Art Explorations in West Michigan

Whether you are looking to spend a day strolling through an art museum, an evening at the theatre, or participate in a workshop to hone your creative skills, West Michigan has something for every artist and art lover to enjoy. 

South West Michigan 

Photo: Tibbits Opera House

Enjoy performing and visual arts at Tibbits Opera House in Coldwater. Catch a performance during Tibbits Summer Theatre, a concert during the entertainment series, or spend an afternoon viewing the permanent Henry Clay Lewis art collection prominently displayed throughout the theatre. In addition, Tibbits also features a rotating themed art gallery with artwork submitted by local and regional artists.

Tour the architecture of three remarkable downtowns, all within half an hour of each other. Battle Creek, Marshall, and Albion in Calhoun County all have different architectural styles to explore. For a guide to help identify the different styles, check out the Calhoun County Visitors Guide.

Photo: Krasl Art Center

With a mission to inspire meaningful change and strengthen community through the visual arts, Krasl Art Center in St. Joseph offers year-round opportunities for people to engage in the arts through hands-on experiences. KAC is offering virtual, in-person, and take-and-make art programs for all ages. Enroll in classes like ceramics, drawing for students ages 13+, and youth classes like “Green Screen Animation”, making art history, and “Science & Art”. While visiting St. Joseph, you can also add a public art scavenger hunt to your visit! Find a list of southwest Michigan art experiences through KAC

With craft fairs, art centers, and galleries, South Haven is a must-visit destination for artists, and art enthusiasts. Find event information and more to experience the arts and culture in the South Haven area online

The Barn Theater in Augusta is one of the nation’s oldest professional equity resident summer-stock theatres, as well as a longtime Michigan entertainment destination. Check their website for more information on the 2021 season and events celebrating their 75th year.

Farmers Alley Theatre is a professional 100 seat, black box theatre in downtown Kalamazoo. They produce stage plays, musicals, concert events, Theatre For Young Audiences, and more. 

Saugatuck-Douglas wouldn’t be the Art Coast of Michigan without the dozens of working artists who call the area home and the more than 20 artist studios and galleries located throughout the region. Special events, like Gallery Strolls, happen seasonally, but art in all its forms can be experienced at the many galleries and studios throughout the year. Enjoy equity theatre, world-class concerts, films, and art exhibits at The Saugatuck Center for the Arts – bringing big-city cultural experiences to this charming coastal town.

Photo: Ox-Bow School of Art & Artists’ Residency

Ox-Bow School of Art & Artists’ Residency in Saugatuck offers a wide range of opportunities for artists at all stages in their careers. With year-round programs that cater to degree-seeking students, professional artists, and those new to the field, Ox-Bow is a place where creative processes break-down, reform, and mature.

Southwest Michigan Watercolor Society members will hold an exhibit of their recent watercolor paintings at the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute in Hastings through February 2021. The SWMWS artists are exhibiting their work in combination with several painters who have exhibited previously at the institute. The focus of this exhibit is the many creative and diverse themes found in painting, as well as the vision and interpretation of the artist reflected in their work.

More artful destinations to explore: 

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

Thornapple Arts Council, Hastings

The Heritage Museum & Cultural Center, St. Joseph


Central West Michigan

Photo: Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Promoting and encouraging the arts and cultural programming in the greater Lake Odessa area, the Lake Odessa Area Arts Commission offers classes and workshops for artists of all ages. Find details on programs, projects, and events on their website

For 132 years, St. Cecilia Music Center in Grand Rapids has upheld its mission of promoting the appreciation, study, and performance of music in order to enrich the lives of the residents of West Michigan. Today, St. Cecilia Music Center is known by audiences and artists alike as one of the finest establishments to hear and see world-renowned musicians.

Experience masterpieces of art and nature that will delight your senses at one of the nation’s premier horticultural display gardens and sculpture parks, the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids. The sculpture program features more than 200 works in the permanent collection both indoors and outdoors on the 158-acre main campus. Three temporary exhibitions are also developed annually, most curated by and for Meijer Gardens. These special exhibitions are shown within the large indoor galleries and associated indoor and outdoor spaces. 

LowellArts! connects artists and audiences through the visual and performing arts with gallery exhibits, classes, special programs, and the annual Fallasburg Arts Festival in Lowell. 

Photo: Muskegon Museum of Art

Founded on a tradition of aesthetic excellence, the Muskegon Museum of Art is committed to fostering the life-long study and appreciation of the visual arts by strengthening, preserving, and exhibiting its collections and offering a wide range of traditional and contemporary exhibitions. 

You’ll find fine art galleries, performing arts, art classes, and more in the Ludington area. From painting and pottery to sculpture and jewelry, Ludington hosts a variety of local, regional, and national talent throughout the year. Through November 2021, you can take a self-guided walk through downtown Ludington and see art pieces from the Detroit Institute of Arts Inside|Out program on display in area parks, marinas, and the S.S. Badger. Find more exhibit information, as well as area art classes, on the Pure Ludington events calendar.

A beautiful 1927 historic theater in Hart is home to Dale and Gail’s Music & Art Gallery, where you’ll not only find a lobby full of fine artwork, but also a four-keyboard theater organ that accompanies 1920’s silent movies.

Photo: Mecosta County Convention & Visitors Bureau

The arts come to life in the Mecosta County area! With art centers, museums, classes, and more, art enthusiasts will find plenty to explore. All throughout Big Rapids you can find pieces of Robert Barnum’s “Art Tour,” fourteen separate sculptures that can be found in locations all around the community, such as Brutus Dog Park or on Ferris State University’s campus. You can find a brochure of the tour on the Mecosta County Visitors Page.

More artful destinations to explore: 

DeVos Place, Grand Rapids

DeVos Performance Hall, Grand Rapids

Festival of the Arts, Grand Rapids

Grand Haven Main Street

Holland Civic Center Place

Lakeshore Art Festival, Muskegon

Michigan Irish Music Festival, Muskegon

Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids


North West Michigan

Photo: Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts

Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts is Manistee’s home for community engagement and quality arts performances. The RRCA is a non-profit organization that manages and operates the city-owned historic Ramsdell Theatre.

The Bella Vista Inn welcomes all art and music lovers to stay while visiting the Bear Lake and Manistee area. Wine tasting, music, art, or a visit to a local recreational dispensary are all ways to get away in Northern Michigan and leave the stress of the city behind. You will find this family friendly motel quiet and relaxing, and Bear Lake is just steps away!

Enjoy art exhibitions from local artists, an open studio program, classes, and more at the Oliver Art Center in Frankfort. 

Photo: Dennos Museum Center

Traverse City’s thriving art community includes the acclaimed Dennos Museum Center, the beautifully restored City Opera House, antique instruments on display at the Music House Museum, and creative art galleries that pop up in the “big city” and every small town up north. Keep your eyes peeled for 2021summer concerts, film festivals, art classes, and more.

Great Lakes Center for the Arts in Bay Harbor has become a cultural and social hub in Northern Michigan, offering year-round events across all genres—music, dance, theater, movies and film, intellectual dialogue, and education—making it a regional and national performing arts destination.

More artful destinations to explore: 

Harbor Springs Lyric Theatre, Harbor Springs

Mackinac State Historic Parks, Mackinac Island