Arts & Culture Helping Michigan Communities

Written by Lisa Assenmacher, Communications and Training Specialist

In a recent blog post, we introduced creative placemaking as a positive outlet to understand, interact and connect with our communities through arts and culture, otherwise known as the creative sector. To further dive into the benefits of the integration of arts & culture into communities, I attended the Creative Convergence on March 19 at Eastern Michigan University hosted by the Arts Alliance and partners working to leverage and promote the creative sector.

The Creative Convergence


The road to vibrant communities relies on the intersection of Michigan’s creative, economic development, education, environment, health, government, philanthropic, placemaking and tourism sectors. The creative sector is at the forefront of the next phase of Michigan communities, with opportunities to strengthen the economy with big social impacts. Thought leaders and innovators from across the country led sessions devoted to describing best practices, common challenges and potential solutions to attract jobs, talent and offer residents a creative place to live.

Success Story Highlights Include:

  • Requiring a percentage of construction and development costs to be allocated for public art that is innovative and thought provoking.
  • Partnering with an environmental policy issue to pass legislation establishing a steady revenue source dedicated to the creative sector.
  • Strengthening a city’s brand and marketing campaign to establish cultural destinations.
  • Establishing an educational platform for creative individuals to learn skills and give back to their communities and spark innovation
full report:
Click to view the full report.

The Creative Sector Helps Communities

From the perspective of a community finding and articulating their voice, arts and culture helps to express values, build bridges and find ways to connect with one another. The arts help support local businesses, stimulate job growth and drives tourism.

Proof in the Numbers

  • Michigan arts & cultural organizations welcomed 25,785,806 visitors, as reported by the Creative Many 2015 nonprofit report. That is enough to fill Comerica Park 618 times.
  • The Michigan creative community had $595,362,649 in direct expenditures in fiscal year 2012.
  • There are 25,900 jobs in the creative industry in Michigan with $199,690,556 in salaries and $15 million in payroll taxes.
  • Research done by the University of Pennsylvania has demonstrated that cities with a high concentration of the arts have more social cohesion, higher civic engagement, higher child well-being and lower poverty rates. (data source: Americans for the Arts)

It’s clear that supporting the creative sector in your community is an advantageous pursuit for the people within it and those you hope will visit. How does your community support arts and culture?

Missed the Creative Convergence? The Detroit Public Television’s recording from the day is available on the Arts Alliance website.