Coalition’s Behind-the-Scenes tours highlight Muskegon arts and culture

The Muskegon Arts and Culture Coalition is providing a unique behind-the-scenes look at arts and culture along the Muskegon Lakeshore. These private events are geared toward business professionals and will showcase how arts and culture impact the local economy and can be utilized to retain and attract employees.

The most recent private event, March 3, showcased the historical Frauenthal Center for Performing Arts, along with the West Michigan Symphony and the Muskegon Civic Theatre (MCT).

The Frauenthal Center has served as the premier destination for entertainment, events, and art exhibits. The tour included backstage access to the rehearsal halls, dressing rooms, and other areas that are usually closed to the public, including stage access of the Beardsley Theater, housed in the Hilt Building side of the center.

Jason Paul Bertoia, managing director of the MCT, a part of the Frauenthal Center
since 1984, began the tour providing details on the history of the center and allowing a glimpse of a rehearsal for the upcoming MCT production of “Mamma Mia!”

“This is a great place to get involved,” says Bertoia, a Muskegon native who practically grew up at the center as a participant in the youth programs focusing on performing arts. “And a night at the theater and dinner downtown is a great way to celebrate employees.”

As an additional bonus to the private tour, the event ended with access inside of the
beautiful Frauenthal Theater to enjoy the sounds of the West Michigan Symphony as the orchestra rehearsed for the following night’s performance of “Nothin’ but the Blues” with the powerful sounds of guest vocalist Shayna Steele.

Celebrating county’s arts and culture

The Muskegon Arts and Cultural Coalition, composed of local arts and culture leaders, has been presenting these exclusive tours of Muskegon-area properties to showcase the art and culture along the Muskegon Lakeshore.

The group’s goal is to promote and celebrate the county’s dynamic arts and culture
community, which collectively employs hundreds of residents, generates millions of
dollars of annual economic activity, and acts as a catalyst for employee attraction and retention.

Geared toward local business professionals, each scheduled event is limited to a
handful of participants to provide a private tour of the various facilities and how these leaders can utilize the benefits that the businesses and organizations have to offer to further promote arts and culture in the community.

Examples of business engagement include:
● Hosting an employee event at a museum.
● Holding a board retreat at the library.
● Scheduling a work training at a theater.
● Providing event tickets as an employee perk.

“The value of arts and culture in our community goes far beyond aesthetics. It’s a
driving force for attraction and retention in this highly competitive business
environment,” says Cindy Larsen, president of the Muskegon Lakeshore Chamber of Commerce.

Behind-the-Scenes event dates:
Thursday, March 10 — Hackley and Hume Historic Site
Thursday, March 31 — Hackley Public Library
Saturday, April 23 — Norton Shores Branch Library
Monday, May 2 — Muskegon Museum of Art
Thursday, May 12 — Muskegon Heritage Museum of Business and Industry

For more information about Muskegon Arts and Culture Coalition, visit
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Read more articles by Shanika P. Carter.