Japanese Cultural Center | @karthographer

Arts + Cultural Community Gems

Japanese Cultural Center, Tea House, and Gardens of Saginaw (Saginaw) Treasured as one of the most authentic Japanese tea houses in North America, take part in a traditional tea ceremony here and stroll the exquisite, three-acre Japanese gardens — framed by weeping cherry trees and handcrafted bamboo gates.

Midland Center for the Arts (Midland) Two performance venues, two museums, art studios, lecture halls, and a historical campus all live here — an epicenter of art, science, and history. Hear the Midland Symphony Orchestra, see Center Stage Choirs or Center Stage Theatre, and experience MATRIX:MIDLAND — a multi-week celebration of the arts.

Alden B. Dow Home & Studio (Midland) A National Historic Landmark and one of "25 Best Historic Homes in America" (Traditional Home, 2014). Tour this mid-20th century modern gem — tucked into an encompassing pond — and see where renowned architect Alden B. Dow lived and designed.

Mid-Century Modern Midland (Midland) Take a self-guided tour of more than 400 incredible mid-century modern structures woven throughout Midland — including the works of architects from Alden B. Dow to Frances "Red" Warner and Jackson Hallett.

Saginaw Art Museum | @micah.arner

Saginaw Art Museum (Saginaw) 1904 Georgian-revival mansion turned art museum, enveloped in lush, Italianate gardens. Explore two award-winning modern wings, rotating exhibitions, and a permanent collection of art including 2,000+ objects that span 4,500 years.

Creative 360 (Midland) Creative collective offering everything from a free art gallery to art classes, concerts to comedy shows, dinner theatre performances to poetry readings.

Gingerblue Gallery (Saginaw) Intimate, Old Town art gallery inside the historic Graebner building, spotlighting local and global artists — with paintings from palette-knife work to oil on canvas, available for purchase.

Painterly Pottery | @graceyhartwig

Creative Studios

Painterly Pottery (Bay City) The region's largest paint-your-own pottery studio, offering pottery painting, clay, glass fusing, and mosaics. Try in-studio painting, or takeout pottery with all the supplies you'll need.

U Me Paint Experience (Saginaw) Sip and swirl guided painting lessons in an Old Town lounge. Bring your own bottle of wine and unwind!

Space Studios (Midland) Pottery studio and glaze bar in a colorful, modern gallery setting, with ready-to-glaze pieces, plus studio lessons in wheel throwing, hand-building, and glazing.

Board & Brush Creative Studio (Saginaw) Hands-on sign-making workshops where you can bring your own bottle of wine. Just pick your project; Board & Brush supplies the instruction, materials, and design to help you craft a hand-lettered sign for your home.

Performing Arts

Pit & Balcony Community Theatre (Saginaw) One of the oldest community theaters in the country, with five main productions each season.

Bay City Players (Bay City) Michigan's oldest continually-operating community theater, presenting five annual productions.

Center Stage Theatre (Midland) National award-winning volunteer theater program, with a season drawing thousands to Midland Center for the Arts.

Temple Theatre

Historic Theaters

The Temple Theatre (Saginaw) Opulently restored 1927 theater with a stage that's been graced by legends from B.B. King to George Carlin. Home to the world's only Barton Butterfield Special organ in original condition, this historic venue hosts concerts and comedy shows, plays and films — plus the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra and Saginaw Choral Society.

State Theatre of Bay City (Bay City) Bay City's premier performance venue, built in 1908 as The Bijou Theatre. Catch a concert or comedy show, a performance by The Bijou Orchestra, or a featured film.

Court Street Theater (Saginaw) Catch a second-run, indie, or documentary film inside this revitalized 1938 theater with state-of-the-art sound.

Chalk Walk Art Festival

Summer Art Fairs + Festivals

Summer Art Fair (June, Midland) Annual juried fine art fair and a summer tradition for 50+ years. Shop artist exhibits and sample from food trucks while you listen to live entertainment on the Downtown Midland streets!

YWCA Riverside Art Festival (June, Bay City) Massive, juried art festival on the streets of Downtown Bay City, with artist vendors across more than a dozen mediums — ceramics to crafts, jewelry to glass.

Art & Garden Festival (June, Saginaw) Summer art fair paired with gardening vendors and demonstrations, held during the first blooming of the roses at Lucille E. Andersen Memorial Rose Garden.

Chalk Walk Art Festival (August, Bay City) See Downtown streets become a canvas for colorful chalk art, shop the Fine Art Market Tent, and listen to live music under the glow of the Third Street Star Bridge!

ArtClash Bash
(August, Bay City) Live art competition and auction with music and food trucks, held rain or shine inside waterfront Wenonah Park.

Saginaw Old Town Art Fair
(August, Saginaw) Shop art at the heart of Old Town, drop in for a free, guided painting class, or watch live artist demonstrations while local musicians perform along the streets.

Author
Blair Cook

A Great Lakes Bay native, Blair is the Founder at Brandscape — a boutique creative company specializing in content. Her favorite part? Sharing stories about the Pure Michigan places she loves!