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Arts and Culture

A Framework for Arts and Culture in Northwest Michigan

Developed as part of the Framework for Our Future: A Regional Prosperity Plan for Northwest Michigan, the report focuses on information and strategies to support and build arts and cultural opportunities and capacities in communities throughout the region. 

A Framework for Arts & Culture in Northwest Michigan (PDF)



Northwest Michigan Arts & Culture Network

Northwest Michigan is recognized as a regional hub for arts and culture - the creative sector - as home to thousands of artists, musicians, writers, festivals, museums, galleries, theaters, venues, training spaces and related cultural organizations and for-profit businesses. They are multidisciplinary and multigenerational, contributing individually and collectively as economic drivers, while also pivotal to placemaking, community culture and our regional prosperity. 

There are more than 100 arts and cultural organizations in the 10-county region as well at least 1,000 individual artists, musicians, performers, designers, gallery owners, filmmakers, writers and other ‘creatives.’  Expanding to the entire creative sector of nonprofit and for profit organizations and individuals, there are at least 957 creative sector businesses and nonprofits, and close to 3,000 employees in Northwest Michigan’s ten counties, according to Americans for the Arts. Government adds additional stakeholders with many local cities, villages and townships integrating public art and a culture of creativity’ into community planning. Studies show Michigan communities see an average $51 in economic activity produced for every $1 invested in arts and culture. 

A robust creative sector benefits local communities as well as the entire region economically through enhanced revenue streams, job creation, quality of life, workforce retention, tourism, community building, access and education.  This sector can be an active and fruitful partner in creating regional prosperity as well as quality of life. 

Resources are available to support planning, advocacy and networking (see Research and Resources page). Those in the creative sector are encouraged to participate in the Northwest Michigan Arts Network. Please see the instructions below for joining the Network.

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Join the Northwest Michigan Arts Network

The Northwest Michigan Arts Network is open to individuals, organizations, businesses and community builders in Northwest Michigan’s creative sector. This includes individual artists, musicians, performers, writers, historians, filmmakers, educators and all arts, cultural and creative industry professionals as well as performing venues, theatres, ensembles, galleries, museums and the many nonprofit, for-profit and community organizations that bring arts, culture and community to every corner of our region.

For more information, please contact Elizabeth Calcutt at

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Networks Northwest always proves to be a valued resource for our local government planning efforts. No organization does a better job of convening partners, promoting collaboration, and reporting on the data than does Networks Northwest

Ty Wessell, Leelanau County Commissioner