Creating culture in the Tri-Cities

Culture in the Tri Cities

Photos by Jaylie Dice


By: Ryan Reichard, reporter

Culture is defined as “the arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.”

When you think of people who create this culture, this “manifestation of human intellectual achievement,” often times the Tri-Cities area does not come to mind. The truth is the Tri-Cities are booming with innovators who are helping to shape culture in our area through various different means.

Take Valerie Allen as an example. Allen is the curator at 901 North Water Street’s Studio 23 in Bay City and has long been a driving force in the world of art for the community.

“Our mission statement is to have art that is accessible and relevant to all in the Great Lakes Bay region and to introduce our region to the state,” says Allen.

Allen helps to push art in the Tri-Cities area by hosting various events at the studio in hopes of bringing awareness to those who are creating works of art.

“One of the great collaborations is called 50 Artists Exhibit. It was entries from artists in our region and then 50 were picked to be in the exhibit,” says Allen. “As a result, we were able to encompass their bios and images via social media and so it brought a lot of notice to artist working in the area.”

Creating works of art is not the only driving force of culture in the Tri-Cities. Jordan Pries, owner of a local record store in Bay City called the Electric Kitsch, helps support the expansion of culture through music.

Pries, whose idols growing up played on stages in front of big crowds, wants to bring that shared experience to others in the area through various events.

We had a jazz show for a Hell’s Half Mile showcase last September. I believe that only two audience members had ever seen these particular musicians play prior to this event,” says Pries. “This was totally new for the other 20 people or so attending.”

However, bringing culture to the Tri-Cities does have its own set of hardships according to Pries.

“I believe it is rather difficult to maintain this in the Tri-Cities,” says Pries. “When a city has seen many of the same people staying, and not a lot of people moving in, it is extremely difficult to create a diverse place.”

Despite the difficulty of trying to expand culture in the area, Pries still feels the arts are important.

It is imperative that we have the arts, that we have diverse music and people in Bay City,” said Pries.

While the Tri-Cities may not seem like the pre-eminent place of culture creation, there is still plenty of local businesses including, but not limited to, Saginaw Art Museum in Saginaw, Hamilton Street Pub in Saginaw and Counter Culture in Saginaw, who are helping to grow culture in this area. You just have to open your eyes to see the art that’s all around you.

Leave a Comment