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NEA Chairwoman Jane Chu, Kresge President Rip Rapson to discuss art and community


Jane Chu, chairwoman of the National Endowment of the Arts, will discuss art and community with Rip Rapson, Kresge’s president and CEO, Saturday at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.

The conversation – “Why the Arts Matter: A Conversation on Arts, Engagement and Community” – will be moderated by Juanita Moore, president and CEO of the Wright Museum.

Join the discussion

The presentation is open to the public as part of Art X Detroit, and will be livestreamed 1:30-2:30 p.m. Saturday.

Art X Detroit is a biennial celebration highlighting the work of recent Kresge Artist Fellows and Kresge Eminent Artists. This year’s free festival encompasses 10 days of performances, screenings, installations, workshops, panels and interactive experiences in numerous locations.

“In less than a year at the helm of the NEA, Jane Chu is leading us toward a new data-informed appreciation for how citizens from all walks of life engage in the arts, how we can reduce barriers to their participation, and the ways that participation, in turn, builds communities,” Rapson says.

“I look forward to stimulating discussion of the role arts, culture and creativity play in animating communities across the country, including Detroit,” Rapson says.

Earlier this year, the NEA released three reports exploring:

  • Public attitudes and motivations toward engagement with arts and culture
  • Participation in arts and culture activities
  • The contribution of the arts and culture industries to the gross domestic product

The economic report, a partnership with the Department of Commerce, found that in 2012 arts and cultural production contributed more than $698 billion to the U.S. economy, or 4.32 percent to the U.S. gross domestic product.

“The implications from this research are significant,” says Chu. “The findings show that there is great diversity in how people engage in the arts, and this gives us a framework to use our creativity to innovate new ways to reach these audiences.”

Art X, the artist fellowships and Kresge Eminent Artist Award are part of the foundation’s Detroit Program. Kresge works to expand opportunity in America’s cities. Its Detroit Program focuses on the foundation’s hometown, using a comprehensive framework to promote long-term economic opportunity.