Visitors to the RLG most often comment on three things: The vibrancy of the environment, the high level of artistic talent on display, and the price points ($3 – $6,000) which offer something for everyone, be it a tourist passing through town, a serious art collector, or a Charlevoix resident looking for that special gift.
The gallery, which opened in 2012, is located on Charlevoix’s main street (Bridge Street) in a lovely old building with tall tin ceilings and a beautiful lake view across from the park and boat marina. There are chairs outside for those who want to sit and enjoy the view and visitors can purchase coffee and baked goods at Johannes next door.
Kathy Ackerman, the owner of Round Lake Gallery, curates the gallery with an eye towards the unique, fascinating, creative, fashionable and fun. The wall space prominently features regional artists while the jewelry selection is truly international in scope, from as far away as Peru, Guatemala and South Africa to as local as Charlevoix itself. Ackerman is also passionate about highlighting artists whose work supports social causes such as children’s and peace organizations, autism research, environmental programs and fair trade.
“I love to find work that reuses and repurposes everyday items” says Ackerman, “from Jewelry made from inner tubes and license plates, to fish sculptures made from crutches and discarded household items. Recently we brought to northern Michigan a line of bags made from rejected seatbelts from the Big Three auto makers that come with a lifetime guarantee.” Also important to Ackerman is original art that reflects the beauty of this part of Michigan.
Round Lake gallery also offers live painting sessions from popular regional artists, jewelry-making and wood carving demonstrations, and painting classes from well-known artist teachers.
Kathy Ackerman grew up in an arts-supporting family in Michigan and has been a part-time summer resident of Charlevoix since the 1970’s. Her parents, Pat and Charles Koucky, were patrons of the arts in Saginaw as well as big supporters of downtown Charlevoix. Kathy majored in Art History at Tufts before furthering her education at the University of Chicago. After several years at the Chicago Tribune and the birth of her son, she started her first business which was featured in Forbes when she was 29. In 1984 Kathy moved back to Michigan with her family and in 1993 she opened the Ackerman Gallery of Contemporary Arts in East Lansing. After a busy five years she closed the gallery to focus on her family which now included grade-school twins. In 2012 when the opportunity arose to buy three buildings in downtown Charlevoix, Kathy saw a great opportunity to have a positive impact in a town she loves. Shortly after she opened Round Lake Gallery.