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Community Programs

The Dennos Museum Center presents a variety of programs for all ages, seeking to engage, enlighten and entertain audiences. Check out the listings here to find out what's happening.


NMC Faculty Show InstallationEmbrace the dream free day

Monday, January 17th - During Open Hours

On January 17th NMC is kicking off a series of programs to celebrate King's legacy called Embrace the Dream. Admission to the museum will be free January 17th for the opening of the exhibition Color & Shape: Black Artists from the Dennos Collection. A selection of videos about MLK will play continuously during open hours in the Dutmers theatre from 11AM - 4PM.
Starting on January 17th, a drive for the NMC Food Pantry will also take place. The museum will have a bin for people to donate items. Bring an item for the NMC Food Pantry, and get a free admission to the museum. Donation items may be of non-perishable food items and toiletries.
In the evening at 7PM MLK: A Musical Celebration will be livestreamed in Milliken Auditorium. You can also watch from home here. 




Jason Dake leading a Virtual Tour

Virtual Tour

What better way to spend virtual time with your friends and family than visiting the Dennos Museum Center galleries for a specialized online tour! Join Dennos staff for an interactive Zoom tour of the Museum catered to your group. With at least 2 weeks notice, you can request specific works from permanent or temporary exhibitions, or let us design something special for you and your loved ones. Pricing is based on group size, and purchase must be made in advance.

  • Up to 10 people - $25
  • 11-25 people - $50
  • 26+ people - $75

Purchase online. A staff person from the Dennos will then follow up via email to arrange your tour.

Big Read National Endowment of the Arts Logo






All Big Read events are supported by the NEA Big Read, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

The Art Of: _
The Art Of: _
is a series of programs that help connect the visual arts to broader topics in our busy lives, from coffee to education, technology, and even death and dying. Programs have included films, panel discussions, hands-on art, and food and drink tastings. Have an idea for a program? Contact Jason Dake at to pitch it.




saving stuff: preserving the past for future generations

Thursday, November 4, 2021 — 9:30 a.m.

All of us have family treasures that we have inherited or collected over the years. In this live workshop, learn how museum professionals take care of a wide range of artworks and objects, from sculptures and paintings to photographs and precious news clippings. Discuss the different ways in which objects deteriorate, tips for mitigating loss, and what you can do to protect your precious belongings. Part lecture, part workshop, and part behind-the-scenes at the Dennos Museum Center. Craig Hadley, Executive Director and Chief Curator at the Museum, will pique the interest of budding historians, preservationists, art historians - and anyone interested in learning something new. Bring your questions! Class meets at Dennos Museum Center; admission is included with your course registration.

book discussion at the dennos: but is it art?

Thursday, October 14, 2021 — 9:30 a.m.

Have you ever found yourself face to face with a new work of art asking, "how is this art?" If so, you're certainly not alone! Join Craig Hadley, Executive Director and Chief Curator of the Dennos Museum Center for a guided tour and discussion that seeks to answer that very question. Perfect for those who are curious about the history of art, visual expression, and the ever-changing definition of art. Please obtain a copy of our book and complete the reading in advance: But Is It Art?: An Introduction to Art Theory by Cynthia Freeland. 2002, Oxford University Press (ISBN: 0192853678). Freeland's book is a very accessible yet thought provoking read--perfect for those with little or no formal art background. Class meets at Dennos Museum Center; admission is included with your course registration.

View of Dennos Permanent Collection Gallerypoetry night with teresa scollon

Wednesday, October 13, 2021 — 6:30 p.m

Join us for an evening of reading, writing, and discussing poetry, sponsored by the NEA Big Read and Traverse Area District Library. During the program, you will hear poetry from local writer Teresa Scollon and join her in writing poetry in response to works in the Museum's galleries. Scollon is a poet, NEA Fellow, and instructor at the Writers Studio at Career Tech in Traverse City. Her new collection, Trees and Other Creatures, is just out from Alice Greene & Co. Additional selected poems will be read from Joy Harjo's An American Sunrise as part of the NEA Big Read program. Harjo is an internationally renowned performer and writer of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, and first Native American to be selected as the Poet Laureate of the United States.

This event is free with no registration required. 

Meet & Greet with Rufus Snoddy

Friday, August 13, 2021 — 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
$10 for non-members / Free for members
Limit to 25 people total

Join artist Rufus Snoddy for an in-depth view and discussion of his latest exhibition, Disappearing Man on view through August 15. This is a limited engagement event to provide for a unique opportunity to talk directly with the artist in front of his work. He will also be on-site during the August 15 closing reception.

Image: National Woman’s Party march for woman’s suffrage, Washington, D.C. February 14, 1917. Photograph, gift of Alice Paul Centennial Foundation, National Museum of American History. VOICES & VOTES: In Conversation

Wednesday, July 28, 2021 — 2:30 p.m.

Join Deputy Director, Jason Dake, and special guests for this conversation about the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street exhibition, Voices and Votes: Democracy in America . The exhibition explores the action, reaction, vision, and revision that democracy demands as Americans continue to question how to shape the country. From the revolution and suffrage, to civil rights and casting ballots, everyone in every community is part of this ever-evolving story—the story of democracy in America.

Guest panelists include Thomas Henthorn, PhD, the Wyatt Endowed Professor of Public History at the University of Michigan – Flint, and Benjamin Marentette, City Clerk of Traverse City. Dr. Henthorn will present a brief lecture about key moments in the expansion of the voting franchise in America. Both guests will join Jason Dake for a conversation around the exhibition’s themes of democracy for all and voting rights. Attendees will be able to ask questions along the way during this interactive virtual program.

The exhibition is part of Museum on Main Street, a unique collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES), state humanities councils across the nation, and local host institutions. To learn more about Voices and Votes and other Museum on Main Street exhibitions, visit

Dr. Thomas Henthorn teaches American history and public history at the University of Michigan-Flint. His research and teaching focuses on ways to bring history to public audiences across the state.

Benjamin Marentette has served as City Clerk since September 2011, and holds a Master of Business Administration with a concentration on Finance and leadership and a Bachelor of Arts. Benjamin has completed the Senior Executives in State and Local Government Program at Harvard University's Kennedy School and was selected by his peers in 2017 as Michigan's City Clerk of the Year. Benjamin serves in a number of volunteer advisory capacities for various foundations, non-profit, college and university initiatives to advance the incredible Traverse City Community.

Pink Pillow by Russell PratherThe art of: russell prather

Thursday, June 24, 2021 — 6:30 p.m. ET

Watch Now on Facebook

Join us online for a live conversation with artist Russell Prather. We will discuss Prather's exhibition installed in the galleries through August 15, along with the artist's background and inspirations. Attendees will have the chance to ask questions via Zoom or Facebook. You can view the exhibition, And the Heart is Pleased by One Thing After Another , during open hours, Wednesday-Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Prather studied philosophy and animation at the University of British Columbia, and literature and writing at the University of Washington. A self-taught artist, his creative practice has been influenced particularly by the illuminated books of eighteenth-century artist and poet William Blake. Prather’s work has been exhibited at the Muskegon Museum of Art, Museum of Northwest Art, the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, Truman State University in Missouri, Finlandia University, the Duluth Art Institute, The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Michigan Technological University, the Chicago

Art Department Gallery and Stephen F. Austin State University in Texas. He has shown internationally at Yorck Studios in Berlin, Venice International University, John Moores University in Liverpool, and Hong Kong Baptist University. He has solo shows upcoming at Hatch Art in Detroit and Caza Sikes Gallery in Cincinnati. He teaches British literary and visual culture, and modern art and film, at Northern Michigan University in Marquette.

In Conversation with Keith Ekstam

Thursday, May 27, 2021 — 10:30 a.m. ET

Watch Now on Facebook

Join Zach Tate, Ceramics Instructor for the NMC Art Department for a conversation with fellow ceramic artist and colleague Keith Ekstam about his exhibition at the museum. The program will include an illustrated presentation by Ekstam about his work and influences, with questions taken from the audience as well. Enjoy the conversation on Zoom following the link below, or watch the simulcast on our Facebook Page.


The Art Of: Joshua Harkerthe art of: joshua harker

Wednesday, April 21, 2021 — 10:30 a.m. ET

Watch on IGTV @dennosmuseumcenter

Join the conversation on Instagram Live with Deputy Director Jason Dake as he talks to Joshua Harker about his work in the exhibition, Blow Up II, now on view through May 16. We'll get to know a bit about Harker's background and process, as well as discussing how he created a giant inflatable skull for the exhibition.

Joshua Harker (b.1970) is an American artist recognized for his adaptation and incorporation of modern design and manufacturing technologies with traditional methods and materials. This has included 3d printing, video projection mapping, CAD design, digital sculpture, 3d scanning, and biometrics. In addition to static and kinetic works, he bridges 2nd and 3rd dimensions via projection mapping of images and animation onto sculptures in large scale live installations.

In addition to exhibiting globally in galleries and museums, he produced the #1 most funded Sculpture project in Kickstarter history (2011-2015). Joshua’s experimentation in the presentation of his art through social media and the internet has garnered him international recognition and acclaim. His work is among thousands of collections and has appeared in countless publications and press worldwide.

Image: Josh Harker, Crania Geodesica: Palloncino Anatomica, 2019, painted vinyl fabric, electric fan,111 x 96 x 153 inches. Installation detail.

Artists in Conversation: John Sauvé interviews Michael D. Hall

Sunday, April 25, 2021 — 1:00 p.m. ET

Watch Now on Facebook

Michigan Legacy Art Park and the Dennos Museum Center co-host Artists in Conversation for International Sculpture Day 2021. Join Detroit area sculptor John Sauvé as he interviews Michael D. Hall about his career, his works and his ideas. Viewers can ask questions during this free online event, which will include montages of Hall's work -- including the newly installed Waltz Stele sculpture at Michigan Legacy Art Park in Thompsonville, Michigan.

the art of: dex r. Jones

March 4, 2021 — 10:30 a.m. EST

Watch Now on YouTube

Join Deputy Director of Museum Programs & Learning Jason Dake for an in-depth conversation with photographer Dex R. Jones about his exhibition. The program will include a brief tour of the gallery, a conversation between Dake and Jones, and an opportunity to ask the artist questions about his work.

The Art of:_ is sponsored in part by Morsels of Traverse City.

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