Our Story

Northport, north of the 45th parallel on the Leelanau Peninsula, has historically been an artistic haven.

The first settlers, the Indians, made their handicrafts as a way of life to survive and imbued the baskets and bowls with artistic embellishments to identify the creator of the object.

Eventually settlers came to the area to establish a community; to homestead, build churches and a school, stores and meeting places.

With winters long and living in a remote area, the community depended on each other for entertainment with music, dances, shows, sewing circles, and diversions to express themselves by writing, drawing, arts and crafts.

Families passed down these interests from generation to generation, and by the mid-20th century, some of the artists became well known outside the area; folk artists like Hans Anderson, and more avant garde artists like Emily Nash Smith who became recognized world wide. The arts ebbed and flowed from decade to decade and new people came and brought new energy to the artistic community.

Northport became a haven for artistic expression and artists such as Edee Joppich and Gene Rantz that came to Northport and became acquainted with local artists like Sharon Kalchik and Kathleen Firestone.

In 2013 a group of artists decided that the arts were alive and well in Northport and it was time to become recognized as an association of artists, so they formed The Northport Arts Association. However, it lacked a very important component, a home. Meetings were being held and classes were given in each others homes. but it lacked community. Then in 2015 whispers and rumors were heard, the Northport Arts Association may be getting a home, but was it just wishful thinking? In the spring of 2016, ground was broken at 301 Mill Street, the foundation was laid, and over the summer a building was erected, the Village Arts Building, the home of the Northport Arts Association.

The Village Arts Building was dedicated in October of 2016 and the Northport Arts Association had the first members arts show that weekend. Since the grand opening the Village Arts Building has been used for shows with the Northport school; and the NAA members have had shows, exhibits and classes for the community to enjoy.

We hope you will visit the Village Arts Building, meet members of the Northport Arts Association, attend the shows, and become a part of the Northport Arts Association family.