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In July, our executive director, Omari, laid out CultureSource’s five-pronged program to help arts organizations navigate through the turbulence that has destabilized the arts sector in the post-pandemic era.

Since then we’ve continued to survey the field and take note of nationwide trends that are impacting the arts sector here in Southeast Michigan and in the Midwest. Here are some key things we’ve observed:


AI Advancements

As new tools such as ChatGPT and Photoshop generative fill make artificial intelligence more accessible, it has sparked debate about authenticity and ownership. A recent ruling by a federal judge found that art generated by AI is not eligible for copyright protections, as it does not meet the condition of “human authorship.” But more legal challenges are coming from both AI champions and artists who feel this new technology devalues human creativity. In the meantime, SMU DataArts is calling for moderation in their recent report on safeguarding the nonprofit sector from AI while also exploring its potential benefits.


Decline in Revenues

Theaters, orchestra halls, and performance venues are open… but audiences numbers have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels. This decline in ticket sales has put the squeeze on nonprofit arts organizations, forcing them to layoff staff and scale back performances. Losses in earned revenue have been compounded by a decline in charitable giving—a study by Giving USA found that donations to nonprofits declined in 2022.


Staff Burnout

Nonprofit workforces are continuing to experience burnout in the post-pandemic era. Financial challenges have led to reductions in staff at cultural institutions across the county, leaving fewer staff to share the same workload. These challenges are encouraging leaders to continually search for new strategies to combat fatigue, and our very own Omari Rush spoke to Model D about how we think about rest and recharging at CultureSource.


New Covid Variants

The pandemic may have been officially declared over but Covid-19 hasn’t disappeared. Public health officials are tracking the rise of a new variant, BA.2.86, as hospitalizations around the globe increase. Research is underway to determine how this new mutation is able to evade our defenses, such as antibodies from a prior Covid infection or vaccination. As we head into flu season the State of Michigan has published tools to help find a Covid-19 booster shot and flu shot.

The intensity of these compounding challenges and the uncertainty they cause can feel overwhelming. But at CultureSource, we know it’s not all bad news. Through 2023 and into 2024, we are working to galvanize support for the arts sector in both reliable and new ways. Check out what we’ve been up to (and what’s coming next) as part of our New Normal programmatic response.

  • JOIN: Our What’s Happening Workshop Series, where we try to understand how national trends impact the local arts sector.
  • BOOKMARK: Our New Normal resource hub—a directory of resources, events, and required reading to help navigate through challenges in the sector.
  • REVIEW: Key takeaways from our arts policy workshop with the Michigan Arts and Culture Council, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, and Kelley Cawthorne.
  • READ:Leading Through a Sustained Crisis,” Harvard Business Review, that is guiding our thinking about leadership in times of uncertainty.

As always, thank you for your partnership as we work to build a more vibrant, inclusive arts sector in Southeast Michigan. Stay tuned for more information about upcoming programs, changemaking initiatives, and our advocacy action agenda.

Rob Swetlic

Director of Communications