Detroit Regional Chamber > Detroit Policy Conference > Detroit’s Artistic Leaders Discuss Power of Cultural Institutions to Spark Civil Conversations

Detroit’s Artistic Leaders Discuss Power of Cultural Institutions to Spark Civil Conversations

March 1, 2018
 width=When it comes to civility, Detroiters do not have to look any further than their own backyard and the individual artistic and cultural institutions that call the city home. These institutions have a natural ability to intentionally encourage social bridging by bringing people together to collaborate and stimulate conversation. That was a key message of the concurrent panel, “Igniting Civility in Communities” at the 2018 Detroit Policy Conference.

Panelists included Christopher Collins, president and artistic director for the Detroit Jazz Festival; Anne Parsons, president and CEO for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra; Omari Rush, executive director for CultureSource; and Salvador Salort-Pons, director, president and CEO for the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Panelists highlighted how their respective organizations stimulate development throughout the city through projects, initiatives and programs, while also emphasizing the need for the arts to help spark hard conversations.

Key takeaways:

  • Art institutions naturally bring people from all walks of life together and offer a neutral place to talk about difficult subjects when topics are brought about through art.
  • Institutions want to be representative of all cultures in Detroit and Michigan.
  • The arts community has an opportunity to create a collaborative environment that is the heartbeat of Detroit. The arts are more than museums, music and art collections.
  • Art is not an end-point, it is used as a platform to bring about feelings or issues within the community to discuss in a place where different perspectives can spark dialogue.
  • Art has a responsibility to serve the community at the largest level. The question to ask is, “What does the community need from us?” not, “What do we need from the community?”
  • The arts bring different perspectives and opinions to the table that can spark dialogue and create critical thinking.

This session was moderated by Katy Locker, Knight Foundation program director for Detroit and sponsored by Quicken Loans Family of Companies.