Blog: Neeta Delaney

Neeta Delaney is a champion of the arts. She's the current President and CEO of ArtServe Michigan and the former President and CEO of the Jackson County Community Foundation, where she spearheaded the Armory Arts Project. Neeta will be writing about why Michigan should care more about... you guessed it, arts and culture.

Post No. 4

The Other Environment Worth Bragging About

For all its beauty and powerful emotional appeal, the Pure Michigan campaign launched by Travel Michigan still falls short of the mark in terms of capturing the full sense of Michigan’s fundamental appeal - the unique combination of both our natural and cultural environments!  

This promotional campaign, which I consider first-rate, could still be significantly improved by broadening its focus to include Michigan’s cultural environment and the characteristics that make that environment worth promoting alongside the Great Lakes, woods and water.  

It is the diversity and authenticity of a state full of home-grown/world class arts and cultural offerings and the creativity of our people that makes Michigan more than beautiful. It makes us interesting.

With the proliferation of strip malls, shopping centers, chain stores, cookie cutter housing developments etc. – what some have referred to as the "Generica" syndrome – more and more people are looking for places that are authentic and interesting. In fact, in some instances interesting trumps beautiful! We need to add that cultural interest to our natural beauty when we promote ourselves.  

We’re thrilled that the Governor supports increasing funding for tourism marketing through the Pure Michigan campaign, but we’d love to see some of the money used to beef up the cultural side of the equation.

The nature/culture connection takes many forms, but what they both have in common is that they are truly the only things that remain when we’re gone. With such incredible natural and cultural resources, we in Michigan need to find a way to bring these worlds and the people who care about them closer together.   

Imagine the power and influence of a well-organized creative sector joining forces with Michigan's environmentalists and those who protect our natural resources.   It's still a ways off, and there’s a lot of work to do, but I am hopeful.

Just imagine the possibilities.