A New Center for the Arts
s • events
n • exhibition
e d u c
WE HAVE A VISION…
The Crystal Lake Art Center is undertaking a capital campaign to raise $2.2 million
dollars to renovate the old U.S. Coast Guard Station. For the first time in 50 years of
existence, we are asking you, along with foundations and grantors, to be a part of this
Thank you to Elizabeth Lane Oliver, whose dream and steady leadership has helped
bring the arts to Benzie County since 1948. Generations of children and adults have
had the opportunity to explore their talents.
In 2000 we moved from Sutter Road to the former Napa Auto Parts pole building in
the City of Frankfort. While contemplating the remodeling of the existing building—or
new construction—the city offered the Art Center the use of the old U.S. Coast Guard
Station. We are privileged to have this landmark building, in its breathtaking location,
to renovate into a premier Center for the Arts.
We have a vision in the transformation of this historic structure. Personalized instruction
fulfills our mission of education in a meaningful way. Young and old have the opportunity
to enhance creative expression, self-discovery, and self-concept.
• We see young children learning new talents beyond the public school
• We see young families creating models to solve answers for tomorrow.
• We see older generations that need a place to gather for exploration.
Crystal Lake Art Center needs your help. Its future depends on our shared vision and
donations to recognize the potential for this facility. This is your opportunity to establish
a lasting legacy of the arts.
We are a 501(c)(3) organization for your tax-deductible contribution. Please give as
much as you can to bring this dream to reality.
V. Roland Roycraft, AWS Shirley Bishop
Honorary Chairman Chair Fundraising Advisory Committee
Past President, Crystal Lake Art Center 2000–2005
THE CRYSTAL LAKE ART CENTER,
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
THE CITY OF FRANKFORT,
Restore the Historic
A PROJECT TO
COAST GUARD STATION
In 2004, after 70 years of continuous duty, the United
States Coast Guard closed its two-story, red-roofed,
stout-as-a-wooden-ship, search and rescue station in
Frankfort, Michigan. The crew and operations moved
to a modern concrete and steel building next door.
For the Coast Guard, which has operated in Betsie
Bay since 1886, the move represented the turning
BACKGROUND PHOTO COURTESY BOB McCALL; FROM TOP: GORDON KELLS. HOLLY NELSON (2). COVER PAINTING BY CAROL BOWMAN.
of a new page in the long history it has written with
the people, vessels, deep waters, and windy northern
coast of Lake Michigan.
In partnership with the City of Frankfort, which now
owns the building, the Crystal Lake Art Center has
launched the project to restore the historic Coast
Guard Station and convert it to public use as one of
northern Michigan’s foremost centers of art education,
exhibitions, forums, and events.
A New Center for the Arts
A YEAR-ROUND EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL RESOURCE
FOR RESIDENTS AND A DISTINCTIVE DESTINATION FOR TOURISTS
The $2.2 million capital campaign to renovate the former Coast Guard
Station is firmly based in the desires of a thriving community and its most
prominent arts organization to gain more space to meet an expanding mission
to educate, train, and exhibit the work of adults and school-aged students
for public enjoyment. The project is designed to restore and deploy one of
the region’s most recognizable buildings as a bridge between the region’s
hard-muscle industrial past and the knowledge-based, entrepreneurial,
recreational, and creative culture and economy that steadily evolved.
The Crystal Lake Art Center has contracted Quinn Evans | Architects,
an Ann Arbor-based firm that specializes in restoring and transforming
historic properties to new uses, to turn what is essentially a large boat
house and crew quarters into a showcase of art education and exhibition.
Michael Quinn’s design calls for building two spacious galleries in what is
now the boat storage area, carving teaching classrooms from dormitories,
studios from dispatch rooms, all of it overlooking some of the rarest and
most beautiful freshwater landscapes in the nation—Betsie Bay, the Elberta
dunes, and the Lake Michigan shore.
The new Center for the Arts is intended to be a year-round educational and
cultural resource for area residents and a distinctive cultural destination
for tourists. Along with new galleries, classrooms, and studios the Center
for the Arts will have space for a gift shop, a snack area, airy porches, and
sunny patios blocks from Frankfort’s marinas and active main business
district, a very pleasant shoreline stroll away. Cultural tourists who stay
overnight have a choice of first-class motel, hotel, and bed and breakfast
rooms, fine restaurants, a bakery, and several taverns, all an easy walk
from the Center for the Arts. The Quinn Evans design also provides ample
flexibility and space so that the center can host weddings, social events,
and community meetings.
t education and exhibitio
se o f ar n
s ho wca
A Visible Civic Organization
The Crystal Lake Art Center, founded in 1948, manages an all-season program of teaching, hands-on
instruction, studios, exhibitions, interpretation, and outreach to adults and school-aged students. The
breadth of the program and expertise of faculty and staff not only has attracted 600 members (six times
the number in 2000), but also has established the Art Center as one of Benzie County’s most visible
In a typical summer, for instance, the Art Center offers about 30 art instruction
classes for adults—many of them multi-day, in oil, acrylic, and watercolor,
ceramics, kiln-fused glass, wire wrap, paper folding, framing, and fabric dyeing.
Fifteen more classes are aimed at kids, including calligraphy, painting, nautical
folk art, and a four-day art camp for school-aged students.
The Crystal Lake Art Center manages an equally ambitious program of art
instruction during the fall, winter, and spring, which provides art classes to public
school students and offers instruction in fine crafts. In addition, the center holds
an annual tour of Benzie County artist studios, a downtown Art Walk in Frankfort,
regular art auctions, and juried art shows. All told, the Art Center’s curriculum and
programs make it among the most active and accomplished non-profit community
arts organizations in Michigan.
BACKGROUND PHOTO: SCOTT GEST. PHOTOS: GORDON KELLS. CERAMIC LAMP CREATED BY WES BLIZZARD.
TRANSFORMING A HISTORIC MARITIME MILITARY INSTALLATION
The center’s development as a community organization accelerated in 2000, when board members
voted to move from the organization’s original home on Sutter Road, near Crystal Lake, to a former
NAPA Auto Parts store in Frankfort.
The more central location, along with the organization’s ability to hire staff, strengthened the
instructional and outreach programs. The heightened interest, though, and the organization’s ability
to provide first-rate art classes to adults and students, is now at risk because of the lack of space.
The Frankfort building, once thought to be more than sufficient, is no longer adequate. The Art
Center’s gallery, teaching area, gift shop, and administrative office are packed together. Though
students and faculty make do, they recognize the facility is limiting the organization’s reach and
effectiveness. The existing space also is a deterrent to recruiting new members and donors.
SCULPTURE BY JANE DAVIDSON
sp ace to train school-aged studen
INTO A PLACE OF CIVIC ENERGY and ARTISTIC DEVELOPMENT
BACKGROUND PHOTO: HOLLY NELSON. PHOTOS CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: COURTESY BOB McCALL, SCOTT GEST, GORDON KELLS (3), KEN LAKE.
ILLUSTRATION BY RON GIANOLA
The successful conduct of this capital campaign to raise $2.2 million will establish the new Center for the Arts
as a premier community resource, a nexus of art education, and a cultural gathering place for Benzie County
and the communities along the northern coast of Lake Michigan.
The funds will transform a historic maritime military installation into a place of civic energy and artistic
development. The Center for the Arts will have modern, climate-controlled galleries, classrooms, and studios
for adults and school-aged students to produce, learn about, and view great art. Its public spaces will attract
visitors, community gatherings, weddings, and parties.
Convergence of Art, History and Promise
A TERRIFIC NEW EXPERIENCE
Of all the stretches of sand and water, sun and wind that define Frankfort
and Benzie County, none describes this region’s rugged maritime past, or
PAINTING OF COAST GUARD STATION BY CAROL BOWMAN. BACKGROUND PHOTO & SUNFLOWER: HOLLY NELSON. REMAINING PHOTOS: GORDON KELLS (3).
displays its prosperous new economic future, better than the land that lies
along the ship channel at the mouth of Betsie Bay.
To the east, in the place where the dawn sun comes over the ridge, blue
herons and osprey rise out of freshwater marshes that once were choked with
logs floated to mills and an iron smelter that operated along the shore.
Maple, hemlock, cedar, and pine now cloak the rounded hills of nearby
Elberta, where home values and job prospects are rising. Pleasure boats tie
up in the harbor, once crowded by a succession of schooners, steamships,
coal-fueled railcar ferries, and commercial fishing tugs. Children play at the
edge of Lake Michigan, on the very same beach that at the turn of the 20th
century briefly supported a passenger rail depot and one of the Midwest’s
largest and most luxurious summer hotels.
This stretch of land is also the place where the United States Coast Guard
built a 9,600-square-foot station on the channel’s north side, room enough to
house a crew of 12 men and their rescue boats. The old Coast Guard Station, a
study in Depression-era utility and efficiency, has served as a kind of cultural
sentinel. It is a seven-decade witness to the remarkable transition that turned
a busy industrial and commercial fishing port into a new economy city.
l pas t with today’s creative economy
bridging a n i nd
FOR FRANKFORT, BENZIE COUNTY AND NORTHWEST MICHIGAN
It is here, on this stretch of sand and sweet water sea, in this historic building, that the Crystal Lake
Art Center plans to open the new Center for the Arts. Just as Betsie Bay and the Lake Michigan coast
offer natural graces to residents and visitors, the Center for the Arts provides genuine economic and
cultural value. It will serve as another civic focal point for a 21st century community that takes pride in
stewardship, stresses artistic expression, prizes entrepreneurialism, and is devoted to ensuring a superior
quality of life.
Those values are producing terrific new experiences for Frankfort,
Benzie County, and the rest of northwest Michigan. A steady flow of
talented, hard-working, educated, and creative people are settling in
Benzie County. Median incomes are rising. Rates of joblessness and
poverty are falling. New homes are being constructed at record rates,
yet there is a deep will in the community to conserve the rare qualities
that make Frankfort and Benzie County so attractive—the safe and
friendly small towns, the clean rivers, the miles of Great Lakes coast,
and the sense that you matter and belong.
The arts education, exhibitions, sales, and cultural tourism promoted
by the Center for the Arts adds to Benzie County’s reputation as an
enriching place to be. The dollars and cents that flow from visitors is a
vital resource for the county’s economic health. Teaching, producing,
exhibiting, and marketing art is an important segment of northern
Michigan’s new economy and culture. The new Center for the Arts,
a modern arts education and exhibition facility housed in a historic
building on Betsie Bay and the Frankfort ship channel, will immediately
enhance the region’s well-being.
Thank you for taking time to learn about our campaign to convert the historic Frankfort
Coast Guard Station into a premier center to teach, perform, and exhibit great art.
There is a role for all of us in making sure this project is a success. One role we’ve embraced
is to invite you to make a generous gift to ensure that the new Center for the Arts quickly
becomes a vital part of the economic and artistic landscape of Benzie County and
The Center for the Arts represents an extraordinary convergence of opportunity, culture,
and place. Over the last five years, we’ve watched energetic people who are interested
in the arts create special experiences. The new Center for the Arts builds on that
enthusiasm. The new center allows youths and seniors, dabblers and professionals, strong
supporters and curious newcomers to come together and celebrate the importance of
art in their lives.
Benzie County and this entire region benefits from appreciating and participating in art.
Our experiences will only grow richer with a beautiful, modern, welcoming center to
serve as this area’s artistic hub.
We invite you to join us in building the Center for the Arts. Your financial support is essential
to help meet our goal of raising $2.2 million to transform Frankfort’s old Coast Guard
Station into classrooms, galleries, and meeting spaces where everyone can enjoy the
benefits of art.
We welcome the opportunity to discuss this project with you. Please call us at 231-352-
4151, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lee Harper Susan Burks
Executive Director President, Board of Directors
PIECES CREATED BY (L to R): RON GIANOLA, PAM YEE, LORIE WOODS, ELAINE LARSON, MEG LOUWSMA
Fr an kf ort, M I 4 9 6 35 • 2 3 1
P O B ox 1 51 3 • .3 5 2. 4
S t. • 15 1
ake Art Center • 1
• email: cla .net
w e b sit e : w w w . C ry st alL a