ALPENA, MICH — The Michigan Council of Arts and Cultural Affairs made a visit to Alpena today to discuss the future of the arts on the sunrise side.
The group brainstormed ways to further arts appreciation in the community, and how to keep young people engaged. Director of the council, Alison Watson, says the organization has to overcome two main challenges to help them better serve the community.
“I think it’s two prongs, right? One is making sure that we’re providing funding for arts and cultural based organizations so they can continue the work that they do, and the other piece is that messaging. That the arts and culture is not for a certain type of person, a certain group of people: that it’s everybody. That we all connected and engage in this creative process, and that culture is just an everyday piece of our lives.”
Executive Director of Art in the Loft, Justin Christensen – Cooper, says with the help of the Arts Council, he expects more diversity and youth engagement to consume the arts in northeast Michigan.
“So a couple things that I really saw [today] were just the impact that we can get with our youth. How can we get the youth involved in our arts programming, how can we tap into that generation to make sure that really the arts are in good hands after we’re long and done with our jobs and so we can keep going on with places like Thunder Bay Theatre and Art in the Loft, things like that? And also just the inclusion of diversity as well. We need to have those marginalized groups incorporated in what we’re doing, and I think Alpena strives for that, and wants that, and needs that, and I think that all happens through arts organizations such as ourselves or state agencies like MCACA. “