Podcast: Arts and Cultural Institutions Collaborate to Infuse the Arts into the Fabric of MSU | MSUToday

Show Notes

WKAR public media celebrates a century of service as AM 870 went on the air in August 1922. The Wharton Center for the Performing Arts celebrates 40 years of providing a wide range of world-class arts and entertainment for Central Michigan and beyond. And the MSU Broad Art Museum opened its doors 10 years ago. The three leaders of these MSU institutions are joining the program today. Shawn Turner is Acting Director of Broadcasting at MSU and Managing Director of WKAR Public Media. Eric Olmscheid is executive director of the Wharton Center, and Steven Bridges is acting director of the Broad Art Museum.

“You can’t go 100 years without doing something good,” says Turner. “WKAR was broadcast on August 18, 1922. Originally, WKAR was intended to provide agricultural information to local farmers and quickly evolved to provide additional programming for the local community. If you look at what has happened over the past hundred years, WKAR has been a leader in innovation when it comes to providing news, information and entertainment to the community. We have moved from these very direct and limited broadcasts to the delivery of programs and education.

“Today we have one of the most popular classic radio stations in all of Michigan. And as we look to the future of WKAR, our viewers and listeners will see additional content that will truly connect with our evolution has been to respond to members of the community, to respond to our listeners and viewers, and to ensure that at every turn, we are doing what it takes to support them and meet their needs. .

“The Wharton Center will celebrate its 40th anniversary on September 25,” says Olmscheid. “On September 25, 1982, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra opened the Wharton Center with a grand affair, and it hasn’t stopped since. It’s been continuous in the sense of that commitment to the community and to the performing arts and the educational opportunities of central Michigan and world class. The organization continues to think about the future. We are celebrating our 40 years, but we are delighted with the way we fit into this great MSU 2030 Strategic Plan, the arts plan and how our units collectively work more to amplify what is happening from an arts and culture perspective on this campus. We continue to evolve and reflect on how we engage and support what is happening here on campus and how we connect with the community to be a leader in education, both at the university and beyond. kindergarten to 12th grade.

“It’s really only just begun, and there’s so much more to come. As we consider developing our own strategic plan, I see it more as a roadmap. Where do we really want to go? And how do we want to connect with our community? People love the Wharton Center for its great Broadway programs and incredible concerts, and we welcome traditional and contemporary performing arts. All of that is going to stay, but I think how we present it and how we connect with our audience and how we attract new audiences is our next chapter and our next focus.

“Over the past 10 years there has been a lot of great work, and I think we have accomplished a lot and made a lot of breakthroughs, both in our community and as a campus leader in arts education,” says Bridges. “We have been a strong collaborator and partner in many different disciplines throughout these 10 years. We recently celebrated the major opening of a Zaha Hadid exhibition, which is the largest and most important retrospective of his design work to date. Placing the design work of Zaha Hadid into the architecture of her building is a truly unique and unprecedented experience. I am very proud of this exhibition, and for us it also signals a significant change for us as we look to the future.

“If we look at the Broads and Hadid, they were important figures for us as an institution. Looking at how they have performed and how they have invested and provided opportunities for growth and development in their spheres of influence, there is a lot of inspiration to be taken there. Zaha Hadid said, “I think there should be no end to experimentation,” and that’s something we take wholeheartedly at the museum.

WKAR, Wharton Center and the Broad are all part of an overall campus-wide strategy called University Arts and Collections, which supports campus units that hold significant cultural and intellectual collections that serve MSU’s research, scholarship, and outreach missions. What is that? Why now, and what are its goals and mission?

“Let me start by saying I think this is a really amazing collaboration for the community,” Turner continues. “The fact that the three of us are here to talk about our organizations, our collaborations and our willingness to work together, and that you have this broader collaboration that will really bring a level of intensity in the arts to this community that we have never seen before, is something that excites us all. It’s an opportunity for us to recognize that since we’ve been part of this community, we’ve all touched different parts of this community. We all have different audiences, different followers, and different supporters, but the interests of this community all converge at some point, and what we recognize is that point is the arts. We will work together on campus to ensure that these collections and collaborations not only bring us together as an organization, but that these collaborations then create exciting new opportunities for this community to engage in the arts.

“The State of Michigan is such a large organization that if we don’t have the intentional connectivity, it’s easy for us all to drift towards our own goal,” Olmscheid adds. “We all have our own priorities and strategies that fit into this larger academic plan, which I believe is critically important in terms of setting direction, intent and goals. common goals. But if we don’t have this collaborative intentionality, it’s easy for us to all be in our own lanes without even focusing on the greater good. I think that’s great. It’s really about access, and this idea that the community can come together is important as we think about our next step and stage of evolution and what we’re doing because it’s such a vital part to our human condition. The arts are the fabric that brings us together. The weaving of the human condition really goes through the arts. The arts are an essential part of who we are and the way they have evolved in our daily lives is very different today, but I think it’s important to remember that.

“These anniversary years were unplanned, but what a great time to seize this opportunity and recognize the opportunities that are before us,” says Bridges. “Culture is not just something that happens to us. It’s something we create, and we create it together. We all work in service to this university, the student body, faculty, staff, and researchers here. But we work for the greater community of central Michigan, Lansing and beyond.

“Moving forward, we want to create more porosity, if you will, between our organizations, but also with the communities we serve. We want direct feedback from them about what they want to see from us and meet them where they are to create a greater sense of belonging and community which I think will be more important in terms of grounding the value of arts and culture in our communities and in our lives. »

“Eric talked about access. And when we think about access at WKAR, part of that for us is going out into the community and finding out what the community wants and what the community needs to feel supported by WKAR,” says Turner. “What is the community interested in when it comes to the arts? It’s a collaboration, not only between us, but between these organizations in the community. It’s an interactive relationship, so I hope people feel as excited about it as we do, because you’ll have the opportunity to shape the future of these organizations and shape the future of the arts. in this community.

“The arts have this very important place in us as human beings, and they connect us,” says Olmscheid. “It’s a natural connection, a connective tissue. Here at MSU, the arts have the same kind of connective tissue on campus and in our organizations. What are our plans as we consider connecting to the research effort and examining academic connections and many other tentacles in the campus community that go beyond just artistic and cultural components? This is the piece that I think is the chapter that remains to be written. How do we continue to evolve in this way on campus and really make the arts a valuable tool in every element of MSU? »

“It resonates with the values ​​of the museum and the University,” adds Bridges. “A lot of it has to do with creating vibrant, welcoming communities and the next generation of artistic leaders and cultural stewards in this country and this region. The place of the arts as a generative force within our communities and the understanding that a creative approach to thinking and producing knowledge applies far beyond the arts and across disciplines. Integrating the arts on campus and into our daily lives is key to creating exactly this kind of community.

“There is a great opportunity to always see, experience and know things differently through the arts, and I think there is real educational value, but also an expansion of your mind and consciousness, which makes you allows you to engage with different cultures, lived experiences and perspectives This creates more balanced individuals and therefore better communities and societies.

“We all live in a time of great stress,” Turner concludes. “There are a lot of things going on in our environment that can make us anxious. And as we sit around the table today, I think about the ability of these organizations to not only help people be knowledgeable about their world, but, according to Eric, it’s an opportunity for people to go to a place where we can let the stress go, and we can let go of the anxiety, and we can experience the arts in a way that helps us all feel rejuvenated and helps us all feel refreshed and helps us come back to our world with a new perspective. As I sit here with these gentlemen and think about upcoming collaborations, it excites me, especially at a time when I think this is something we all need.

Today airs Saturdays at 5 p.m. and Sundays at 5 a.m. on WKAR News/Talk and Sundays at 8 p.m. on 760 WJR. Find “MSU Today with Russ White” at Spotify, Apple podcastand everywhere that you get your shows.

James C. Tibbs