Wednesday, February 04, 2004
Agencies Team Up To Explore Cultural/Economic Development
Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced that the Department of History, Arts and Libraries (HAL) and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) are working together with two private-sector professionals as part of the volunteer "executives on loan" program. The executives are assisting MEDC and HAL in exploring the common elements and goals of economic and cultural development in order to identify best practices and formulate policies for creative community growth in Michigan.
Neeta Delaney, director of the Armory Park Arts Project in Jackson, and Ric Geyer, an executive with Deloitte & Touche, started work with the MEDC and HAL on January 5.
"The recipe for cool cities must include both cultural and economic elements while nurturing partnerships between the public and private sectors," said Granholm. "These individuals have experience in successfully creating catalysts for development within their communities. Their expertise will encourage collaboration between the MEDC and HAL and bring a unique perspective to the economic development tools we have and how we use them."
Delaney took the helm of the Armory Park Arts Project in 2002. The project, a community development effort spearheaded by The Enterprise Group of Jackson, plans to transform a former industrial site into a unique arts facility that will feature affordable living and work space for fine artists. Formerly the president and CEO of the Jackson County Community Foundation, Delaney has played a major leadership role in a number of community-wide initiatives improving the quality of life in Jackson through educational and cultural programs.
Delaney's work as a loaned executive is made possible by the Masco Corporation Foundation, Compuware and ArtServe Michigan.
Since joining the global accounting and consulting firm Deloitte & Touche in 1995, Ric Geyer has generated business planning and strategy work for an extensive list of business and arts-related clients. In his role with Deloitte, he has also led several Detroit-based efforts including Preservation Wayne, the Heidelberg Art Project and Detroit's Community Reinvestment Strategy effort, and has served in a senior position on a number of other community and arts-based organizations efforts. He recently opened 4731 Grand River, a thriving arts center which houses the 4731 Gallery, 15 permanent artist studios and 'Grand River Station', an artists' cooperative that operates out of the building. An additional 10 artist studios will soon be added to the facility.
"Every day we see more compelling evidence that these collaborations work," said Dr. William M. Anderson, director of the Department of History, Arts and Libraries. "Rather than placing culture in its own little box, we're seeing it's wise - and essential - to strengthen the connection between our cultural community and our business community. Such partnerships create great opportunities for economic impact, including great opportunities for cultural tourism."
Among Delaney and Geyer's goals during their six-month assignment is to strengthen communication and understanding among the common interests that exist between cultural and economic development. By examining successful models nationwide, they will work with HAL and the MEDC to formulate a set of strategies for advancing cultural economic development efforts throughout the state.
"This is an excellent opportunity to reap the knowledge of business executives who are on the front lines, making creative economic development and community projects happen in Michigan," said Don Jakeway, MEDC president and CEO. "I am looking forward to combining the common interests of HAL and the MEDC to advance our common goals."
The first phase of the executives on loan program was launched in March 2003 with the placement of seven private-sector executives in various state agencies. The goal of the program is to help streamline state government by tapping the expertise of Michigan's talented private-sector executives. These professionals agree to volunteer their full-time services to the state.
The Department of History, Arts and Libraries is dedicated to enriching the quality of life for Michigan residents by providing access to information, preserving and promoting Michigan's heritage and fostering cultural creativity. The department includes the Library of Michigan, the Mackinac Island State Park Commission, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the Michigan Historical Center and the Michigan Film Office. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/hal
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life.