Step onto one of the holes of the new Cranbrook Art Museum artist-designed miniature golf course this summer and you won’t be throwing the ball to start at the hole inspired by Cranbrook’s rich ceramic history. You’ll drop it through what looks like a raw pot on a potter’s wheel and turn the wheel instead, a first for any golfer.

“Where it lands is where you play from,” said Lyla Catellier, the museum’s curator of public programs, as she watched her ball hit Friday from the wheel and onto a green filled with several faux ceramic-inspired pots. pieces from the Cranbrook collection. “To my knowledge, there is no other miniature golf course that uses a potter’s wheel as a starting point.”

Pottery wheels, peacock patterns, fountains and even chairs – all of which are connected in some way to Cranbrook’s unique architecture, art and campus – are woven into the new mini-golf “Cranbrook on the Green”, which opens to the public on Wednesday (see box for more details).

“Each hole has a different story,” Catellier said.

The nine-hole course on the Museum’s West Lawn, as well as a bonus 10th hole, includes a hole named “Slum of Legacy” featuring Eero Saarinen’s signature tulip chairs. Another is “Bertoia Bronze”, inspired by blacksmith Harry Bertoia with a built-in sound element. And “Sunken Garden,” named after Cranbrook House’s beloved annual garden, features tall faux hedges and other details (even a little blue door) similar to the original.

“If you’re a person who knows a lot about Cranbrook, you’re going to be thrilled by every one of these details,” Catellier said. “And if you’re someone who’s never been to Cranbrook, then you’re going to read the stories and explore those spaces.”

Art museums across the country have begun rolling out miniature golf courses with art connections to attract and engage patrons in new ways. Cranbrook’s was inspired by a visit by its art museum director, Andrew Blauvelt, to a mini-golf course at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis a decade ago. The Muskegon Museum of Art also has a nine-hole MiniARTure mini-golf course.

Kathryn Goffnett, assistant curator of collections at the Cranbrook Art Museum, takes her shot on the 8th hole

“For about the last decade, museums have been looking for a way to do more interaction,” said Catellier, who noted that admission to the museum is included with tickets to “Cranbrook on the Green.” “We truly believe that the future of museums is to design spaces for people to have a great experience in addition to seeing the art.”

Catellier said Cranbrook’s course creation process began about five months ago and they came up with a list of 40 possible holes, all related to different campus buildings, architecture or alumni. notable students, before reducing it to 10.

The course opens, for example, with a hole called “Gateway”, which connects the famous Cranbrook Gates and around the Cranbrook Schools Fountain Quadrangle. Cranbrook worked with a company called Couple of Putts to design the course and Bluewater Studio to craft each hole.

Kat Goffnett (left) lands her best shot as Amanda Coe and Danielle Owensby attempt to block the Slum of Legacy 7th hole at the Cranbrook Art Museum on Friday May 20, 2022.

Almost every hole features some sort of interactive element. The “Triton Poolsball” hole, for example, doubles as a giant foosball table, while guests are encouraged to sit on the Tulip chairs in “Slum of Legs” to make the par that much more difficult.

The museum plans to open the mini-golf course each summer and expand it, possibly up to 18 holes. The course takes 45 minutes to an hour to complete.

Each hole is “made from the toughest waterproof outdoor materials,” Catellier said. “These are built to last.”

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‘Cranbrook on the Green’

Open 11 a.m. to sunset Wednesday through Sunday starting May 25.

Tickets are $15 for adults; $8 for children 12 and under; admission to the museum included with the purchase of the ticket. Advance ticket purchases encouraged.

Go to cranbrookartmuseum.org/mini-golf.