New Map App Will Help Michigan Residents Access Art

March 17, 2017

Art is often viewed as a luxury, but we tend to forget it also has the power to heal — literally. For example, art and music therapy classes are often used in nursing homes and hospitals to provide tranquility, comfort, and even relief from pain.

In one study conducted at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, patients expressed that the 18 pieces of local art placed on their walls made them feel more relaxed, more at home, and better cared-for. A 2011 University of London study found that subjects who viewed a beautiful painting reacted physically in the same way people react when looking at loved ones. Specifically, researchers recorded 10% higher blood flow to the “joy response” region of the brain, which can help relieve physical pain and stress.

Because art isn’t always seen as a necessity, access to art can often be limited, especially in rural or low-income areas. Northern Michigan art lovers have used the printed Arts and Craft Trails brochure to get their creative fix for the past 40 years, but now the publication will be offered in a more modern form: a smartphone app.

Since its recent merger with ArtCenter Traverse City, the new Crooked Tree Arts Center in Traverse City has assumed the responsibility of publishing the Arts and Craft Trails map, which features art centers and galleries across 10 area counties.

Kaleigh James, education and outreach director at Crooked Tree, explained, “The brochure…is a fold-out map of Michigan with all the different locations with an image and description of each place. We print over 40,000 of them a year which get distributed throughout the state.”

Accompanying the printed 2017 brochure is the app version, which will be available for both iPhone and Android devices. The new offering reflects how even art aficionados rely on their gadgets. Because apps account for 89% of all mobile media time, Crooked Tree felt it was time to branch out.

Megan Kelto, associate director of the Crooked Tree Arts Center, notes that the app will not replace the traditional brochure, but will offer another option for tech-savvy aesthetes.

“If someone wanted to spend the afternoon driving around any of the listed counties, and stop at the galleries or studios along the way, it makes sense to have the information available on a mobile device,” said Kelto.

The art center wants to distribute the brochures and launch the app right around the same time.

“The goal is to launch them more or less together. It will definitely be available in time for art tours in the upcoming spring and summer season,” stated Kelto. For more information on the map and coordinating app, visit the Crooked Tree Arts Center website.

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