Cultural institutions and creative industries have played a critical part in bringing the people of Detroit closer.
According to a report by Creative Many, an organization focused on the culture and design economy in Michigan, creative industries in Michigan contribute to the growth of communities and the economy along with providing tools and education for youth to become strong leaders and innovators.
Mark Stryker, Detroit Free Press arts & culture reporter and critic, has been in the business for 20 years and has seen the impact that cultural institutions have had on Detroit.
“The arts is one of our greatest assets, and it’s just as important as sports and public safety,” he said.
Stryker added, “Culture is fundamental to the future of Detroit because it draws economic development, attracts residents and entrepreneurs, and creates an environment where people want to work and play.”
Approximately 180 arts and cultural organizations in Michigan were formed for the purpose of developing and promoting the work of artists in visual and performing art forms, according to the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.
“There is such a groundswell of people and organizations that are really seeing the opportunity to bring people together and to make Detroit an even more vibrant place by using the arts,” said Kathryn Dimond, Culture Source’s advocacy & program strategist. Culture Source is a member association for nonprofit art and cultural organizations to help develop a diverse community in southeastern Michigan.
The New York Times and other news organizations reported that Trump may have plans to eliminate both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, along with privatizing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
These organizations make up .016 percent of the U.S budget, which is about $4.6 trillion.
Dimond said the NEA funds programs for the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Mosaic Youth Theatre while the NEH funds programs from colleges and universities to conduct research.
“When people start looking at what it funds, that’s when you start realizing the impact that it would have,” Dimond said.
Stryker, Fourcroy and Dimond said arts should continue to be funded — especially in schools — because students can develop a creative way of thinking and gain cultural understanding.
“It’s an investment in our youth and that they deserve quality arts education,” Stryker said.
Because of the art programs here and the potential to grow, Detroit has become a place where musicians and artists of any background come to showcase their talents.
According to The New York Times, artists from New York come to Detroit to take advantage of “Detroit’s deep and rich cultural history” and the opportunity to grow as an artist.
Philip Kafta, one of the artists in the article, believes that a person can find their purpose in Detroit and that it has become almost impossible to do in New York.
Within Detroit, there are empty industrial spaces, community-focused projects and design opportunities where artists can express themselves.
Fourcroy said there is a strong correlation between exposure to arts as a child and participation in arts as an adult.
Taking an art or music class in elementary, middle or high school can help to give a person exposure to something new and can help give that student an understanding of different cultures.
“Detroit is a hot place for emerging artists to move to,” she said.
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Museums, galleries and other cultural institutions have helped bring positive vibes to the city of Detroit.
According to Trip Advisor, there are 23 museums in Detroit, with the Detroit Institute of Arts being No. 1. Time suggest that people start their Detroit tour at the DIA because it’s the “city’s crown jewel.”
The newest exhibit at the DIA shows why it has become one of the best museums in the United States.
Bitter|Sweet: Coffee, Tea & Chocolate is the newest and first exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts to engage all five senses.
While visitors view approximately 70 works of art, they can touch, hear, smell and taste coffee, chocolate and tea-related beverages.
“Everyone loves coffee and chocolate,” visitor Laurisa Sinsabaugh of Rochester said.
This exhibit focuses on how coffee, tea and chocolate came to Europe in the late 16th century. They changed drinking habits, tastes and social customs, according to the DIA.
Most of the pieces in the exhibit are from the museum’s holdings in pre-1850 European silver and ceramics. The institute’s prints, paintings and sculptures relating to the arrival and impact of beverages in Europe help to create new contexts and connections for objects from the permanent collection.
The last stop before the tasting station is “The Craze for Chocolate.” Visitors learn about how chocolate is made from fresh cocoa beans and how the Mayans and Aztecs were among the first to turn the beans into a drink. Visitors can shake a cocoa pod to hear the sound of the cocoa beans.
Before exiting, visitors can “taste the story” of chocolate by tasting two versions of hot chocolate: Aztec recipe and 18th century French recipe.
“It was nice to learn about how important hot chocolate was back then and how big it is now,” said Shaina Ferrell of Detroit. Ferrell works at the tasting station at the end of the exhibit.
The last thing visitors see is a quote about the world in a cup and how every cup of coffee, tea and chocolate tells a story: “A global story… both bitter and sweet, of vessels adapted and transformed, of economic systems built on power and subjugation, of identity, both self-defined and imposed, of traditions shared across time and place. Perhaps there has never been anything simple about a cup of coffee, tea, or chocolate.”
“We’re both big coffee and tea drinkers,” said Francis Mazureki of Royal Oak, who was there with her mother, Diane. “ We think the history aspect of it is intriguing.”
Marcil said the institute has received positive feedback, comments and reactions via comment cards. The exhibit runs until March 5.
“We came to this exhibit to spend some together, we love the museum and we thought this would be an interesting subject,” said Cathy Seltz of Waterford.
Visitors are encouraged to take photos, bring friends and to use #SipTheStory on Instagram to show how they drink coffee and tea.
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