To ensure the success of the local arts community after the coronavirus pandemic, the Detroit Office of Arts, Culture, and Entrepreneurship is partnering with various organizations and artists to host a virtual series called Arts Talks: The Way Forward. The series will include discussions on life, work, and success in the new normal, and feature guests such as fashion designer Tracy Reese and spoken word poet jessica Care moore.
“As Mayor Duggan helps move the entire city move forward, helping businesses reopen and residents get back to work, my task is to help do the same for artists and arts organizations,” says Rochelle Riley, director of arts and culture for the city. “We want to survey the landscape, see where we are, and see how best to help.”
Arts Talks take place on Zoom at noon every Tuesday and Thursday through July 30, covering different mediums, such as fashion, music, and film. Registration is required to join in the call. You can register here.
The June 4 episode will feature a discussion with Reese and Détroit Is the New Black owner Roslyn Karamoko. The virtual event will cover what the city’s fashion industry looks like now and what it will look like in a year. In the next episode, on June 9, moore and interdisciplinary artist Tiff Massey will discuss art houses and arts districts. The complete lineup of artists and groups ACE is partnering with will be announced on Friday.
More than 70 people signed up for the first episode, which was on business management, entrepreneurship, and financial and digital training with the nonprofit ArtOps, and Riley says she was stunned by how well the event was received by viewers. “The information that they got was exactly the type of things they needed,” she says. “I got calls from people directly to say that they took furious notes.”
To help the city’s creatives, the staff at ACE have developed an extensive list of financial resources complete with multiple grants, relief funds, and fellowships. They also hosted the recent COVID-19 Artist Relief Telethon benefiting the Artist Crisis Emergency Fund, which provides unrestricted grants to artists whose income has been impacted by the pandemic.
Riley wants everyone in the creative industry to know what concerns artists have moving forward, and she wants to make sure that artists are having the same success in the fall that they had before this pandemic started. “This is a chance to be heard, a chance to have conversations, a chance to look at the lay of the land,” she says.