Deb Polich

Co-host of creative:impact

Polich co-hosts the weekly segment creative:impact with David Fair which feature creative people, jobs and businesses in the greater Ann Arbor area.

Deb Polich champions the arts and creative industries in her professional, volunteer and personal life. She has 30+ years of professional arts administration experience, including serving as the president/CEO of Artrain, Inc., and since 2013, holding the same position at The Arts Alliance. Polich earned a B.S. in arts administration with a business minor from Eastern Michigan University. She began her professional arts management career at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor beginning as the box office manager and leaving seven years later as the managing director. She serves/has served on the boards of numerous nonprofit arts and community organizations. She currently serves on the boards of Creative Many Michigan as treasurer, Michigan Works! Southeast and three boards at EMU: the College of Arts & Science Advancement Board, the Advisory Boards for the Masters of Public Administration and the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance. She serves on the City of Ann Arbor’s Economic Development Advisory Committee and Destination Ann Arbor’s marketing and community grants committee. She is a University of Michigan and EMU Arts Management guest lecturer. 

Mia Risberg

Before and after COVID-19.  It is how we mark time now.  Mia Risberg joins "creative:impact" co-hosts Deb Polich and David Fair to talk about her visual artist practice before and after COVID hit, how she revitalized her work, and found reward through the unlimited boundaries of the Internet.  Hear her story here.


Jamall Bufford
Jamall Bufford / Washtenaw My Brother's Keeper

Jamall Bufford is a musician, rapper, and DJ, and his energy impacts a number of young men through his work as project specialist at Washtenaw County My Brother's Keeper (WMBK).  He joined "creative:impact" co-hosts Deb Polich and David Fair to discuss the importance of infusing art and creativity into youth development projects.  The efforts have resulted in an album featuring a number of talented young people from Washtenaw County and a documentary film highlighting how the project offers a path forward. 


Damian Farrell / Artrain

In 1971, a group of Michigan arts activists put art on a train to deliver it to people in small towns.  They believed everyone should have access to arts and cultural programs.  Artrain board member Damian Farrell recounts the Artrain legacy and vision that remains vital 50 years later.  He joins Deb Polich and David Fair on this edition of "creative:impact."  Listen here.


Mark Clague
University of Michigan School of Music, Theater, & Dance / smtd.umich.edu


Music critics of all stripes had plenty to say about Lady Gaga’s national anthem performance at President Biden’s inauguration.  Deb Polich and David Fair asked Mark Clague, widely recognized as the expert on "The Star Spangled Banner," to share his thoughts on her interpretation.  Mark takes a deep-dive into this storied anthem on this edition of "creative:impact."  Listen here.


Save Our Stages / saveourstages.com

The roller-coaster ride for the arts + creative industries continues.  The deployment of vaccines is underway, and containment of the virus is a plausible reality for the not-too-distant future.  Deb Polich and David Fair discuss how COVID-19 caused the "Save Our Stages" movement to ignite changes and the eventual recovery, reopening, and possible reinvention of the arts + creative business model on this edition of "creative:impact."  Listen here.


Debotri Dhar
Debotri Dhar

From romance to politics, Dr. Debotri Dhar has studied the culture of love across the world.  Her book "Love is Not a Word: The Culture and Politics of Desire," published this summer, explores the emotion of love and the centuries of cultural habits and influence it carries.  Does she herself believe in romance and love?  Find out when she joins Deb Polich of The Arts Alliance and WEMU's David Fair on this edition of "creative:impact."  Listen here.


Santa Claus

Father Christmas takes time out of his busy holiday schedule to talk with Deb and David about Christmas in the time of COVID-19.  Can it stop Ole’ Saint Nick and his sleigh full of toys from visiting the homes of all the little girls and boys?  Or is Christmas 2020 proceeding on schedule?  Find out on this very special addition of "creative:impact."  Listen here. 


Willis Patterson
Willis Patterson

Willis Patterson and his talent were gifted to Ann Arbor 90 years ago.  It took a village to guide him through a twisting route before he found his voice, but find it, he did.  Join Deb Polich and David Fair to hear the inspiring story of Dr. Patterson’s work as a performer, advocate for young artists of color, teacher, publisher, and administrator on "creative:impact."


Deb Polich
Deb Polich

Deb Polich takes David Fair on a personal journey leading to a discovery that changes what she know about herself as an American.  In a surprising way, it helps her manage the upheaval of change that 2020 has wielded and, as always in Deb’s case, winds back to creativity.  Hear it here on "creative:impact."


Mike Green
Mike Green

Touring musicians turned to streaming as soon as COVID-19 shut the doors of the performance halls.  Will the trend continue, or will artists get back on the road again?  Deb Polich and David Fair talk with Mike Green of Mike Green & Associates about the changing business of booking tours for performing artists in the time of COVID-19.  

 


Levi Taylor
Jack Seaman

An inspiring teacher ignites their students’ interest in learning, and Emmy-nominated composer and keyboardist Levi Taylor is such a piano instructor.  He joins Deb Polich and David Fair to talk about his love for teaching and how he has adapted distance learning methods to enhance his thriving piano instruction business in this time of COVID-19.  Be prepared to be inspired as you listen here to this edition of "creative:impact."


ArtsVote
Americans for the Arts / artsactionfund.org

Seven months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the state of the arts and creative industries in Washtenaw County and throughout the country is as uncertain as when it began.  Deb Polich updates David Fair on what that means for creative workers, businesses, and audiences, even as the green light has been given to reopen cultural venues.  Hear their conversation on "creative:impact" here.


Natsume Ono

The Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority thinks our streetscapes can be much more fun and have asked artists to help us reimagine our downtown spaces.  Deb and David talk with Natsume Ono, a member of the Studio Kaleidoscape team, who recently pained a streetscape at South State Street and North University as part of the ReVIVE All Zones project.  Hear their conversation on "creative:impact" here.


Arts Alliance
The Arts Alliance / creativewashtenaw.org

After a summer hiatus, David Fair and Deb Polich reunite on the air for this edition of "creative: impact."  They catch up on the state of the arts six months into the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges of gaining the attention of and funding from local decision makers right here in Washtenaw County.  Listen here to the conversation on this edition of "creative:impact."


Bev Willis

Bev Willis grew up in Washington, D.C., literally in the epicenter of the Civil Rights Movement because of her parents and grandparents.  Deb Polich and David Fair talk with Bev about how those experiences led to her becoming a graphic designer, active in her community, and encouraging everyone to use their talents to document defining historical moments.  Hear the conversation on this edition of "creative:impact."  Listen here.


The Arts Alliance / creativewashtenaw.org

Having waited weeks for an all-clear, even it is cautionary, the rules governing the reopening for arts and creative businesses are not exactly clear.  It might not even be their most important concern as national attention is directed toward equity and justice amid protests of the police brutality and the law enforcement killings of black people.  The music industry declared June 2 “Blackout Tuesday” to urge artists and venues to shut down all programming and content.  Hear Deb Polich and David Fair discuss these topics on this edition of "creative:impact."  Listen here.


Susan Badger-Booth

Fulbright Scholar Susan Badger-Booth, EMU professor of Arts Management & Entertainment, felt well-prepared for her teaching assignment that would take her to the Hongik University in Seoul, South Korea for the winter semester.  She and her husband Bill considered all the contingencies....or so they had thought.  No sooner did they arrive when the COVID-19 virus struck.  Deb Polich and David Fair connect with Susan in Seoul to find out what happened next on this edition of "creative:impact."  Listen here.


Monica Swartout-Bebow
Kerrytown Concert House / kerrytownconcerthouse.com

After 23 years of performing, producing concerts, renting studio space, and volunteering at the Kerrytown Concert House, Monica Swartout-Bebow was prepared and excited to take on a new role as executive director last summer.  Still, she expected a slight learning curve.  What she got instead was the full onslaught of COVID-19.  Monica gets on the line with "creative:impact" co-hosts Deb Polich and David Fair to talk about how, instead of you going to the Kerrytown Concert House, it’s coming to your house.  Listen here.


Giving Tuesday
Giving Tuesday Now / now.givingtuesday.org/

Today is #GivingTuesdayNow, a global day of giving and unity as an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19.  Join Arts Alliance’s Deb Polich and WEMU’s David Fair as they consider the model of scarcity: when society under-invests in services and programs needed, and valued, by its people.  Already high, COVID-19 has increased demands for certain services and programs while depleting the banks of shuttered nonprofits.  #GivingTuesdayNow brings awareness to the plight of all nonprofits, including WEMU and The Arts Alliance’s Creative Washtenaw Aid.  Hear it all on this week’s edition of "creative:impact."


Wonderfool Productions / wonderfoolproductions.org

Replacing lost revenues is critical to the survival of artists and the sustainability of creative businesses lost due to the COVID-19 shutdown.  The Arts Alliance is soon to launch the Creative Washtenaw Marketplace, an online sales site for local artisans, creatives, performers, cultural organizations, and businesses to sell products, performances, programs, and services.  Join The Arts Alliance’s Deb Polich and WEMU’s David Fair to hear more about it on this week’s edition of "creative:impact."


Elaine Sims
Elaine Sims

Hospital art programs are known to offer healing benefits to patients, such as shorter hospital stays, better pain management, and less medication.  Elaine Sims, director of Gifts of Art Program at Michigan Medicine, tells "creative:impact" co-hosts Deb Polich and David Fair how hospital art programs here and across the nation are helping medical staff on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic find respite, comfort, and diversion.  Listen here.


Alan Brown

Alan S. Brown, a former director of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, is now a leading researcher and expert on the nonprofit arts. He is also a trusted advisor to many of the nation’s leading arts and cultural funders. Alan tells "creative:impact" co-hosts Deb Polich and David Fair the course of action he has recommended philanthropists take to ensure the arts have a future post-COVID-19. Listen here.


John Gutoskey
John Gutoskey

Never someone to sit idly when a call to action is raised, John Gutoskey, local artist, printmaker, and costume designer, has redirected his talents to making much-needed face masks for our local medical facilities.  On this week’s edition of "creative:impact," he joins co-hosts Deb Polich and David Fair how local medical teams are responding to polka-dot, ladybug, and other whimsical masks that can literally save their lives while fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.


Ann Arbor Film Fest
Leslie Raymond / Ann Arbor Film Festival

For 58 years, the Ann Arbor Film Festival has traditionally invited people to pack into Ann Arbor film houses to watch and discuss films made by filmmakers from all over the world.  The 2020 version of the festival was anything but traditional, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Leslie Raymond, director of the festival, joins Deb Polich and David Fair to give her first-person account of the 2020 festival experience on this week’s edition of "creative:impact."


Adaptive Dance / Vera Davis Photography

The upheaval of COVID-19 is felt by everyone.  Everything is shifting moment by moment, from a benign format change for "creative:impact" to a devastating life change for an artist who may become homeless.  What doesn’t change is the compunction for artists to create and for art to connect, calm, and keep us human.  Join The Arts Alliance’s Deb Polich and WEMU’s David Fair as they explore these topics week’s edition of "creative:impact."


Meg Rohrer

To help slow the spread of the virus, arts venues were first to cancel events and send artists home.  The ripple effect is devastating for the people and organizations in Washtenaw County that don’t have or qualify for emergency economic relief packages.  The Arts Alliance’s Deb Polich and WEMU’s David Fair discuss the need for creative aid on this week’s "creative:impact."


Jill Stefani-Wagner
Jill Stefani-Wagner

Jill Stefani-Wagner, a master pastel artist from Saline, travels around the world painting “en plein air,” or outdoors to create landscapes and cityscapes.  She tells The Arts Alliance’s Deb Polich and WEMU’s David Fair about her award-winning adventures on this edition of “creative.impact.”


Hollander
Cindy and Tom Hollander

Change is constant, especially in retail.  After more than 30 years, Hollander’s, known for its beautiful paper, gifts, and paper and bookmaking workshops, is moving to an online format in June when it closes its Kerrytown shop.  Cindy and Tom Hollander join The Arts Alliance’s Deb Polich and WEMU’s David Fair to talk about the next page in the book of Hollander’s on this edition of “creative.impact.”


Andrew Cohn
Andrew Cohn

Ann Arbor native and EMU grad Andrew Cohn loves his hometown so much, he named his company Seven34 Films.  He is bringing a bunch of Hollywood folks who star in his film “The Last Shift” to town, when it screens at the Michigan Theater.  He tells The Arts Alliance’s Deb Polich and WEMU’s David Fair why he knows they’ll love his town as much as he does on this week’s “creative:impact.”


Paul Hickman
Paul Hickman

It’s been one year since Paul Hickman made the difficult decision to close his creative business Urban Ashes.  As he did on "creative:impact" a year ago, Paul opens up to The Arts Alliance’s Deb Polich and WEMU’s David Fair about his experiences this last year: his unexpected loss of identity and his journey of retooling and rediscovering himself as an artist and designer.  


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