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Arts Alliance

Arts funding is the focus of a town hall with Washtenaw County candidates Wednesday evening.

 

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Washtenaw County commissioners passed a resolution Wednesday night to merge local convention and visitors bureaus into one countywide department. Some arts advocates, including Arts Alliance CEO Deb Polich, are critical of the proposal for not specifying how much funding the new CVB will devote to arts and culture.

 


 

The Ann Arbor Summer Festival
Courtesy Photo / The Ann Arbor Summer Festival

The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs has awarded $9.65 million in grants to various cultural groups in the State. 

Groups in Washtenaw County received a total of $891,055, the third highest amount in the state of Michigan. This was approximately a 19% increase from previous year's total of $749,984 to fund arts and cultural programs in the area.

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Candidates running for office in Washtenaw County show a good understanding of the important role that arts and culture play in setting a sense of place and improving the local economy.

That's according to Arts Alliance Director Deb Polich, whose organization hosted a candidates forum Wednesday morning.

"I think the challenge that comes up often is that they don't know the opportunities that exist in other cities and other states that actually make it possible to invest dollars and make public policy that can change the current circumstances," Police says.