NW MI Arts & Culture Network
The Gift of Art
As published in the11/25/22 Traverse City Record-Eagle
During this Thanksgiving weekend, I’m grateful for the more than 150 arts and cultural organizations and 1,500 artists and culture bearers who call our corner of Michigan home. The work they create infuses our region with vibrancy, our shared spaces with passion and our souls with joy.
Join me in celebrating our many creative treasures this giving season. Let’s support those that paint the colors and make the music, give flight to Sugar Plum fairies, tell our stories, treasure our past, and are the magic makers in many shapes and sizes.
Our region is filled with hundreds of artists, musicians, actors, dancers, writers, teachers, photographers, stages, studios, galleries, museums, shops, artisans and culture bearers of all shapes, sizes, ages, and disciplines. Some are gig workers, some are nonprofits, others are entrepreneurs. All work very hard to succeed at the business of art while honing the creative talent that brings shape to their work and contributes daily to our communities – economically, vibrantly, resiliently.
The work of art is never easy but recent years have been especially challenging. The journey through the pandemic was harsh. Recovery is underway with a resiliency that is awe-inspiring, but the toll is showing. Regionally, more than ten arts administrators including several executive directors left their organizations since summer. Several galleries have closed, artists have lost studio space, creative businesses have closed, and nonprofits try to do more with fewer resources.
There are other stories that are personal and poignant. And there is also much to celebrate, There are many examples of resiliency, grace, grit, and creativity as so many have worked tirelessly to reshape, rebuild and re-envision the creative sector moving forward. New venues are on the horizon, performing schedules have ramped up, exhibitions are robust. And the artists continue to create magic.
Give the Gift of Art
We can celebrate our by investing in their sustainability. Share the gift of art during this giving season, we can invest into our creative treasures by sharing the gift of art and culture. Enjoy a performance, visit a gallery, purchase artwork, go to a museum, buy gift certificates, attend a class, share a membership, go to a book signing, delve into local history, hire a musician, tour a sculpture park, donate, shop artisans at makers marts and gift shops.
There are so many experiences to share and opportunities to explore. During the next few weeks, enjoy a holiday performance – the Nutcrackers, the Messiah sings, holiday concerts by orchestras and ensembles, seasonal shows at theatres and film houses, street performers, and community caroling. The venues may be at an art park, a concert hall or a community cultural center. All benefit from ticket sales and inviting in new audiences. Then return again in the new year.
Looking for ideas? Check out the Holiday Happenings and Member Showcase of regional events, exhibitions and members on the Northwest Michigan Arts & Culture Network’s website: www.nwmiarts.org.
Give to the Arts by Celebrating the Arts
After the holiday glitter melts into 2023, let’s continue to celebrate, share and invest into the arts year-round as champions and partners.
Be a champion. Applaud the arts as attendees and supporters, and then share with new audiences, colleagues, families and friends. Help advocate for funding – in communities, with elected officials and in our schools, where the arts move STEM to STEAM. Bring art and culture into your workplace and your home. Hire local musicians for your gatherings, feature artwork in your business, read local authors, explore our regional history, attend a talk, frequent the film houses and visit galleries and museums. Donate, sponsor, advertise, volunteer, engage … and help tell our story.
Be a partner. Invite the arts to the table. Consider arts, culture and our many local creatives as your partner in community building and economic development. We really prefer to be at the table, rolling up our sleeves to build vibrant communities and not sitting on a shelf waiting to be dusted off when guests visit. Partnering strengthens arts and culture but it also builds communities and a strong cultural economy.
Let’s continue the spirit of sharing and celebrate the arts in the weeks ahead and throughout new year.