Creating Connection

When we share creative experiences and express our creativity, we build powerful connections with the people we’re closest to, with our community and the world around us, and with ourselves. Join the Creating Connection movement, a national initiative to change social norms so creative expression, arts, and culture are embraced as a recognized, valued, and expected part of everyday life.

Creating Connection Background

Creating Connection is a national movement to make arts and culture a recognized, valued, and expected part of everyday life.

It builds on previous efforts to promote the arts and culture, but is grounded in new research and a unique approach to building public will that creates change that stands the test of time.

They are now sharing what the initiative has learned with organizations and leaders across the country -- offering presentations, in-depth training programs, workshops, and technical assistance that can help you understand and apply these new strategies, messages, and tactics to your work. 

Creating Connection is co-led by Arts Midwest and Metropolitan Group in collaboration with a committed group of state and local arts agencies, arts and culture institutions, arts service organizations, working artists, arts educators, and others.


Creating Connections has developed a message guide and set of tools to help you apply their strategies in your own work and programs. These materials are free for you to download and reuse. These include: a message guide, story and photo tips, an engagement guide, and much more.  Find the entire suite of tools by clicking here.


Looking to review the public values research? Curious to hear from arts and culture leaders about how they’ve used the Creating Connection recommendations to shift their messaging and programming? Check out the growing library of recorded webinars for stories and insights from the field. Access the Creating Connections webinar page by clicking here.

Michigan's Creating Connection Stories

At its core, art, culture and creativity is about connecting with other people — whether that’s in a historical museum, concert hall, hometown festival or an afterschool program. The Michigan Arts and Culture Council, inspired by the tools offered from Creating Connection, created a five-part series of intimate, first-person stories about how creative expression brings us closer to other people, the community around us, and to ourselves. Check out the unique and inspiring stories below.

Art in the Loft's "Art Pop"

"During these COVID times, when we are stuck at home, it's a huge, huge help to have something prepared that gets my son involved in the arts."

Center for the Arts of Greater Lapeer: Pix Theatre

"Theater to us is the happiest place to be. It's our escape to join these productions and plays. We do want to go back physically as soon as we can."

Hannan Center: Beyond U

"We started the virtual class with no equipment. The drumsticks were our hands, and our drum could be our body. It could be the table. It could be a countertop. Anything that you can beat on, it's still working the brain of seniors, and helping them to exercise creativity."

Jackson School of the Arts

Carmen Wilkins Thompson shares how her childhood love of dance led her to become a hip-hop dance instructor at the Jackson School of the Arts in Jackson, Michigan.

Creative 360: Express Yourself Artshop

Louie Thurston, a student at Creative 360's Express Yourself ArtShop in Midland, Michigan, talks about an artwork he made to honor his Aunt, and what ArtShop has meant to him and other people with disabilities.

Wind Shift: Saugatuck Center for the Arts

Tim Folkert, a Holland, Michigan-based surfboard maker and artist, explains how his love for surfing on Lake Michigan influences his art. Tim's work is on display now at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts.

Ebony Road Players: Edye Evans Hyde

I got a bunch of artist friends together and we decided, not knowing what the heck we were doing, “Hey, let's just have a black theater company and every year we'll just do a theater production!” That grew from just having fun, to an opportunity for kids and adults to have somewhere to go, and to be able to see themselves onstage, and be able to tell their own stories.

Corner Health Center Theatre Troupe

Charry (Charlotte) Trim of the Corner Health Theater Troupe in Ypsilanti, Michigan, talks about what it's like to step out of her shell, be an actor, and work to help her peers live happier and healthier lives.

Benton Harbor teen found purpose, confidence through stained glass art

"The Fired Up program? Whew! It gave me a purpose," Otis said. It taught me to be a better person, showed me leadership, and that if I take the initiative and I apply myself, I can get those opportunities out there.

Rock camp teaches Detroit girls to express themselves in loud, wild ways

"My guitar makes me feel safer almost. It makes me feel powerful. And angry sometimes, but strong, that I could do that. And it has given me more confidence," Penny said. "I find it cool that sometimes I can be really loud."

Holland teen copes with anxiety by turning her "mental monsters" into art

Artists create for all sorts of reasons: to express emotion, convey an idea, or raise a political ruckus. For people who struggle with anxiety and depression, art can also be a kind of therapy.

How a jewelry-making class helped a Kalamazoo woman find hope after tragic losses

After Bennett-Dailey lost both her husband and her brother she became very depressed. Then, a few of her friends bought her a class in beginning jewelry making. That gift, Bennett-Dailey says, changed her life.

Writing rock songs helped teen with autism open up to friends, family

When you learn how to make art – whether it’s oil painting or playing in a rock band – you develop more than just a talent. It can also help you learn some pretty important life lessons about things like failure and vulnerability.