our history

The vision for an arts and cultural center in north Oakland County began in 1979 when a group of artists including Maxine “Packy” Eckola, a former Michigan artist who studied at Oakland University under nationally-known colorist Rene Radell, Joan Brace, another former Michigan artist, and others joined forces and involved the community in the process.  The Village of Lake Orion donated a parcel along the Paint Creek, a 17-mile long stream in northern Oakland County, and the Lake Orion United Methodist church sold their parsonage to the group, which was ultimately placed on this parcel.  The group raised funds, garnered members, and worked tirelessly with community partners and leaders and in 1981, the Orion Art Center (OAC) opened its doors to the public. 

our mission

The OAC’s mission statement has always been “to make fine art experiences available to Southeast Michigan residents and artists by nurturing the artistic expression and creativity of individuals of all ages and artistic levels through art classes, outreach programs, exhibitions and community events.”  The OAC founders would be proud of the organization they envisioned as over the last thirty-nine years the OAC has hosted hundreds of juried art shows and exhibits, workshops, concerts, and classes for children and adults as well as annual social events that bring thousands of people into the community from all over the country. 

dedicated team

Amy Cole

Hank Lorant
Vice President

Alana Hart
Dragon on the Lake

Shelby Drake
Studio Art Manager

Julie Sugg

Holly Nicosia
Gallery & Studio Coordinator

annual gala

Our gala is a fundraising event held annually in August and attended by over 200 people who have the opportunity to bid on over 100 silent auction items and 5 large raffle items, and enjoy dinner and dancing.  We also recognize two individuals for our Artist of the Year and our Patron of the Arts at this event. 

Dragon on the Lake

During our annual Dragon on the Lake Festival, downtown Lake Orion comes alive where we celebrate art, music, Dragon Boat Racing and a lot of fun,  with an event for all ages.  The festival brings together dozens of organizations, hundreds of volunteers and thousands of participants.  From Dragon Boat Races on Lake Orion, to loads of entertainment, there’s something for everyone.  The people who make this festival possible – our sponsors, volunteers, and participants – share our commitment to community and are vital to our success. If you’re someone who’s interested in getting involved, give us a call. We’d love to talk with you.

studio event rental

Our community room in the Studio at the Moose Tree Nature Preserve is also available to rent year-round for private parties such as:

  • Birthday parties
  • Retirement parties
  • Baby and Bridal showers
  • Anniversary parties
  • Graduation parties
  • Corporate meetings
  • Retreats
  • and many more

At approximately 2,000 square feet, it can comfortably accommodate 50-75 people and provides a beautiful view of the woods behind the Nature Center through its floor-to-ceiling windows that cover the entire back of the building.  Tables and chairs are available at no extra charge and you may decorate for your event and bring in your own party supplies.  You are also allowed to bring in your own food and beverages.  A kitchen is available for use with a sink, refrigerator, and microwave.  Options are also available to add on art classes to offer your guests as a special element.  To inquire about renting space, please call us at (248) 693-4986.