Great Lakes Center for the Arts

With a mission to serve as a cultural and social hub for Northern Michigan, the Great Lakes Center for the Arts will inspire, entertain and educate with year-round programming across all genres -- theater, music, dance, film and movies, intellectual dialogue and education.

The vision of a performing arts center serving the Northern Michigan region dates back to a 1999 Emmet & Charlevoix County Community Cultural Plan that identified the need to develop a purpose-built, mid-sized theater including state-of-the-art lighting and sound equipment. Due diligence steps towards this goal included feasibility studies in 2008 and 2011. Strategies of this bi-county Cultural Plan envisioned Bay Harbor as a possible location due to its central location. The 501(c)3 organization was formed in 2013 and in 2014 two lead commitments were received from the Herrick Foundation and the Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation. As of July 2016, commitments now total over $21M towards a $25M capital campaign.

The Great Lakes Center for the Arts promises to enhance the lives of residents and visitors to the greater Northern Michigan region, strengthen a vibrant tourism industry, and bring the arts to families and local students. The building will house a state-of-the-art 500 seat theater, a community engagement room for education and receptions, a rooftop deck and donor lounge.

Site construction began in mid-September with the arrival of Team Elmers. The first paving of the parking lot is complete.  Full construction of the Center began in mid-October.  Foundation and footings of the theater box have been poured and we look forward to the pre-cast concrete walls to be installed early January. 

Looking to the future, the Grand Opening Gala is scheduled for July 7, 2018. Programming is being planned for summer 2018 and will be announced summer 2017.

 The Great Lakes Center for the Arts will offer exceptional opportunities to bring compelling performances to the shores of Lake Michigan with virtually limitless possibilities to inspire, entertain, and educate. 

Founding Artistic Director, Michael M. Kaiser, is planning an annual line-up of cultural programs and events to represent all genres of performing arts - theater, music, dance, movies and film, and intellectual dialogue.

World-class festivals and spectacular events will include a country music festival, jazz festival, chamber music festival, international gatherings celebrating arts from around the world, and a Best of Michigan Series featuring the outstanding artists and arts institutions of Michigan.  

Stimulating lectures and symposia will feature conversations with thought leaders and intellectually renowned global speakers on a variety of topics from domestic and world politics, economy and investing, arts, sports and entertainment. 

Meaningful partnerships benefiting the broad regional community will also be essential components of the Center, with initiatives that include arts education programs with local schools and collaborations with cultural organizations as evidenced in the participation of the Bay View Music Festival’s Spectrum Brass and Crooked Tree Arts Center’s Up North Vocal Institute in the GLCFA’s Groundbreaking Celebration on July 2, 2016.  

Visit the Great Lakes Center for the Arts website for more information.

The Great Lakes Center for the Arts is recognized by the IRS as a Section 501(c)3 organization.

Stay up to date on the Center's developments by following GLCFA on social media!