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    Press Release: Resignation of D. Neil Bremer, Executive Director

    Kalamazoo, MI – The Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo accepted the resignation of D. Neil Bremer, Executive Director of the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo and the Kalamazoo Cultural Center aka the Epic Center this evening. Mr. Bremer will be assuming the position of Chief Operating Officer of the Grand Rapids Art Museum. Mr. Bremer has been with the Arts Council since May 2010.

    “We wish him the best of luck in his new position” says Helen Osterwald, President of the Board of Directors of the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo. “We thank Neil for his dedication to the Arts Council. He has taken the Arts Council to new and exciting levels and positioned us for great success in the future.”

    “The Epic Center has been further transformed into a premier Arts facility with the recent renovations of Public Media Network and the Epic Center”, states Chris Shook, President of the Kalamazoo Cultural Center Board of Directors. “He has laid the groundwork for the longevity and relevance of the Epic Center as a focal point for the Arts in Kalamazoo.”


    Announcing the 2015 BRAVO! Competition

    Fontana is pleased and excited to assume administratio of the BRAVO! Competition beginning in 2015, and to join the many community partners helping to host this annual event for young musicians in Kalamazoo and the surrounding counties.

    IT TAKES A VILLAGE...and we are SO grateful to all of the organizations and individuals who contribute their time, efforts and resources to provide opportunities for these young musicians to perform for YOU, our community. Once you experience a performance by this select group of artists, you will agree that our artistic future is in wonderfully capable hands!

    BRAVO! is brought to you by:

    • Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo
    • Crescendo Academy of Music
    • Kalamazoo RESA - Education for the Arts
    • Fontana
    • Gilmore Keyboard Festival
    • Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra
    • WMUK FM 102.1


    Press Release:  New Historic Fiction

    December 5, 2014
    New Historic Fiction Highlights True-Life Mystery of Rare Gargoyle in Kalamazoo

    KALAMAZOO (MICH.)-One dark and rainy evening in 1961, a thief climbed onto the historic Ladies’ Library Association building in downtown Kalamazoo and removed their prized possession. The stolen gargoyle had been a gift from England given to the first women’s club in 1904. A year later, the gargoyle was returned by an anonymous samaritan...or did the thief have a change of heart? (more....)

    Press Release:  ACGK announces 2014 Art Hop partnership with DKI

    December 20, 2013
    Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo announces 2014 Art Hop partnership with Downtown Kalamazoo Incorporated

    The Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo and Downtown Kalamazoo Incorporated (DKI) announced today partnership plans for the 2014 Art Hops. Art Hop is a program of the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo and it is held on the first Friday of every month. Four times annually, it partners with Downtown Kalamazoo Incorporated at which time the downtown retail and business community participates to host and “expand” the number of featured artists and locations. DKI has been a partner with the Arts Council for the “expanded” Art Hops called Art Hop & More since 1999.

    “Due to recent financial challenges for Downtown Kalamazoo Incorporated, we are unable to continue the partnership to the same financial level as in previous years. However, DKI is very committed to the success of Art Hop and has allocated $10,000 in 2014 for the transition of Art Hop back solely to the Arts Council,” states Steve Deisler, President of Downtown Kalamazoo Incorporated. “This is a fraction of what DKI previously committed to Art Hop. Our past investment in Art Hop support was close to $50,000 annually in promotions and coordination through our contract with The Event Company.” (more....)

    Press Release: KSO Executive Director moves on, Interim appointed. 

    August 30, 2013

    KSO Executive Director Jennifer Barlament appointed General Manager of The Cleveland Orchestra. Judy Jolliffe named Interim Executive Director.

    KALAMAZOO- Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Jennifer Barlament has accepted the position of General Manager of The Cleveland Orchestra. She will begin her duties in Cleveland under the leadership of Executive Director Gary Hanson on September 23, 2013.

    Jennifer Barlament joined the KSO as Executive Director in 2009. Under her strong leadership, the KSO has achieved success with events such as the Pops series and performances by international superstars Yo-Yo Ma, Lang Lang, and the upcoming performance and community residency with violinist Midori. According to Barlament, “The opportunity to present artists of this caliber with this orchestra has been incredible, and the impact they have had on our attendance and support has been significant.” The KSO also saw record high ticket sales for the 2012-2013 season. (more...)

    Press Release: KIA Members' Show Winners Announced

    Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo’s People's Choice Award Winner
    Rob Chamberlin (Kalamazoo County)
    Jewelry Box: cherry and walnut woods
    West Michigan Area Show 2013, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

    Kalamazoo artist Rob Chamberlin's Jewelry Box has been popularly voted the "People's Choice" from among 107 works featured in this year's West Michigan Area Show. The Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo is the sponsor of the People's Choice Award. The winner was determined by a tally of ballots submitted by the public since the exhibition opened in May. The exhibition will be on view at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts through Saturday, August 31.

    Rob Chamberlin is a Kalamazoo woodworker who has been designing, making, installing, and restoring architecture and furniture for 17 years. He was inspired by teachers and influential woodworkers, who convinced him that it is still possible to thrive as a professional craftsman if one has passion and focus. Visitors to the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts may remember Chamberlin's Musical Chairs and Chamberlin Pale Ale bottle (made of wood) from the 2011 West Michigan Area Show. More of his work can be seen at

    2013 is the second year that the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo has sponsored the People's Choice Award. Last year's winner was Studio Dog Sleeping by Kim Maguire-Gualtieri. After a few years without a sponsor, the popular award was reinstated through donations by a few dedicated KIA patrons in 2010. Sponsorship was assumed by the Arts Council in 2011.

    Since the 1960s, the annual juried West Michigan Area Show has drawn hundreds of entries from a 14-county region of Michigan. Our region is home to a talented community of visual artists, and some of their finest recent work is on display in this exhibition, sponsored by Chemical Bank, with additional support from Miller Canfield.

    Other WMAS award winners were selected by the 2013 juror, Graham Beal, Director of the Detroit Institute of Arts. Many of these awards are made possible through the support of local arts guilds and individuals.
    Grand Prize: Heidi Heystek, Rainy Day in Paris, inkjet print.
    Second Prize: David Curl, Oak in Corn Stubble, digital inkjet print.
    Third Prize: Catherine Maize, Studio Chair, oil on panel.
    Fourth Prize: Caroline Dunlap, Delaunay Revisited: First Flight Across the English Channel, Latch-hook rug, 100% acrylic fiber.
    Fifth Prize: Linda Rzoska, Aged, mixed media: dry point etching & digital media.
    Kalamazoo Knitting Guild Award for Fiber: June Belitz, Autumn Colors, Hand spun yarns; hand knitted, original pattern.
    Log Cabin Quilters’ West Michigan Art Quilt Award: Hildegarde Montgomery, The Piano Lesson; Design in fabrics
    Weavers Guild of Kalamazoo Award for Fiber: Joan F. Robertson, Sea Nest, fiber and mixed media.
    Signature Artists Cooperative Award: Cynthia Fielding, Winter Trees, kiln-formed glass.
    Kalamazoo Book Arts Center Award: Honore Lee, Wishes, handmade book: photo transfer, text.
    West Michigan Glass Art Center Award: Sally Pritko, Glass Threads, fused and draped glass stringers.
    West Michigan Potters Guild Eleanore Smith Memorial Award for Ceramics: Cynthia Krill, Ode to Crazy Horse, ceramic, horse hair, earthenware, feathers.
    The Martin Maddox Prize for Imaginative Realism: Harry Ahn, Ken Agy, oil on canvas.
    Ward H. and Cora E. Nay Director’s Purchase Prizes: 
    Dave Jones, Arlington Row, palladium/platinum/gold leaf on vellum.
    Stacey Korycki, Handstand, gum bichromate and cyanotype print.
    Mary Whalen, Kalamazoo River 2013, wet plate collodion, tintype.

    Press Release: Kalamazoo Valley Museum

    July 24, 2013

    The Kalamazoo Valley Museum will celebrate its 2 millionth visitor on Wednesday, July 31.
    To commemorate the milestone, free Museum wristbands and tickets for free admission to planetarium shows will be given away while supplies last. Without a free ticket, admission to planetarium shows is $3.

    “Wednesdays are always busy at the Museum because of our Hands-On activities, and we expect next Wednesday to be even busier and more exciting than usual,” said Bill McElhone, Kalamazoo Valley Museum Director. “We’re excited about greeting our 2 millionth visitor and overjoyed that we continue to attract crowds and entertain and educate the community.” (For more information, click here for the complete PDF)


    Press Release: Arts Council

    July 16, 2013

    Concerts in the Park Welcomes Indianapolis’ Blues Artist Tad Robinson July 21st.
    Kalamazoo, MI— Concerts in the Park welcomes Tad Robinson this Sunday, July 21st at 4:00 p.m. to the Bronson Park stage. Direct from Indianapolis, Tad Robinson puts his stamp on the soul side of today’s blues scene. Taking inspiration from the great sounds of Stax and Hi Records, Robinson literally oozes soul with his testifying delivery. Living Blues Magazine says, “Tad Robinson’s vocal style owes obvious debts to vintage-era Al Green and other soul sophisticates, but he blows harp with the rough-hewn exuberance of a postwar Chicago juker.”

    Downbeat Magazine describes Tad Robinson as “near the top of the list of the finest living singers of soul blues.” While calling Indianapolis home, Robinson performs throughout the United States including the Sin City Soul & Blues Revival in Las Vegas, Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland Oregon and the Mohawk Valley Blues Festival in Utica, NY. Robinson just returned from a tour of South America.

    “Watching Tad Robinson and his band perform to a packed club in Indy, I saw immediately how he’d captured the attitude of great blues and soul music. He sings from a heart moved by love and ache and you feel his music, not just hear it, said D. Neil Bremer, Executive Director of the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo. “His original songs were among the best of the evening already filled with great tunes. The band is tight and, when not following Robinson’s powerful voice, takes solo turns that contribute to this not-to-be-missed performance.”

    Concerts in the Park is one of Kalamazoo’s long standing traditions and is offered each Sunday at 4pm* through June, July and August, area musicians from Kalamazoo and the surrounding area perform in an outdoor setting in Bronson Park. Providing the nostalgia of an outdoor music event, the diversity of performers and selections delivers a unique offering unlike other concert series in Kalamazoo.
    Each concert is free, and is friendly for the entire family. Bringing picnic meals (no grilling allowed), blankets or lawn chairs is encouraged. Concerts begin at 4:00 p.m. In the event of inclement weather, the concert will move to the First United Methodist Church, 212 S. Park Street, across from the Band Shell.


    Press Release: Arts Council 

    Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo Re-visions Community Arts Awards

    Kalamazoo, June 11, 2013: the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo today announced that it will seek input from individual artists, arts organizations, past honorees and the community at large regarding the sustainability of the Community Arts Awards.

    D. Neil Bremer, Executive Director, Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo stated, “While we won’t be presenting the Community Arts Awards in 2013 as we have done in the past, the organization will be seeking conversations and collaborations with community arts groups and arts leaders on the questions of appropriate and sustainable future recognition for outstanding contributions to the Arts in Kalamazoo” (Download full PDF)


    Press Release: ArtServe

    Gov. Snyder Releases FY14 Executive Budget Recommendations,
    CDP Training Sessions and Arts Education Update

    Gov. Snyder Recommends $6.65 Million for MCACA

    Moments ago, Governor Snyder released his Fiscal Year 2014 Executive Budget Recommendations calling for an increase of $1 million instate investment for the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) - recommending a total budget of $6,650,000.

    The recommendation represents an investment of $6 million in state General Fund / General Purpose dollars and $650,000 in federal dollars from the National Endowment for the Arts. It is important to recognize that, while on paper this is a $1 million increase, we do see a correctly anticipated decrease in federal funds represented in the overall budget. In the end, the budget will be increased by $500,000 from FY13 to FY14 for the MCACA.

    Breakdown by Fiscal Year:
    FY 2013:
    Total Budget - $6.15 million
    State Investment - $5 million
    Federal Investment - $1.15 million
    FY 2014:
    Total Budget - $6.65 million
    State Investment - $6 million
    Federal Investment - $650,000

    This is the first time in over a decade that Michigan’s Governor has called for an increase in state arts funding in back-to-back years. We thank Governor Snyder for his leadership and recognition of the importance of the arts to Michigan’s economy and its citizens. Today’s increase continues to validate the work ArtServe has been doing behind the scenes with legislators and administration officials, while conducting the research needed to help make the case for the impact of arts and culture.

    While this is an great step forward, we know that the state can and should contribute more to support its arts and cultural organizations and artists. Moving forward, we plan to seek continued support for an appropriation of at least $10 million for FY 2014 in recognition of the powerful role that Michigan’s creative economy contributes to the state’s reinvention – and a significant step forward to returning the state’s investment in creativity to at least $25 million for the future – a level appropriate to the sector’s strategic growth potential.
    As you know, this is just the first step in the budget process as each house will now review the Governor’s budget and provide their respective recommendations. Know that ArtServe will keep you up to speed as things progress.

    Michigan Cultural Data Project Orientations

    The Cultural Data Project will be in Michigan at the end of February to conduct in-person training sessions to assist new and current users of the Michigan Cultural Data Project. The four sessions will take place in Kalamazoo, Lansing and Dearborn and will cover CDP Reports Orientation as well as a New User Orientation.

    Please click the links below to register for one of these free sessions.

    Kalamazoo (February 26th):
    February 26, 2013 from 10am to 11:30am – CDP Reports Orientation – Kalamazoo Public Library (315 S Rose St., Kalamazoo, MI): the CDP Reports Orientation will give an overview of the CDP’s powerful reporting tools and is most useful for organizations that have already completed a Data Profile.

    Lansing (February 28th – 2 sessions):
    February 28, 2013 from 10am to 11:30am – New User Orientation – Michigan Institute for Contemporary Art (1210 Turner St., Lansing, MI): The CDP New User orientation will walk you through the process of completing your Data Profile, applying to participating grantmakers, and generating reports.

    February 28, 2013 from 1pm to 2:30pm – CDP Reports Orientation – Michigan Institute for Contemporary Art (1210 Turner St., Lansing, MI): the CDP Reports Orientation will give an overview of the CDP’s powerful reporting tools and is most useful for organizations that have already completed a Data Profile.

    Dearborn (March 1st):
    February 28, 2013 from 10am to 11:30am – CDP Reports Orientation – Ford Community and Performing Arts Center (15801 Michigan Avenue, Dearborn, MI): the CDP Reports Orientation will give an overview of the CDP’s powerful reporting tools and is most useful for organizations that have already completed a Data Profile.

    If you are interested in either session but are not within driving distance, know that you can always take advantage of the free monthly webinars provided by the CDP. Please click here to view a schedule or sign up for one for the webinars.

    Update: Senate Bill 133 and House Bill 4072

    I wanted to send a quick update on Monday’s message regarding the impact that Senate Bill 133 and House Bill 4072 will have on arts education in Michigan. Considering the response to our message, I wanted to be clear in pointing out that ArtServe is doing more than just monitoring these bills and keeping you updated.

    While a majority of you received a general email notifying you of the legislation, those who reside in a district whose elected official sponsored or cosponsored the legislation were sent an alert asking them to contact their member. Thus far, our advocates have sent nearly 200 emails to the elected officials supporting these bills!

    Many of you replied asking what our plans were to fight this or if we would start a petition/email alert. As of now, there is no guarantee that either of these bills will go before committee. Every bill that is introduced is sent to its respective committee and it is up to chamber leadership and the Chair to decide whether or not to bring this before the committee. If either moves forward, we will certainly expand our email alert to a broader group.

    Know that ArtServe will continue to monitor this legislation and work behind the scenes to keep this from moving forward.

    As always, if you have any questions or comments please feel free to reply to this email or call Mike Latvis directly at 248-379-5897.




    Art Hop celebrates art's role as a community builder in Kalamazoo (Editorial)

    Art Hop, the first Friday of each month, is a celebration for downtown Kalamazoo, a party that allows us to kick up our heels, enjoy art exhibitions by local artists and mingle with friends and neighbors over food, drink and music at area businesses. (more...)

    by Linda S. Mah
    Kalamazoo Gazette
    September 30, 2012



    Community Arts Awards winners contribute to a creative landscape for all of us (Editorial)

    The great classical works performed by a symphony orchestra, the musical comedy that makes us laugh with our neighbor, the physically improbably skills of a dancer, the visually stunning lines of a painting -- the medium does not matter so much as the fact that the arts exist in our world, to make it more beautiful, more thrilling, more meaningful. (...more)

    by Linda S. Mah
    Kalamazoo Gazette
    September 13, 2012


    National Assembly of State Arts Agencies

    Legislative Alert
    May 9, 2012
    From: Thomas L. Birch, Legislative Counsel
    Vol. 10:12

    Take Action: Contact Your Representatives and Senators, Urge NEA Funding at $155 Million for FY2013

    2013 Appropriations Update: The House and Senate appropriations committees are beginning to draft legislation for funding across all agencies in the upcoming 2013 fiscal year. The budget allocations have been made to each of the appropriations subcommittees in both chambers. In the Senate, appropriators on the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee—with jurisdiction over funds for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)—are working with the same total spending allocation as for FY2012. In the House it's a different story, with a budget resolution that hands $1 billion less to the Interior appropriators. (...more)



    Kalamazoo named one of the 10 most affordable cities.

    Kalamazoo's living costs are the lowest on our list: 13% below the national average and 21% below nearby Chicago. Housing is perhaps the city's most notably cheap amenity, with costs one-third below the national average. But Kalamazoo also offers a range of budget-friendly activities (...more)

    Americans for the Arts

    Arts Industry Turns Corner After Great Recession According To Americans for the Arts' National Arts Index

    Advances in Technology Impacting How Arts Organizations Engage Audiences
    Americans for the Arts, the nation's leading nonprofit organization for advancing the arts and arts education, today announced the results of the National Arts Index, the annual measure of the health and vitality of the arts industries in the United States. The 2012 Index reveals that the arts industry began to recover from the effects of the Great Recession in 2010. (...more)

    Press Release: ArtServe

    ArtServe Michigan
    Breaking News: Senate & House Subcommittees Adopt Gov. Snyder Recommendation of $6.15M for MCACA

    Over the past two days the Senate and House General Government Appropriations Subcommittees have met to report out on their recommendations (Senate – SB 954 S1 and House – HB 5382 S1) for Fiscal Year 2013 funding. Included in each subcommittee’s recommendation was $6,150,000 in funding for the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) – representing an increase of $3,582,600 from FY12 to FY13.

    If you recall, on February 9th, Governor Rick Snyder released his Executive Budget Recommendations for Fiscal Year 2013 – proposing an increase to $6,150,000 for the MCACA. Since then, the subcommittees in each house have met to review and take testimony on each department’s budget within the Governor’s proposal. Earlier this month, ArtServe testified before each committee urging support of the Governor’s recommendation while providing data from Creative State Michigan and discussing the importance of arts, culture and arts education in Michigan.

    The support of the two subcommittees is an important step as it represents one of the final hurdles for the MCACA’s FY13 budget. The two bills will now go before the full Appropriations Committees before heading to the floor for a vote in their respective houses. Following that, the bills will be sent to Conference Committee to allow for negotiation on final funding levels. Know that we will keep you informed as we continue to work behind the scenes to ensure passage of the increased budget for the MCACA.

    Consider supporting our efforts as we continue to fight for the arts, culture and arts education in Michigan!
    Make a contribution ($10, $25, or whatever you can afford)
    Become an organizational member of ArtServe

    As always, if you have any questions or comments call Mike Latvis directly at 248-379-5897.



    Kalamazoo Arts Council looking for new ways to serve, stay strong

    When the Arts Council of Greater Grand Rapids announced in October it was closing its doors after more than 40 years of raising funds and advocating for the arts, it painted a dire picture for arts councils. However, the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo says it has no intention of folding anytime soon. (... more)

    by Linda S. Mah
    Kalamazoo Gazette
    December 05, 2011

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