Blog: Maud Lyon

Our guest blogger for this week is Maud Lyon. Maud is the founding director of the Cultural Alliance, and a consultant for numerous nonprofit organizations.

Check back here each week day to read Maud's thoughts on the state of arts and culture in Michigan.

Tyree, Marshall, Aretha and Albert

As a Detroit Metro person who has been both "on the scene" and most often "behind the scenes" on the Cultural Arts scene in Detroit Metro, I wanted to share my comments on Maud Lyon's super perspective on the the Detroit Metro "arts and culture" scene.

-I think we have to be much more entrepreneuiral and better  "packagers" of arts products- being a lot more aggressive, creative in building in transportation to get a broader range of audiences to show up to enjoy all that we have to offfer. The idea of "shared audiences" has to get more attention. It seems that we have too many instances of students and other groups coming into Detroit for just a rather brief visit to just one cultural venue.

-Cultural arts can also be the scene for creating more jobs, esp. in Detroit. For example, there's got to be a "goodwill tour ambassador" program that trains and pays a cadre of Detroit youth to serve as tour guides/jr docents, so that every tour bus that enters Detroit can have a young Ambassador to help showcase what Detroit has to offer. And for the students who come in, many many more of these groups should have the chance to (usually for the first time ever) go to the top of the Ren Cen to experience that gutsy view of Canada and Detroit and its suburbs. The students that I've done this with can't believe that that's Canada spread out before them!

-The music scene especially should be a place where many more kids can earn some dollars/put together some gigs; not as a future career, but so that Detroit can have many more local groups who can sing those super MOTOWN SONGS to a broader range of audiences and earn some money while doing it. At present, on a weekly, daily basis, there are virtually no places in Detroit where a tour group or individuals can go to hear the MOTOWN SOUND. GOSPEL MUSIC should also get much more attention as a great attraction that could help bring in many more visitors to the City from places like Atlanta and New York.

-Any plans to pool talent, leadership and guts to better fund arts and culture has to have a real grasp of the fairness about it all. In a past attempt at getting a tax/millage to pass, some of us felt that the smaller, struggling arts institutions were not going to be given a fair shake. I recall for example that the campaign was sold  with a "youth and the arts" theme, but when you looked at who would get a big bulk of the funds, a lot of it would have gone to Cranbrook House and Gardens. I think this is a super place but it really doesn't have a lot to offer youth, not like other groups like the Pontiac North Oakland Creative Arts Center or the arts programs connected to
the Mosaic Youth Theatre.

-As I'm sure other persons also have, I have a few what I think are gutsy, creative ways to generate some dollars for the arts and would be happy to share in the future.