ArtServe Reveals Michigan’s Creative Strength

By Lauren Ebelt on February 17th, 2013 / Comments

Good news, Michiganders: business is booming.

It’s not something we hear often enough coming from the news-waves in Michigan these days. We hear about the car industry, and the unemployment, and politicians fighting with each other.

But behind the scenes, there is a growing trend. Enter in ArtServe Michigan, the state’s leading statewide arts and cultural advocacy organization. ArtServe Michigan is dedicated to the creative potential in Michigan, looking at art, culture, and art education and how it impacts the public health and well-being of the state.

ArtServe Michigan recently released their annual Creative State Michigan report, which was centered on the 2010 Fiscal Year. The report looked at 346 nonprofit arts and cultural organizations that represent about 17% of the thousands of cultural groups operating statewide. Here’s where we get to the good part: the organizations were responsible for more than one-half billion dollars in expenditures alone in the 2010 Michigan economy. Learn more at

The news is uplifting, but it gets even better.

That unemployment rate that’s bringing Michigan down? The arts sector has our back. From 2006-11, the number of arts-related jobs increased by 15% to 85,656 jobs in Michigan. Similarly, arts-related businesses increased a whopping 65% to 28,072. Even from 2010-11 alone, jobs increased by an amazing 11%, and businesses by 16%.

This trend isn’t just in Michigan, either. ArtServe Michigan’s report stated that nationally, the amount organizations spent in the fiscal year of 2010 supported 4.1 million jobs and generated $22.3 billion in total government revenue, according to Americans for the Arts.

Jennifer H. Goulet, President and CEO of ArtServe Michigan, has a simple explanation to this increase of expenditures and jobs.

“Arts and culture are essential ingredients to building vibrant communities and a resilient Michigan community, shaping creative and innovative young minds and transforming the lives of people of all ages,” Goulet says on the ArtServe Michigan website.

It’s difficult to disagree with statistics like the ones provided in a recent press release from ArtServe Michigan. According to the press release, Michigan’s arts and cultural destinations have generated more than $2 billion in tourism revenues in 2011, which accounts for 16 percent of the state’s total tourism revenues that year. That is more than golf, boating and sailing, hunting and fishing, hiking, and biking combined.

“This year’s Creative State Michigan report reinforces the critical role of Michigan’s creative economy in defining new opportunities to position the sector as a strategic tool and resource for our state,” Goulet says.

The report also included data about the resources that the arts provide for Michigan’s schools and its residents. Students, youth groups, and cultural groups are growing and expanding due to educational programs and events offered by arts and cultural venues statewide.

Additionally, the report includes the data for the Michigan Cultural Data Project (Michigan CDP, launched in 2010), Americans for the Arts’ annual Creative Industries Reports, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation/Pure Michigan. The Michigan CDP is an online management tool that has been designed to improve art and cultural foundations. The data it calculates help everyone from grant makers to researchers to better understand the cultural impact of the art sector. Michigan CDP can be found at

The cultural impact is, in a word, huge. Goulet sums it up best when she says, “Every day, Michigan’s arts and cultural organizations and creative industries are making major contributions to our state’s economy—creating jobs, spending in local communities, generating tourism revenues, and shaping vibrant cities and towns that attract talent and business investment.”

If the saying by Oscar Wilde is true that “life imitates art,” then we’re on the right track to success. Art on, Michigan.

To find out more about ArtServe Michigan, access their website at

Photo via ArtServe.

About the Author

Lauren Ebelt

Lauren is a recent graduate from Michigan State University. She likes traveling, blogging about the food she eats, and correct grammar.