On August 7, voters in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties have the rare privilege of voting on the importance of preserving a cultural treasure -- the Detroit Institute of Arts. I will be voting yes and urge you to do the same.
Detroit is home to an amazing array of arts and cultural assets that contribute richly to the region's quality of life and benefit residents and visitors alike with experiences that delight, intrigue and inspire us as individuals and as a community.
Across Michigan, arts and cultural institutions are centers of learning for all ages but especially for children, who in these cultural places gain unique experiences to learn through the arts at a time when schools are struggling to provide the basics of education. Arts education strengthens academic achievement across all areas of study and equips children to be innovative problem-solvers and leaders for the future.
The DIA contributes significantly through its arts education programs offered within the museumwalls but also out in the community where more can be served. During the 2010-2012 school years, more than 37,600 students from 587 schools toured the DIA and created artworks. This year, 9,600 students from 112 schools across the three counties received free admission and transportation to take part in educational programs at the DIA, thanks to a generous grant from Target Corporation.
Like its peers statewide, the DIA is an economic generator in Detroit that contributes not only jobs and economic spending, but a cultural vibrancy critical to the city's efforts to attract talent and business investment.
Statewide, the nonprofit arts and cultural sector contributed nearly half a billion dollars to Michigan's economy in 2009 through program and operational expenditures, according to ArtServe's Creative State Michigan report released in January 2012 and data from the Michigan Cultural Data Project. The DIA is no exception, spending nearly $7 million on goods and services from local vendors last fiscal year.
In March, ArtServe Michigan's Board of Directors voted unanimously to stand with the DIA in its determined efforts to put this cultural institution on a sustainable track for the future. We believe the DIA has taken the necessary actions to reduce expenditures and staffing, adjust programs and generate increased revenues, while balancing its stewardship responsibilities for the museum and collections and its mission to serve the public. The millage is a strategic course that will set the DIA on a pathway to financial stability and a model from which cultural institutions statewide can learn valuable lessons.
The DIA's vibrancy is symbolic of the hope and promise that is emerging for the future of Detroit and Michigan -- a hope that is rising and must not be deterred. As citizens, we are responsible to support the assets that contribute to the economic rebirth and quality of life of our communities and the future of our children.
Join me on August 7 to vote yes for the DIA and the future of Detroit and Michigan.
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