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A workshop with poet Franny Choi at the Room Project, in Detroit, a space for women and nonbinary writers. Photo by Christin Lee, courtesy of the Room Project.

From the restoration of an important Detroit techno artifact to theater recasting images of women in power, 41 arts groups, projects and collectives across metro Detroit will receive grants of $3,000 each through a new foundation-backed initiative to bring such projects to fruition.

Creators of Culture is administered by CultureSource and funded by The Kresge FoundationErb Family Foundation and Hudson-Webber Foundation.

Last week the foundations along with the DeRoy Testamentary Foundation announced 74 annual grants generally ranging from $100,000 to $5,000 a year for three years from organizations ranging from the Detroit Institute of Arts to the Grosse Pointe War Memorial Association. That was the latest round of the longstanding Detroit Arts Support initiative.

Those grants totaled $12.2 million and introduced a single, streamlined application process by which all four could make individual decisions following a common review process.

The new Creators of Culture grants was created as a new outreach to support smaller, younger, less formal producers who do not meet the minimum requirements of the Detroit Arts Support initiative, for instance not having any full-time staff.

Grant winner Kathleen Gerus of The Stitches Doll project works with girls and women who are dealing with different health and life challenges. Photo by Montez Miller, courtesy of The Kresge Foundation.

“These projects reflect a broad range of arts and cultural activities that make a positive contribution to their communities,” said CultureSource Executive Director Omari Rush. “They reach audiences beyond those of the more traditional cultural establishments. They are offering arts education – often with a twist – and they display a broad range of creativity.”

“Since the inception of Kresge’s Detroit arts initiatives more than a decade ago, we’ve looked to full ecosystem of cultural creativity,” said Wendy Lewis Jackson, managing director of Kresge’s Detroit Program. “That includes support for organizations and for individual artist through Kresge Artist Fellows and Kresge Eminent Artists; it includes connecting artists and neighborhoods through AXD. With Creators of Culture, we’re bringing support for a new tier of enterprises that we couldn’t reach before.”

“Since 2009, the Erb Family Foundation has partnered on Detroit Arts Support—a direct result of our belief that culture contributes to quality of life. We are excited to extend the same unrestricted support to a new cohort of arts & cultural groups and look forward to seeing how they will enrich their communities in the year ahead,” said Neil C. Hawkins, president, Fred A. and Barbara M. Erb Family Foundation.”

“It has been a challenge for small and non-institutional arts endeavors to access philanthropic resources,” said Melanca Clark, President and CEO of the Hudson-Webber Foundation. “We see Creators of Culture as essential for reaching this important segment of the arts and culture ecosystem, which will serve to lift authentic stories and voices of Detroit.”

Rush said that CultureSource received 191 applications from which the 41 grantees were selected.

Reviewing the applications, Rush added, “makes us even more energized to find ways to meet the great opportunity for enabling creative expression in our region.”

Among the projects are a new production, “Cleopatra Boy,” by the Detroit-based theater company A Host of People. The play uses the history of Cleopatra to illustrate how women, people of color, and LGBTQ individuals in positions of power risk losing control of their own images and histories, resulting in false narratives and misrepresentations.

Another project is Detroit Sound Conservancy’s plan to restore the legendary sound system of the gay bar Club Heaven, which was important in shaping the sound of Detroit techno, which has become renowned worldwide.

CultureSource will offer at least 25 grants of $3,000 in 2020 and 2021. Application details will be announced in the spring of each year.

CultureSource’s mission is to advance the work of organizations that cultivate creative and cultural expression in Southeast Michigan. Working within that mission includes offering programs specifically for the creators and artists who are part of or who partner with organizations.

Banner Image: A workshop with poet Franny Choi at the Room Project, in Detroit, a space for women and nonbinary writers. Photo by Christin Lee, courtesy the Room Project.

Congratulations, 2019 Creators of Culture grant recipients!

A Host of People

Cleopatra Boy


Arab.AMP Spring Gathering 2020


Detroit Bird House

Ballet Edge Detroit

Bloomfield Hills

Bandhu Gardens

Community Kitchen

Cooper Holoweski

Everyday Afterlife
Bloomfield Hills

Dearborn Community Fund

“POP” Pockets of Perception – We Are One Community

Detroit Composers Project

Local Composer Commission Project 2019-2020

Detroit Sound Conservancy

The Club Heaven Sound System

Detroit Theater Organ Society

Silents at the Senate


Community Albums
Royal Oak

Emily Kokay

Downriver’s Art Motion

Friends of Historical Hamtramck

Coming to Hamtramck: The History of Hamtramck Immigration Companion Book

Iman Saleh

Not for Profit
Lincoln Park

Imani Mixon

Proper Nouns

Jennifer Harge

Highland Park

Kathleen Parks

Adapting One Thousand and One Nights for Today’s Youth Theater

Kristi Faulkner Dance

Not In My House

Maamoul Press

Maamoul Press Publishing Initiative

Mack Alive

Young Curators Art Club of Detroit

Marion Hayden

Ocean: The Life and Times of Phillis Wheatley
Highland Park

Markita Moore

Detroit to Brazil and Back: Afro Brazilian Beats and Percussion

Marlynne Willingham

Kids and Clay for a Day

Matthew J. Green (Jaye Green)

The dE’FACTION Project

Mexicantown Community Development Corporation

Synergy Southwest Artists and Artisans

Motor Signal Reading Series

Motor Signal Reading Series

New Music Detroit

Strange Beautiful Music

Northville Art House

Young Artist After-School Outreach Pgm.

Noura Ballout


Opera MODO

La Gioconda at Belle Isle Boat House


Back to School with PuppetART at the Southfield Public Library

Rick Robinson

Classical Carryout

Room Project

Room Project

Stitches Women’s Initiatives

Stitches Doll Project

The Detroit Suzuki Academy of Music

Bringing Music to the Youth of River Rouge

The Motor City Singers’ Space

Mental Health Musical Showcase Series

The Society for the Re-Institutionalization of Storytelling

Confessions of a Menopausal Femme Fatale

The Village Theater at Cherry Hill

Therapeutic Recreation and the Erth’s Prehistoric Aquarium Adventure

Thistle Rose Academy of Arts

Bare, a Pop Opera
Farmington Hills

Tiff Massey Studios


Women of Banglatown

Women of Banglatown