Staring down a bleak economy, the community steps forward to support the arts

A rendering of The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, scheduled to open its doors in Spring 2012.

That a financially struggling nonprofit arts organization was able to secure a grant to work with high school photography students last month was nothing short of incredible. The member-supported Contemporary Arts Center doesn’t have much money, but launched its Creative Culture in Schools program with a $2,000 Target education grant that paid for supplies and an artist to work with students at Arbor View High School. Designed to engage students in critical thinking, communication and learning through the arts, the project included an exhibit of student work at the Downtown Space Gallery.

In a community that has a long way to go culturally and struggles with an overcrowded, underfunded school district, the private sector is stepping in to help where the public sector leaves off. The little things make a difference. Then there are the big things, like Elaine Wynn’s $5 million donation to the Smith Center for the Performing Arts for an education program focusing on the performing and visual arts.

The Elaine Wynn Studio for Arts Education will have an artist in residence program and is designed to reach children throughout the community.

With a state budget deficit of more than $2 billion projected for 2011-12, efforts such as these, large and small, make all the difference in helping to form a well-rounded community. Wendy Kveck, former director of the CAC, wrote the grant for the CAC’s Creative Culture in Schools program, photographer Jana Cruder supplied the gallery space and other CAC volunteers helped with organizing. Wynn had the money to hand over to the Smith Center, a seed she helped plant with Steve Wynn in 1994 when they organized a call-to-action meeting with other community leaders. At this point, Clark County is in need of all it can get from the community.

Photo of Kristen Peterson

Kristen Peterson

Get more Kristen Peterson

Previous Discussion:

  • The sex educator and owner of Detroit's Spectrum boutique brings her humor and expertise to AVN.

  • “Compared to my Ohio life, people are more positive here, more responsive to literary things.”

  • “We break down all the barriers that led them to become homeless, so they can become self-sufficient and sustain on their own.”

  • Get More As We See It Stories
Top of Story