Area Arts


Photo of artThe Holland Area Arts Council is a focal point for the arts. From its 17,000-square-foot downtown Holland facility, the council provides cultural opportunities for residents of all ages and abilities. Every year more that 1,600 children and adults take one of the council's 150 classes in dance, music, drama, pottery, photography and other visual and performing arts.


Three exhibitions galleries occupy the Arts Council's first floor. Each year as many as 15 exhibitions are presented featuring the work of local, regional and national artists. Two second floor galleries display monthly exhibits of the artwork of area students.


The Arts Council's programming includes the Holland Area Youth Orchestra, a Junior Strings Program, two Youth Chorales and a Youth Ballet Company. The Performing Arts Series, a children's touring theater, brings live theater to area schools. The council runs an arts camp in the summer.


The Arts Council also coordinates several community events. Annual highlights include the Michigan Art Competition, a juried art show and the Summer Festival of the Arts. Held mid-June through September, the Festival comprises about 30 different events, including concerts, puppet shows, storytellers and art workshops.


Hope College offers concerts, lectures, plays, films and exhibitions to students and the general public throughout the academic year. Hope College also owns and operates the Knickerbocker Theater in downtown Holland - it is a popular venue for plays, dance recitals, concerts and a variety of art, foreign and classic films. Hope's Summer Repertory Theatre, based in the DeWitt Center, has been presenting a series of summer performances for over 25 years.


The Holland Chorale was founded in 1961; the chorus performs for churches, nursing homes and other local groups. It co-sponsors the March festival for the Arts, an annual musical event including visual art, creative writing, photography, dance and drama. Young voices are nurtured through the Holland Area Youth Chorale, performing at area high schools and Hope College's Dimnet Chapel. Also, adults 55 and over can participate in the 110-member Evergreen Chorale, sponsored by the Evergreen Commons Senior Center.


The Holland Symphony Orchestra has developed a loyal following since being founded in 1990. The membership has grown to over 50 musicians and now features a complement of winds and brass. The orchestra annually performs a half dozen concerts at venues throughout the community.


Located in the city's downtown historic district are the Holland Museum and the Cappon House Museum. The Holland Museum is home to a variety of artifacts recounting a story of the Dutch immigrants who settled here in 1847. Built by Holland's first mayor in 1874, the Victorian-style Cappon house still retains many of the family's original furnishings. A recently restored historic house just east of the Cappon house, offer insights to the city's early working class residents. Built in 1867, the "Settler's house" was one of the few structures in Holland to  survive the disastrous fire on 1871. The 900-square foot house was believed to have been built on speculation by city founder Van Raalte and was first owned by Thomas Morrissey, a ship's carpenter from Canada, and his Irish wife.


The heritage of the city's large Hispanic community is celebrated at the annual Fiesta observance, sponsored by the local Latin Americans United for Progress. Other annual events include the Ottawa and Allegan county fairs and the Art in the Park art show.

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