Crooked Tree Arts Center will open three new summer exhibitions

PETOSKEY – The Crooked Tree Arts Center is gearing up for a busy summer and is set to open three new exhibits over the next two weeks.

The arts center’s main summer feature – “Honky Tonk: Photographs by Henry Horenstein” – is set to open on Friday, June 3.

The exhibit will occupy the center’s Bonfield Gallery and feature more than 25 photographs documenting the changing world of country music and its fans. The photos were all taken by Horenstein at bars, music ranches and famous venues like the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.

“So this is a solo exhibition and Horenstein has been doing photography and teaching for decades and has published books, but I was really fascinated by this specific subject and his work,” the art director said. visuals Liz Erlewine.

“It’s a fun topic to share, especially with northern Michigan audiences, because there are so many key sounds, styles, and characters that have influenced so much of the music we hear and the performances that we see today,” she said.

All of the exhibits include photographs taken in the 70s and early 80s and truly capture a moment and a piece of country music history.

All subjects are equally laid back, relaxed and unposed. Horenstein’s work strived to capture candid moments of his subjects including Waylon Jennings, Dolly Parton, Jerry Lee Lewis and many more.

“There’s a lot to take in with the history of music, the fan culture and the direct history of those moments in time. There’s also an appreciation for the images of that music and, of course, the photographer’s eye and the way he saw it all,” Erlewine said.

This exhibition will be accompanied by historical writings written by music historian Stephen Thomas Erlewine. The writings will provide context and help explain what a honky tonk is and its influence on music as we know it today.

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An example of Lynn Bennett-Carpenter's work which will be exhibited at the Crooked Tree Arts Center.

The second exhibition the arts center opens on Friday, June 3 is another solo exhibition titled “Singulars: Work by Lynn Bennett-Carpenter.”

The exhibit, as the name suggests, is the work of Detroit-based fiber and drawing artist Lynn Bennett-Carpenter.

This solo exhibition at the Gilbert Gallery will feature selections of recent work by Bennett-Carpenter comprised of hand-woven designs, performative and interactive sculptures, and traditional designs.

“Ultimately, I think it’s an exhibition of drawings, but there are elements that talk about fiber and weaving,” Erlewine said.

“I was really excited about his work as he uses a lot of traditional and classic methods with direct designs but also weaving. He has a really fresh and contemporary approach to design and weaving,” she said.

Erlewine said she thought the Bennett-Carpenter solo show was also a real juxtaposition to the Honky Tonk show. They’re both on the documentation but “…Lynn uses very specific locations and uses them as inspiration for the final pieces she creates.”

Visitors to the exhibition will also be able to touch and interact with some of the works, which excites Erlewine and the arts center as another thing customers can discover within the walls of their summer exhibitions.

Both exhibitions open at the arts center in its two upper-level galleries on Friday, June 3 and also close on Saturday, September 3.

An example of Gretchen Dorian's work which will be exhibited at the Crooked Tree Arts Center.

The latest new summer exhibition – another solo exhibition titled “Gretchen Dorian: A Collection from 1970 to Today” – will feature the life work of local artist Gretchen Dorian, but will open a week later on Saturday June 11 in the center’s Atrium gallery and will also conclude a little earlier than the other two exhibitions.

“It will really work as a retrospective because she’s been doing photography and art for decades,” Erlewine said.

“She’ll be releasing some of her early works as well as some of her new ones. I’m also really excited about this show because I’ve known Gretchen since I moved here and she’s such a gracious and caring performer and has such a sensitive approach to his subjects,” she said.

Much of Dorian’s work centers or focuses on his love for water and nature, which is reflected in the exhibition.

She spent her college days exploring New England, but it was her return to Detroit and the waterfront that helped shape her work through this love and passion for nature, water, and pleasure cruising.

“Her passion resonates in her work and she just has this way of creating personal relationships with her subjects that clients will surely appreciate,” Erlewine said.

The Crooked Tree Arts Center will also be hosting an opening celebration on Saturday, June 18 which will include square dancing in Bidwell Square, hot dogs and lemonade, and various art-related workshops.

The center also hosts a number of conferences, workshops and classes throughout the summer and is largely back to a full summer schedule following the pandemic.

“Last summer was still pretty light, but we’re mostly back to ‘normal’ and things are happening every week with these three shows,” Erlewine said.

More information about upcoming exhibitions and the arts center’s future programming can be found on its website at

Contact reporter Sean Miller at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter, @seanmillerpnrand Instagram, @sean_everest.

Julia P. Cluff