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Charlevoix Circle of Arts

Charlevoix Circle of Arts brings creative and cultural experiences to downtown Charlevoix with year-round exhibits and a gift shop featuring items made by local artists. Offering art classes, dance instruction, yoga, special events, and programs for both children and adults, there is always something new to see and do. Stop into the Circle Market this holiday season where you’ll find unique and locally created gifts. Charlevoix Circle of Arts, cultivating a more inspired and educated community.

Sarah Matye, Executive Director at Charlevoix Circle of Arts (CCA), answered some questions about this incredible cultural resource located in downtown Charlevoix:

What are three of your organization differences that are unlike any other competitor?

There’s always something new at CCA! Exhibits on display changeover regularly, our gift shop often has new items for sale from local artists, and we are continually adding new classes, workshops, special events and more as part of our mission to cultivate a more inspired and educated community through the arts.

What product in your organization is different from competitors?

We are a nonprofit arts organization that primarily features original, one-of-a-kind works by local artists in our exhibits and gift shop. We also have arts classes, dance instruction, gallery talks, and other programs that take place year-round for all ages and skill levels.

What service does your organization provide that is different than most others?

CCA provides 1) a venue to local artists to showcase and sell their work, and 2) a consistent variety of art programs, educational events and classes for both children and adults.

The arts are an essential element to a fulfilling and enriching life, igniting the spirit and imagination. Art also provides a way for people to process the world around them, and is something that many people turn to in times of stress, including during the pandemic.

What is your experience and background?

I was born and raised in Charlevoix, and my husband and I moved back in 2014 to raise our two children here-- close to family and friends and in a community we love. My career has been spent in the nonprofit sector, with a focus on fundraising and nonprofit management. Starting my role as Executive Director in 2019 was a perfect fit-- I have always loved the arts, and I am passionate about the Circle’s mission and difference it makes in the community.

What is something about your organization that customers do not expect?

Visitors are often blown away by the quality of artwork on display. Northern Michigan is fortunate to have an abundance of talented artists who live and work here.

Do you have employees? If so, share ways that you help make them feel valued.

Yes, we have 4 staff members and dozens of volunteers who all share a passion for CCA’s mission. Our work at CCA is truly inspiring—we are surrounded with the products of creativity and we get to share this with the community.

What is one of your favorite customer testimonials your organization has received?

There are so many great things I’ve heard people say about the Circle—it’s hard to choose just one! Recently, these comments made my day:

“Thank you for building upon the offering of classes available. We are so lucky to have these opportunities in Charlevoix!”
“Beautiful exhibit! It is amazing how talented people are. Staff is so welcoming-- thank you for all your efforts to create this amazing show!”

Does your organization have a personality and an attitude, and if so, how would you describe it?

I would say CCA’s personality or attitude is welcoming, friendly, and relaxed. I think people often have preconceived notions of an art gallery being stuffy or unapproachable, so they are pleasantly surprised to find a casual and inviting atmosphere here.

Does your organization participate in any partnerships with other local businesses (cross promotion, source local ingredients, etc.)?

CCA is part of the Charlevoix Cultural Corridor, a designated arts and educational district comprised of CCA, Charlevoix Public Library and Charlevoix Historical Society. The Cultural Corridor is benefitting the community through collaborative events and opportunities to experience art, literature and history.

Why did Circle of Arts choose to open in downtown Charlevoix?

CCA was established in 2008 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, through the volunteer efforts of local artists and community members who had a vision to create a cultural center in the City of Charlevoix to promote the arts in Northern Michigan. CCA is located downtown in what was originally the Charlevoix Public Library. The organization is fortunate to be able to use “the Old Library,” with its unique modernist design and its great downtown location. It is a wonderful reuse of an older building and remains a compliment to the inspiring beauty of Charlevoix itself.

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