In wildly emotional times like a global pandemic, there is considerable value in turning to the arts and creative expression to make it through. To showcase that fact, the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speaker Series, hosted by The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College, will co-present with Krasl Art Center author and arts marketing expert Donna Walker-Kuhne on Thursday, October 29th, at 7 pm. During the upcoming online virtual event, Walker-Kuhne will examine Creative Expression: Why the Arts Matter in Times of Crisis.
She will discuss the importance of how arts organizations can re-imagine and present experiences that are accessible to today’s diverse audiences and respond to today’s needs. Walker-Kuhne will share highlights of successful social justice programs that are grounded in the arts and community engagement.
The online event is both the return of the Speaker Series for the 2020-21 season and will serve as the Krasl Art Center’s annual member meeting.
Award-winning arts marketing consultant Donna Walker-Kuhne is the country’s go-to expert on creating multicultural audiences. Widely recognized as the author of the groundbreaking Invitation to the Party: Building Bridges to the Arts, Culture and Community (Theater Communications Group, 2005), she follows up that title with Champions for the Arts: Lessons and Successful Strategies for Engaging Diverse Audiences.
Walker-Kuhne’s latest book is an essential how-to for organizations to engage diverse communities through thoughtful campaigns and meaningful partnerships. The author draws on years of experience in cultivating and sustaining new audiences, and has interpreted her strategies for arts leaders here and abroad, including Australia, South Africa, and Russia.
The Founding President of Walker International Communications Group, Walker-Kuhne is a dynamic lecturer and innovator who shares her expertise with clients representing events from intimate gallery productions to Broadway hits and feature films. She was named the nation’s foremost expert in audience development by the Arts & Business Council and serves the New Jersey Performing Arts Center as Senior Advisor for Community Engagement. She has raised more than $23 million in earned income by promoting the arts to multicultural communities.
Walker-Kuhne is the recipient of over 50 awards, proclamations, and citations including the 2019 League of Professional Theatre Women Rachel Crothers Leadership Award, the 2019 SPAA Award for Community Service from Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration/Newark, the 2018 Support of Dance Award from Carolyn Dorfman Dance, and 2015 Community Service Award from Women in Media.
Following Walker-Kuhne’s presentation the event will feature a 30-minute panel discussion with local experts who will discuss the role creative expression and the arts play during times of crisis right here in southwestern Michigan.
Scheduled panelists are:
- Traci Burton, Community Influencer
- Lisa Cripps Downey, President of Berrien Community Foundation;
- Tasha Turner, MA, LPC, CTP, Program Director, Trauma Informed Initiatives, Population Health, Spectrum Health Lakeland
- Mamie L. Yarbrough, Berrien County Commissioner
Online passes are free with a pay-what-you-can option to defray the cost of the event. Passes are available now at http://www.TheMendelCenter.com, or by calling 269-927-8700, option 1. Temporary box office hours are Mondays and Wednesdays, 10 am to 6 pm. Registration in advance is required in order to receive online access code.
Established in 1943, the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan has brought more than 430 world leaders, policy makers, experts, and other newsmakers to the region. Its goal is to provide unique opportunities for personal and community growth. By presenting national and international speakers from a wide range of fields and expertise, this non-partisan series is dedicated to the discussion of social, economic, and public policy questions important in today’s complex society.