay, the Sara Hardy Farm Market along the Boardman River, as well as other locations along the future Boardman Lake Art Trail. The Boathouse at Hull Park was chosen because of its direct location on Boardman Lake and its connection to water, and current educational programming focused on youth sailing.

Traverse Area Community Sailing (TACS) currently operates their youth sailing program from the Boathouse; TACS has been “mixing kids with water” since 1994. TACS raised the money to build the Boathouse and in 2008 the Gordon and Jean Cornwell Sailing Center was completed and generously donated to the City. The TACS organization maintains the building through an agreement with the City of Traverse City. The TACS organization has been contacted regarding the art project and has offered to provide a letter of support.

The City Parks and Recreation Department and City Commission have also supported and approved the project.

Kendall College of Art and Design has also been contacted in regards to the proposed project. The family member that will be commemorated through the design of the sculpture attended Kendall and later professionally practiced as an industrial designer and artist. The school has offered to collaborate with the Arts Commission.

Project Description

The proposed project will be located in Hull Park along the north shore of Boardman Lake. The project will be one of the first exhibits that are planned for the Boardman Lake Art Trail; a total of three exhibits are currently in the planning stages for a 2019 implementation.

The project will be a permanent work of art and become part of the Arts Commission’s collection. The type of artwork will be a sculptural mural and be attached to the outside south-facing wall of the Hull Park Boathouse. A sculptural mural being defined as an assemblage of sculptural elements that are attached directly to the existing Boathouse wall. The building wall space available is approximately 8’x 60’ by a 6” maximum depth.

The project is anticipated for completion by May 31, 2020.