What's New at the KIA? Lots, Says Director Belinda Tate

Aug 26, 2016

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Executive Director Belinda Tate has made community collaborations a priority during her first two years on the job.
Credit Earlene McMichael / WMUK

If you've noticed increased community collaborations, youth programming and involvement of local artists at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, it's been intentional. Belinda Tate marks her second-year anniversary as the organization's executive director next month. She says she's sought to make the KIA a "community resource" and a center of creativity. The KIA also has extended hours, and now is open at every Art Hop


Tate talked about her approach to programming and what's on tap in the future in an interview with WMUK's Earlene McMichael on today's Arts & More program. The Yale-educated arts administrator said she had a similar emphasis on outreach in her prior position directing the Diggs Gallery in Winston-Salem, N.C., for 15 years. It was one of the nation's top African-American galleries.

In a more extensive web interview, Tate said the KIA's next big community-based collaboration is the second annual "Girls Can! The Collaborative," as part of the Sept. 9 Art Hop. The event brings together more than a half-dozen girls' organizations such as the Girl Scouts and Junior Girls, and other groups, for an evening of crafts, interactive activities and exhibits. It is free and open to the public.

Calling the program "a girls empowerment event," Tate said it also serves as a chance for girls not affiliated with an organization to find out what's available and to meet some of its members. 

"So if they'd like to get involved, it's an opportunity for them to receive that personal invitation to get involved," Tate said.

The initiative is led by the Merze Tate Explorers, a club devoted to helping girls meet women leaders in the Kalamazoo area and beyond. 

Hear a half-hour version of today's abbreviated Arts & More interview next month on WestSouthwest, our public-affairs program. It airs Sept. 8, the second anniversary of Tate's first day at the KIA.