NW MI Arts & Culture Network
Fall into Arts with NW MI Arts & Culture Network
From the 9/30 Traverse City Record-Eagle
Autumn swept into northern Michigan last week. As temps turn brisk and trees erupt in color, the cultural scene is embracing the season with new exhibits, new programming, and new starts. It’s an ideal time to “fall” into the arts.
October marks National Arts and Humanities month. Spearheaded by Americans for the Arts, the month promotes the crucial role that the arts and humanities play in promoting individual wellbeing, addressing trauma, connecting cultures, highlighting inequities, and making our communities healthier and stronger.
New performing seasons are being launched by the City Opera House, Old Town Playhouse, Traverse Symphony Orchestra, National Writers Series, Benzie Symphony, Great Lakes Chamber Orchestra, Great Lakes Performing Arts Center, Interlochen and many more. New exhibitions are opening at the Dennos Museum Center, Oliver Art Center, Glen Arbor Arts, the Old Art Building, Northport Art Center, Manistee Regional Center for the Arts, Crooked Tree Arts Center, Charlevoix Circle of Arts, Jordan River Art Council and galleries and studios stretching across the map.
All build community. Whether the performers are neighbors or national, many of our venues also serve as community centers for neighbors to gather. The same is true for pathways through art parks and public art, and local shops or a favorite pub that shares space with local artists and musicians. All offer a bridge to shared experiences, camaraderie and community culture.
October also marks the new fiscal year at Michigan Arts & Culture Council (MACC), the state agency which provides funding support for many of our regional organizations.
MACC provides grants to encourage, initiate and facilitate an enriched artistic, cultural and creative environment in Michigan using funds appropriated each year in the state budget. Granting areas include operational support, project support, arts in education, new leaders, capital improvements and regional regrant. 2023 funding for Northwest Michigan totaled $917,219, benefitting 42 organizations in eight of our ten counties and representing a 34-percent increase over 2022. Every granted dollar must be matched 1:1 which creates a ripple effect economically while also investing into our local artists and organizations.
Northwest Michigan Arts & Culture Network received three grants that support our work, including our new leaders program to support young and emerging artists, much needed operational support, and our regional regrant program which provides minigrants for community projects, school art equipment and supplies, small organizations, youth programs and public art as well as professional and organizational development.
Minigrants often create big impact. Current and upcoming projects include Art on the TART’s new Boardman Serenade mural, Missaukee Library’s elementary arts experiences, Grand Traverse Pavilions’ summer concerts in the park, Forest Area Schools band camp, Archipelago’s summer music academy, Little Traverse Choral performances, and public art planned for McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital and Commongrounds. For a sample, check out the Network’s Minigrant Spotlight at www.nwmiarts.org. If interested in applying for minigrants, the next deadline is January 15, 2023.
At the Northwest Michigan Arts & Culture Network, October also opens a new chapter as we launch a new strategic plan after a year long Network development project. The Network began as a grassroots effort to connect, support and advocate for the individuals, organizations and projects that drive arts and culture throughout our ten-county region. We took shape in 2018, grew more resilient through the pandemic, and are ready to leap forward toward a strong, sustainable future with focus and engagement.
Our mission is to support and strengthen the collective power of artists, culture bearers and the creative sector to cultivate vibrant communities. Our commitment has not wavered. We spent the past year holding listening sessions, focus groups, thought leader interviews and community surveys. All offered invaluable insight and informed our next steps.
The new plan focuses on doing the work we do best and will benefit those we serve – Connecting, Capacity Building, Communications. We will continue connecting to each other, to resources and to our communities to meet common challenges, collaborate and share collective impact. We will continue our capacity building programs to strengthen the ecosystem and help all succeed; and, we will advocate and communicate, using our collective voice to promote and share the stories and strength of our region’s arts, culture and creative communities.
We’re excited to walk this new path. Join us!
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Mary Bevans Gillett is the convener/director for the Northwest Michigan Arts & Culture Network.
Photo Gallery showing several regional minigrants in action, including:
- Petoskey Steel Drum Band playing at Grand Traverse Pavilions’ Summer Concerts in the Park, Traverse City, summer 2022
- Students from Lake City Elementary School participating in Missaukee District Library’s elementary art experiences (bringing an arts education experiences to students grades 2-4), photo from Missaukee District Library
- Art on the TART’s Boardman Serenade mural in process, Traverse Area Recreation and Transportation Trails (TART), September 2022
- Archipelago’s summer music academy performing near Traverse City, summer 2022
- See more minigrants in action on the Network’s Minigrant Spotlight web page