While state tourism boosters have long sung the praises of Michigan’s legendary sand and surf, they’ve only, in recent years, begun heavily promoting its considerable cultural riches. The majority of the arts scene is concentrated in its larger cities, including Detroit, Grand Rapids, and Traverse City. Yet the arts thrive from Kalamazoo to Kalkaska—both mainstream and underground cultures that plug along without much state government support. The neighboring towns of Saugatuck and Douglas, for example, rely heavily on arts-related tourism; their downtown streets virtually teem with galleries.
Surprising as it might sound, the Detroit Institute of Arts is considered one of the country’s top five art museums, and the Cranbrook Academy of Art, in nearby Bloomfield Hills, is a huge educational community that pioneered the Finnish Modern school.
Outside Detroit, notable art museums include the University of Michigan Museum of Art in Ann Arbor, a city known for its galleries and excellent summer art festival; the Flint Institute of Arts, which ranks second in size and scope only to the Detroit Institute of Arts; and the Kresge Art Museum at Michigan State University in East Lansing, noted for collections that span more than 5,000 years of art and local history. The Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum, part of Saginaw Valley State University, contains one of the state’s finest sculpture collections.
by Laura Martone from Moon Michigan, 3rd Edition, © Avalon Travel