Petoskey Great Lakes Center named Project of the Year by NLEA

Great Lakes Center for the Arts web

Slated to open July 7, the Great Lakes Center for the Arts was recently named the Northern Lakes Economic Alliance’s “Project of the Year” during the NLEA annual awards banquet luncheon.


As Andy Hayes, President of the Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA), often states, “When we all work together, we all win together!” Each year, the NLEA hosts a luncheon of over 500 business and community leaders to celebrate partnerships that help the economy thrive throughout the region.

This year, the NLEA awarded the Great Lakes Center for the Arts its 2018 ‘Project of the Year’ as a regional organization that has made a significant impact in our community.

NLEA Board Member Jim Rummer noted during the award’s introduction that “This year’s project began as a dream nearly 20 years ago as the community identified the need for additional cultural facilities in the region. Following many years of planning, this dream moved forward in 2014 with two leadership gifts totaling $10 million dollars, and a land donation commitment. With NLEA support, this project received approval of tax increment financing for infrastructure costs, and Groundbreaking for this $25 million-dollar construction project followed in 2016. In addition to the significant construction activity in this region, this not-for-profit organization will have an ongoing, positive economic impact throughout the region in recruiting a vibrant work force for Northern Michigan; supporting the hospitality economy through cultural tourism; and encouraging talented young people to remain in the area and contribute to our thriving communities. This new architectural landmark will open its doors on July 7 and will serve as a cultural and social hub for all who love Northern Michigan to experience world-class performing arts for generations to come.”

The mission of the Center is to inspire, entertain and educate through the performing arts with year-round, world-class performances, affordable ticket pricing and a robust education program.

As she received the award on behalf of the Center, Executive Director Jill O’Neill noted that the Center’s mission is also “to collaborate with the many fine arts organizations in the region and throughout the state. It is a core belief that when one arts organization thrives, everyone thrives.”

Ms. O’Neill recognized the tireless efforts and generous support of so many including the Center’s Board of Directors, donors, staff, design and construction partners including TowerPinkster and The Christman Company, business partners Fifth Third Bank, and community leaders who have shared time and talents along the way.

“The Center serves as a permanent reminder that dreams do come true. We are delighted to celebrate with you all as we raise the curtain on a new era in the performing arts in Northern Michigan at the Great Lakes Center for the Arts” stated O’Neill.

The Great Lakes Center for the Arts Raises the Curtain on July 7, with a fundraising Gala and concert by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and a free Community Open House from 1-4pm on July 8, featuring performances by regional ensembles. Tickets for the 2018 Premiere Summer Season are available online at, or by phone at 231.439.2610.