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Artpod: Cost of Creativity, part 1

Michigan spends more on prison in 11 hours than it does on arts & culture in an entire year.
Danis Davis
Michigan spends more on prison in 11 hours than it does on arts & culture in an entire year.

The Cost of Creativity

We put together our stories about arts and the economy in the state to create an hour-long documentary called The Cost of Creativity. On today's podcast, we'll hear the first installment of the doc.

And because Artpod is about all things Michigan, all the music you'll hear on The Cost of Creativity is by Michigan artists. The musicians featured on today's podcast: Ben Benjamin and Luke Winslow-King.


Arts & the economy

When times are tough, one of the first things to get cut are the arts -- whether its funding or school programs, the arts take a back seat. 

Funding for the arts in Michigan was $26 million a decade ago. Today, it's $2.5 million. As a comparison: Michigan taxpayers will spend more on prisons in 11 hours than they spend on arts and culture in the entire year.

But some arts advocates say the arts can play a big role in helping Michigan move forward.

Over the past year, Kyle Norris and I traveled the state and talked with people who have creative solutions for how to turn things around in Michigan.

Like painter Bill Hosner who used his talents to start a college scholarship fund:

"Most of them were living semester to semester. And they were working hard, sometimes another job or two jobs. And it was only natural for me to then say: How can I help?"

Or Pat Conlon, who turned to the arts as a way to deal with money problems:

"No matter what’s going on in your life, when you’re playing music nothing else is in your head. It’s like a great big tranquilizer for a lot of us...just plain fun!"

Tune into next week's podcast for the 2nd installment of The Cost of Creativity!

Jennifer is a reporter for Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity project, which looks at kids from low-income families and what it takes to get them ahead. She previously covered arts and culture for the station, and was one of the lead reporters on the award-winning education series Rebuilding Detroit Schools. Prior to working at Michigan Radio, Jennifer lived in New York where she was a producer at WFUV, an NPR station in the Bronx.
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