With a sloped economy making a summer job notoriously difficult to find, it is safe to assume many of us will find this summer to be filled with free-time. Instead of wasting that time on the couch watching mind-numbing reality TV shows, take the time to explore the culture-filled cities right outside your doorstep.
Educational and cultural opportunities in Southeast Michigan are pronounced by the abundance of museums and art galleries in the Ann Arbor/Detroit areas.
Here are some culture hotspots close to home and well worth your time:
Ann Arbor Art Center
117 W. Liberty St.
April 27-June 10: The annual exhibition, “The Print,” invites artists to showcase experimental print techniques. The exhibition is open to any artists who are residents of Michigan. The gallery also showcases themed competitions and contemporary Michigan artists. Inside the art center, a shop with art items and works from local artists are for sale.
For more information, visit http://annarborartcenter.org.
Admission is free.
University of Michigan Detroit Observatory
1398 E. Ann St.
The Detroit Observatory stands as it was in 1854. The original astronomical instruments remain functional. Completely restored in 1998, the observatory is a cultural treasure. The U-M physics department hosts a Saturday morning lecture series. Viewing nights are dependent on good weather. Upcoming viewing night dates are May 29, June 12 and July 17 from 9:30-11 p.m.
For more information, visit http://bentley.umich.edu/observatory
Admission is free.
University of Michigan Museum of Natural History
1109 Geddes Ave.
Located next to the Central Campus Transit Center, this museum is home to many permanent exhibits. The Hall of Evolution is located on the museums second floor. A display of Earth’s history is drawn through models, dioramas and fossils.
The Michigan Wildlife gallery is on the third floor, and features a large collection of native Great Lakes birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, plants and fungi.
The Anthropology displays on the fourth floor host rare artifacts and highlights the research of U-M archaeologists. The Geology Displays are also located on the fourth floor and contain large selections of rocks and minerals.
For more information, visit http://lsa.umich.edu/ummnh
Admission is free, $6 donations suggested.
Kelsey Museum of Archaeology
434 S. State St.
This museum’s permanent exhibition of artifacts has been carefully chosen by Kelsey curators. It features a vibrantly painted Egyptian mummy coffin, amulets from ancient Near East, and an array of glass vessels.
Greek pottery, Roman sculptures and a large-scale watercolor representation of the famous Villa of the Mysteries murals from ancient Pompeii are also exhibited.
Special exhibitions include “Karanis Revealed: Discovering the Past and Present of a Michigan Excavation in Egypt.” The exhibit shows the historical records of a single village community in the Egyptian countryside during the Graeco-Roman period.
For more information, visit http://lsa.umich.edu/kelsey
Admission is free, donations are welcome
University of Michigan Museum of Art
525 S. State St.
Situated at the heart of the university, this gallery contains more than 18,000 artworks.
March 17-July 22: Haroon Mirza displays his work consisting of an audio and visual experience. Mirza’s work focuses on the relationship sound that occurs through objects, actions and forces.
March 31-Aug. 4: “Recent Acquisitions: Curator’s Choice Part II” which introduces recently acquired works from UMMA’s collections gifted to the museum during the past five years. Also, selected works of Asian art, contemporary European and American works and a range of woodwork and sculptural pottery are exhibited.
For more information, visit http://umma.umich.edu
Admission is free, $5 donations suggested.
Detroit Institute of Arts
5200 Woodward Ave.
Running until June 3 is the annual Detroit Public Schools Student Exhibition. “Featuring hundreds of imaginative works created by Detroit Public Schools students in grades K-12, ranging from paintings, prints, drawings, photography, ceramics, videos, jewelry and more,” according to the DIA website.
On select Friday nights, DIA is open late for its live music shows, art-making workshops, drawing in the galleries and guided tours. Friday Night Live! The July 13 event includes “DIA Moment: PuppetSlam Detroit!” This puppetry-for-adults event features several puppet scenes by a variety of puppet artists.
For more information, visit http://dia.org.
Admission for students with valid ID is $5
306 S. Main St.
The WSG gallery features contemporary works created by Michigan artists. The gallery is filled with paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture, ceramics and art glass. WSG was voted Best Fine Arts Gallery in 2011 in Current Magazine’s Best of Series. Special exhibits change every six weeks to ensure variety and an ongoing rotation of works and artists.
For more information, visit http://wsg-art.com
Admission is free.
4731 Grand River Ave.
This gallery features an array of Detroit-based artists. Ric Geyer, owner of the gallery, established “art incubators,” places where artists can work on their projects within the gallery space. Types of work exhibited include ceramics and pottery, decorative arts, furniture and functional art to mixed media and sculpture. A diverse selection and a variety of mediums make this gallery worth seeing.
For more information, visit http://4731.com
Admission is free.
215 S. Fourth Ave.
This summer, Gallery Project presents “Spatial Shift.” This multimedia exhibit crafted by 26 local, regional and national artists, celebrates the senses and the 2D digital world.
In a press release for Spatial Shift, the exhibit is described as, “a cultural phenomenon – a reaction to the coldness, abstraction and disconnection of the digital world. It is a call to embrace the physical and dimensional, reuniting the 2D and 3D worlds for the sake of basic human experience through the five senses.”
For more information, visit http://thegalleryproject.com.
Admission is free, donations are welcome.
Detroit Artists Market
4719 Woodward Ave.
This contemporary art gallery was created in 1936 and has since become rooted in the history of Detroit art and culture. For the gallery’s 80th anniversary, DAM presents a special exhibition focusing on its extensive history and support of local arts with The Community Gallery of the Detroit Historic Museum. The Eighty Bucks Benefit will feature art donated from a range of Detroit area artists.
For more information, visit http://detroitartistsmarket.org
Admission is free, memberships are available, donations are welcome.