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Helping the Arts Adapt

As we emerge from the pandemic, it has become clear that the destabilizing effects have contributed to a new normal in our sector. Audiences behaviors have changed, ticket sales are down, and financial stress is felt at organizations of all sizes. Though the immediate crisis has ended, we have entered a period of sustained hardship in which we are constantly inundated by crises of a smaller scale that drain our resources and challenge organizational capacity.

To help arts leaders and organizations in the region adapt to the new normal and build their resiliency, we are planning a suite of targeted support for those facing prolonged hardship.

From identifying trends in the sector to engaging with policy influencers, consider CultureSource your advocate in adapting to the collective challenges we face.


Whatever challenges you or your organization are facing, know that you are not alone. Join CultureSource and our lineup of experts to get calibrated to sector-wide trends, and share inspiration with peers and colleagues that are facing similar challenges.

What’s Happening? Sessions
EmcArts 101: What Change and Adaptation Feels Like
with Liz Dreyer
Aug. 9
Federal and State Arts Policy, co-presented with the Michigan Arts and Culture Council
with Alison Waton, Isaac Brown, Melissa McKinney
Aug 30
Artists: Initiatives, Health, and Special Topics
with Laura Zabel, Christina deRoos, and Maura Cuffie
Sept 28
Arts Economy and Financial Planning
Liz Kohlenberg and Yinuo Zhang
Oct 5
Arts Finance and Arts Audiences
with Susan Nelson and Eric Nelson
Coming Soon
Convening Leaders

CEO Roundtables
Cohosted by Diana Abouali (Arab American National Museum), DeLashea Strawder (Mosaic Youth Theatre), Susan Westoff (Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum/Leslie Nature & Science Center)

From September through November, we’ll convene the CEOs and executive directors from CultureSource member organizations to dissect common issues faced by leaders across the sector. These guided conversations will give colleagues a chance to share ideas, develop collaborations, and build camaraderie with peers. You can also join us online, all the time, via instant messaging on Slack.

To join the CEO Roundtable series or on Slack, email us at [email protected]

Find past events. Find information about past events and key takeaways on our resource library.

What’s Next? CultureSource is developing a how-to series that will provide guidance for responding to the sector-wide trends identified in What’s Happening.


We continue to maintain our popular Funding page, which features CultureSource grant programs, external grant opportunities, and a listing of RFPs and open calls-for-art.

Convening Arts Program Officers
CultureSource hosts a monthly roundtable of arts program officers from local and national foundations to keep them informed of the realities faced by many arts organizations. We will continue to facilitate these meetings as a way to support the vitality of the arts in Southeast Michigan.


The more information we have about the state of the arts sector in Southeast Michigan, the better prepared we will be to respond to the challenges that come next. We are continuing to engage with our three core research partners; the AEI Lab at Indiana University, 8 Bridges Workshop, and WolfBrown to identify opportunities to conduct relevant research that empowers arts organizations to make data-driven decisions.

We are exploring potential new studies to identify:

  • Common challenges faced by Southeast Michigan arts organizations
  • The creative economic ecosystem in Southeast Michigan
  • Leadership and management during sustained hardship


We understand that for the regional arts sector to thrive, it needs long-term, consistent commitments from policy makers and influencers in our state.

To accelerate this objective, CultureSource will host an advisory meeting with employees from our member organizations to identify the collective policy priorities of our creative community. This discussion, facilitated by CultureSource’s Omari Rush and The Henry Ford’s George Moroz, will explore the advantages of having a formal representative for the arts sector to advance our interests in Lansing.

Insights and action items from this planning meeting with be shared via our monthly newsletter.

Required Reading

We know news and headlines are constantly whizzing by you…here are some things we’ve recently tuned into and key insights you don’t want to miss. We’d like to thank our friends at the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance for helping us compile these articles. 

Baltimore announces additional spending for arts

The Hollywood Reporter

$6.25M to be spent on grants, legal services, and more.

New York launches new Council for performing arts sector

The Hollywood Reporter

The Council will address shared challenges for live entertainment.

Heidelberg Project lays off staff in struggle to survive

Crain’s Detroit Business

The organization will also sell their headquarters to cut costs.

Brandeis University to cut two music PhD programs

Boston Globe

The move comes as many universities shift focus to STEM subjects

Steppenwolf Theatre announces major layoffs

Chicago Tribune

Declining subscriber base and ticket sales have shrunk the Theatre’s revenues

A dormant dome for cinephiles is unsettling Hollywood

The New York Times

Signals of the movie industry in turmoil amid strikes and streaming.

Projections, props, dance, pushing boundaries of classical music

San Diego Tribune

Classical music venue finds success by creating multimedia experiences.

Why we need to learn to fail better

The Guardian

Small experiments that end in failure hold lessons for future success

Read More

US-focused Opera News to cease publication after 87 years

Associated Press

The decision was made as the Metropolitan Opera Guild plans to scale back operations.

Report: The Largest Dance & Classically Based Companies

Dance Data Project

Spending down by a third among the US’s largest dance and ballet companies

A crisis in America’s theaters leaves prestigious stages dark

The New York Times

Regional theaters are expecting a 20% reduction in production.

American Theatre is imploding before our eyes

The New York Times

Making the case for government intervention to save nonprofit theaters.

Four performing arts groups innovate to survive and thrive in post-Covid era

Philanthropy Today

Lessons in innovation and adaptation.

Theater is in freefall, and the pandemic isn’t the only things to blame

The Washington Post

Additional factors beyond the pandemic are contributing to difficulties in theater.

Leading through a sustained crisis requires a different approach

Havard Business Review

Shifting from urgent crisis response to long-term management of crisis after effects.

Total US charitable giving declined in 2022

Indiana University

Stock market loses and high inflation contributed to a reduction in individual giving.

How two museums are resetting for a post-pandemic world


Case studies from Boston and New Bedford.

Philanthropy in almost every sector is moving toward unrestricted funding—Except in the arts.


Making the case for trust-based philanthropy.

The strength of music organizations post-pandemic

JCA Nonprofit Consulting

Lessons to learn from the surprising recovery and success of music groups.

If you rebuild it, will they return?

American Theatre

Analyzing challenges and audience trends in American theater.

Why is It important that we continue? Arts orgs rethink their value in challenging times

Wallace Foundation

To stay relevant, nonprofits need to identify and market their value to audiences.

How to move from crisis communications to sustained-situations communication


Using more sustainable communications practices to keep your audience informed.

How to reinvent your organization in the middle of a crisis

Harvard Business Review

How to pause crisis response and engage in reflection.

The Future of Work

Despite its challenges, the pandemic has revealed an opportunity for arts leaders and administrators to rethink the work culture at their organizations. Instead of reverting back to the traditional models of work, investigate these resources to help you consider new ways of working in the post-pandemic era and beyond.

More Information


Our Commitment to Post-Pandemic Recovery

In light of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic and economic volatility, CultureSource took action as a regional coordinator and connector of arts organizations. To address the needs of the Southeast Michigan arts sector we worked to support members and non-members, emphasizing knowledge sharing and collective support. Though the pandemic is officially “over,” we know the economic effects will continue to be felt long after we’ve put away our face masks. CultureSource will continue to support the arts sector’s recovery by sourcing funding opportunities for artists, maintaining our library of resources, and helping organizations plan for digital transformation.

Past Covid-19 Support Programs

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