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Ann Arbor residents say the city's art scene could use a little spark

Oct 15, 2014

Grand Rapids has just wrapped up another successful ArtPrize and Detroit pulled off Dlectricity.

Those examples and more have people involved in the arts in Ann Arbor looking around the state and then asking questions about the state of creativity in Ann Arbor.

Omari Rush is curator of public programs for the Ann Arbor Art Center. He's served as an adviser for many arts organizations, including the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

Credit Michigan Municipal League / Flickr

Rush recently went on a listening tour of Ann Arbor to gauge how residents felt the arts in their city. One of the points Rush said he heard often was that there was a sense that Ann Arbor was “a little conservative and stuck creatively.”

Rush found that residents felt that Ann Arbor has a wonderful past of being progressive and accepting of creativity but that it has gotten to be a bit more conservative. Rush says that as Ann Arbor becomes more of a community catering toward families and retirees, it gravitates toward values of safety and familiarity.

Rush says that Ann Arbor has ultimately become a little complacent and that it must become competitive to retain its artistic community. Furthermore, Rush says that support of local artists is vital. “We should certainly at all opportunities, look to engage local artists.”

*Listen to the interview Omari Rush above.