Are you in need of a vacation, staycation, or an artistic getaway? The shoulder months of April and May offer opportunities to explore the arts scene in the Sleeping Bear Dunes area.

Connect with yourself, your family, and the local arts community through unique exhibits, concerts, and classes. You can explore the outdoors for inspiration, sign up for an art class, or escape with an overnight stay and spa day at The Homestead Resort.

Glen Arbor Arts Center

Tree of Life InstallationTree Of Life: Connecting The World by Traverse City artist Mary Fortuna examines the mythic Tree Of Life. This mixed-media installation continues to “grow” as animals, birds, and insects are added. The installation features hand-sewn elements and is on display through April 25 in the GAAC Lobby Gallery.

By Hand ShowBy Hand, opening March 29, considers the myriad ways the human hand is intrinsic to creative work. The By Hand project includes related programs that explore this theme through the visual, performing, architectural, and literary arts.

  • By Hand: the exhibition, March 29 – May 30
  • Coffee With the Authors | The Letter League, April 6, 1 p.m.
  • By Hand: Architecture, April 13, 1 p.m.
  • By Hand: Making Music, April 20, 1 p.m.
  • By Hand: Artificial Intelligence In The Arts, May 4, 1 p.m.

In April and beyond, the GAAC offers several creative art classes for adults led by professional instructors.

  • Embroidered Design: Sashiko, April 9, 10-11:30 a.m.
  • Painting Pets in Pastel, April 19, 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. $
  • From Trash to Treasure: Celebrating Earth Day Through Art, April 20, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Kurinuki: Japanese Carved Pottery 1, April 22, 1-4 p.m.
  • Backyard Birds in Watercolor, April 27, 12-3 p.m.

May classes include Camera Basics, Minding the Muse, Weaving Diary, Grief: A Loss for Words, Summer Songbirds in Watercolor, and more. Most classes require pre-registration by visiting  

Old Art Building – Leland

The Old Art Building in Leland has a diverse lineup of events scheduled this spring, including concerts, documentary screenings, and an annual plein air paintout.

  • April 14, 2 p.m. “She Does Shakespeare” shakes up Shakespeare in a tea room experience with sweet and savory treats. The Blue Lantern Tea Room series continues May 12 with “Spring Madrigals.”
  • April 18, 7 p.m. OAB presents Freshwater Focus: Water Tension & The Great Lakes Compact as a satellite partner for the International Affairs Forum, a program of Northwestern Michigan College.
  • April 27, 7 p.m. Enjoy a concert by Hans Christian, a multi-instrumentalist artist who uses the cello in combination with live looping and other string instruments.
  • May 18, 7-9 p.m. Celebrate Michigan’s local theaters at the screening of “Marqueetown,” a documentary on Marquette’s beloved historic Nordic and Delft theaters. 

Kick off the summer season at Leland Air 2024, an exhibit featuring artists from Leelanau County and across Michigan, from May 25-31. Following a full day of en plein air painting, these pieces move from easel to exhibit at the Old Art Building. Opening reception 6:30-8:30 p.m. May 25. Exhibit runs May 26-31 and is free to the public. 

For the complete schedule of events, visit  

Oliver Art Center – Frankfort

Abstract art takes center stage at Oliver Art Center this spring. Journey Through Abstraction, on display through April 5, highlights abstract and surreal dreamscapes.

Gain new insights into abstract art through the work of Kenneth Anbender of Ann Arbor, Sculptor Marat Paransky of Farmington Hills, and Nancy Clouse of Grand Rapids.

  • ARTifactory Poetry Workshop and Reading with Steven Veatch invites community members to write and share their poetry. The workshop wraps up with an exhibit, reception, and poetry reading 5-7 p.m. April 26 at Oliver Art Center.
  • Regional Student Exhibition runs April 12 – May 10 and features work from students from 10 area schools.
  • Ceramics Exploration Series is an independent study experience where you can make unique pieces or work on the wheel. Sessions begin in early April and run for six weeks, with new sessions starting throughout the summer.
  • Join home chef Mark Videan for Beer Bread & Butternut Squash Soup cooking class noon-3 p.m. April 28 and learn to make a fresh loaf of bread and gingery squash soup.

Oliver Art Center hosts a variety of classes on painting, fiber arts, drawing, printmaking, writing, wellness and more. Check the schedule for classes this spring and summer.

Interlochen Center for the Arts

EdmoniaSpring is a great time to take in a concert or play at Interlochen Center for the Arts. Students showcase what they have learned throughout the year and some concerts and programs are free.

  • Nicholas McCarthy with students, 7:30 p.m. April 10, Corson Auditorium. Mark your calendar for this free performance featuring British pianist and motivational speaker Nicholas McCarthy, who was born without his right hand and graduated from Britain’s Royal College of Music. 
  • Hamlet, April 19-21, Harvey Theatre. Join Interlochen’s Theatre Division for one of the most influential tragedies ever written.
  • Jazz Appreciation Month: New Music for Jazz Orchestra, 7:30 p.m. April 26, Dendrinos Chapel and Recital Hall. Special guest Rodney Whitaker joins the Jazz Orchestra for an unparalleled evening of jazz and new music under the direction of trumpeter Josh Lawrence. 
  • Edmonia, May 3-5, Corson Auditorium. Interlochen presents the world premiere of this hybrid opera from award-winning composer Dr. Bill Banfield, illuminating the life of 19th century sculptor Edmonia Lewis.

Explore your own artistic and musical talents through Interlochen’s many on-site and virtual classes for youth and adults. The popular Arts Festival summer concert series lineup includes Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Old Crow Medicine Show, Norah Jones, Jason Mraz, Slash, and Jewel and Melissa Etheridge.

For the full list of events, visit Interlochen’s Concerts and Events. Start planning your summer trip now.

Local libraries in Leelanau

Don’t forget the public library for free children’s programs, classes, and book clubs. Most libraries offer a visitor card, so you can still access library books and services on your vacation.

Learn about the Legend of the Michigan Dogman with Shetan Noir at 7 p.m. April 4 at the Benzie Library in Frankfort.

Looking ahead, William Kent Krueger, author of “The River We Remember,” visits May 18 at Northport Performing Arts Center as part of Leelanau Reads. Leelanau Township Library will host a book discussion at 7 p.m. May 8 before the author’s visit.

Pick up a book, a paintbrush, or your favorite instrument and nurture your creative spirit. Enjoy a slower pace and embrace the season of renewal!

Marla R. Miller is a travel writer and content marketing writer. Visit her website at