2021 NW MI Arts & Culture Summit

Recovery & Resiliency

Building Back for a Stronger Creative Sector

Tuesday, May 4  – 9:30am – 3:30pm – Online

Artists & creatives of all disciplines, arts & cultural organizations, creative businesses,
community builders, planners and regional stakeholders are invited to participate – virtually – in the 2021 Northwest Michigan Arts & Culture Summit on Tuesday, May 4.

After cancelling the 2020 gathering due to COVID, 2021 marks the fifth annual regional summit to strengthen relationships, share resources, learn and continue building the ten-county arts and culture network. This year’s virtual summit will include discussions, best practices, demos and breakouts with hands-on tools and strategies to advocate, promote, fundraise for and support the ecosystem that supports arts, culture, the creative sector and our creative connections.

Registration is included with Network Membership. Non-members $20


Program & Presentations

The schedule and presenters are being regularly updated.

The 2021 Northwest Michigan Arts & Culture Summit will be presented online. 


Join us for:

Interactive presentations, panel discussions & breakout sessions

Networking, resource sharing, deep dives & best practices

Hands-on tools & post-pandemic strategies to rebuild, reshape & recover

Morning Panels



Celebrating Resiliency of Arts, Culture & Creative Communites

Mercedes Michalowski
Executive Director, Elizabeth Lane Oliver Center for the Arts
President, Northwest Michigan Arts & Culture Network
Gary Gatzke
Associate Director of Continuing & Community Education, Interlochen Center for the Arts
Mary Bevans Gillett
Convener, Northwest Michigan Arts & Culture Network

State of the Arts
Alison Watson, Director
Michigan Council for Arts & Culture Affairs

Panel 1:

The Pandemic Pivot

 Since the pandemic hit the United States, the creative sector has been dramatically impacted on all levels. Looking back and forward forward, we will discuss the the many pivots taken, lasting impact, silver linings, opportunities and continued challenges as we begin to reshape and re-open as we emerge through final phases of the pandemic. Join this interactive discussion.


Dr. Camille Colatosti, Provost
Interlochen Center for the Arts
Alison Watson, Director
Michigan Council for Arts & Culture Affairs
Lisa Craig Brisson, Executive Director
Michigan Museums Association
Brent Whitney, Dancer/Choreographer; Executive & Co-Artistic Director
Traverse City Dance Project

Panel 2:

Building Diversity & Inclusion

Arts, culture and the creative sector can offer a voice and a connector to further diversity and inclusion in our workplaces, our communities and in the work we share. How can we take steps forward to do so?
Holly T. Bird
Title Track
Craig Hadley
Dennos Museum Center
Xavier Verna
Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts
Vester Waters
Interlochen Center for the Arts
Sarah Bearup-Neal
Glen Arbor Arts

Panel 3:

Arts in Public: Powering Recovery & Community Connection

Arts and culture can power recovery as our communities mend. Can the arts be the cataliyst to rebuild the public square? How do we best use the creative sector to connect, challenge, and engage with each other, new audiences, and important community conversations.

Ted Alan
Caitlin Early
Traverse Area Recreation & Transportation Trails
Nancy McRay
Textile Artist & Art Rapids
Rick Schmitt
Stormcloud Brewing Company
Amanda Sewell
Interlochen Public Radio


Peter Payette, Executive Director
Interlochen Public Radio
Interlochen Center for the Arts

Lunch Break

Optional Network Breakout Rooms
Interested in a special topic, please share!

Afternoon Breakout Sessions

Breakout A:

 Evaluation: Planning for Success

Lisa Craig Brisson
Michigan Museums Association

Breakout B:

Diversity Deep Dive

Kim Kelderhouse
Leelanau Historical Society & Museum
Amanda Kik
Crosshatch Center for Arts & Ecology
Bill & Sue Klco
Good Hart Artist Residency

Breakout C:

Work of Art

Kristi Wodek
Crooked Tree Art Center-Traverse City
Stephanie Coate
Creative Coast

Breakout D:

Advocacy & Engagement

Deborah Polich
Creative Washtenaw & Artrain
Michigan Arts Advocacy Captain, Americans for the Arts

Breakout E:


Tips & Tricks

Lisa Marie Tobin
Gaylord Arts Council
Stephanie Coate
Creative Coast

Breakout F:

Partnerships & Creative Collaborations

Liz Erlewine
Crooked Tree Arts Center-Petoskey
Joe Beyer
Parallel 45
Formerly Michigan Legacy Art Park
Camille Hoisington
Traverse Connect & Creative Coast

The schedule and presenters are being regularly updated.


Will be posted late March.


Thank you to the sponsors whose support makes the Summit possible.


Resources from Past Summits


The Northwest Michigan Arts and Culture Summit is held annually at Interlochen Center for the Arts. This convening brings together artists of all disciplines, arts & cultural organizations, creative entrepreneurs, community builders, planners and stakeholders together with state arts leaders to explore best practices, timely topics, network tools, sector challenges, funding strategies and partnering opportunities as we continue shaping the network’s future. Hallmarks are the rich range of local, regional and state speakers and the high level of interactivity, connectivity and strengthened relationships among attendees. The regional arts and culture summit is an annual springboard to new relationships, opportunities, mentors and ideas. Resources from past summits are available below.

May 2020 would have marked the 5th annual summit but was deferred due to COVID-19. We look forward to sharing more resources from our 2021 Virtual Summit on May 4, 2021.

Let’s Connect

Please join the Northwest Michigan Arts & Culture Network on social media. Promote your events, announcements and creative work by posting or sharing to the Network sites. Join the private Facebook group to discuss with colleagues. Invite others to join, like, support and engage!

Facebook Page

Facebook Private Group

NW MI Arts & Cultural Network Community

Private Group for Network Members & Colleagues




Artists of Northwest Michigan
Northwest Michigan Arts & Culture Network



Northwest Michigan Arts and Culture Network