Arts, Culture & Creatives ‘Up North’

Northwest Michigan is recognized as a regional hub for arts and culture – the creative sector – as home to thousands of artists, musicians, writers, festivals, museums, galleries, theatres, venues, training spaces and related cultural organizations and for-profit businesses. They are multidisciplinary and multigenerational, contributing individually and collectively as economic drivers, while also pivotal to placemaking, community culture and our regional prosperity.

There are more than 100 arts and cultural organizations in the 10-county region (see map) as well at least 1,000 individual artists, musicians, performers, designers, gallery owners, filmmakers, writers and other ‘creatives.’  Expanding to the entire creative sector of nonprofit and for profit organizations and individuals, there are at least 957 creative sector businesses and nonprofits, and close to 3,000 employees in Northwest Michigan’s ten counties, according to Americans for the Arts. Government adds additional stakeholders with many local cities, villages and townships integrating public art and a’culture of creativity’ into community planning. Studies show Michigan communities see an average $53 in economic activity produced for every $1 invested in arts and culture.

A robust creative sector benefits local communities as well as the entire region economically through enhanced revenue streams, job creation, quality of life, workforce retention, tourism, community building, access and education.  This sector can be an active and fruitful partner in creating regional prosperity as well as quality of life.