Traverse City Record-Eagle

Arts & Entertainment

December 20, 2013

Michigan arts council grants $7.7M to cultural groups


The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs announced its 2014 grant list Friday, and it’s good news for the arts that its budget is some $2 million more than last year’s.

The 2013 grants totaled $5.696 million in 2013, while 2014’s allocations will be some $7.713 million, according to John Bracey, executive director, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

Organizations receiving funds include Michigan public libraries, theaters, public schools, symphony orchestras, art centers and zoos.

The grants are awarded to both large institutions (the Detroit Symphony Orchestra received $42,500) to the small -- the Friends of the Porcupine Mountains in Ontonagon will benefit from $17,000.

In Metro Detroit, beneficiaries include the Detroit Zoo ($44,350), Troy High School ($3,540), the Motor City Brass Band ($12,000), Zcanc Books, the city of Detroit, the Detroit Artists Market, the Pewabic Society, InsideOut Literary Arts Project ($14,000), Matrix Theatre Company ($35,600) and the Motown Historical Museum ($18,000).

“That will help to pay for staff and running the museum,” said Allen Rawls, chief executive officer of the Motown museum. “It helps supplement the budget we have, the money from admissions, the gift shop and charitable donations.”

The 56-year-old Royal Oak theater group Stagecrafters received $38,000 in all, for both capital improvement and operating expenses.

“We are going to renovate our orchestra pit; it’s much-needed” said Stagecrafters executive director Mary Ann McCourt. “We also have a program called ‘A Thousand Hats,’ a summer program, that the operating grant will help with. And we’re looking to have scholarships available for at-risk kids. Being in a three-week class really helps them with self-esteem. We had a student last year who’d lost his father suddenly, from a heart attack, and he blossomed after taking the classes. It was just what he needed.”

Rick Sperling, founder and chief executive officer of the Mosaic Youth Theatre, which will receive grants of $46,000 in all, believes the arts are starting to be respected as an economic force.

“Organizations like Artserv (Michigan) have made a very strong case that the arts are an important part of economic growth,” Sperling said.

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