Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo | WMUK

Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo

Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo

The coronavirus outbreak means big changes for Kalamazoo's monthly Art Hop. Starting Friday, April 3, it goes virtual.


Tamra Diamond (Chesak); Grant Beachy (Daneman)

The Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo offers several different grants to fund a range of Kalamazoo-area creative activity, including the KADI grant, or Kalamazoo Artistic Development Initiative grant. Cara Lieurance talks to Kristen Chesak, the executive director of the Arts Council, and  Ashley Daneman, a 2020 KADI grant recipient for her concert-series-with-a-twist concept, Authenticity Kalamazoo.  Other recipients this cycle include artists like Kelly Van Der Kley, who will use her grant to learn more about book-making techniques in Venice, then share them locally through her work with Kalamazoo Book Arts


Art Hop is one of the most visible programs created and supported by the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, but the list of ACGK activity is much larger than most people realize. Executive Director Kristen Chesak joins Cara Lieurance to talk about how the council has sustained and helped focus the work of artists in southwest Michigan - filmmakers, painters, dancers, musicians, ceramic artists, playwrights, performers and craftspeople of all kinds. 

Grant Beachy

Although the official release date isn't until March 2019, Kalamazooans have an early chance to hear music from Ashley Daneman's newest album of original music, People Are Fragile, Thursday night at Bell's Eccentric Café's Back Room. Daneman tells Cara Lieurance that she funded the album with a grant from the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo, which will allow her to offer free copies of the album with the $10 price of admission to the concert. She also partnered with the YWCA Kalamazoo to present this pre-release concert this month, which is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  

Daneman has worked to understand and manage her own experience with childhood domestic violence. Some of the songs contain elements familiar to those who have also survived or been in contact with trauma. Other songs celebrate moments of love, faith, and passion. Daneman talks about the musicians who joined her on the album, and the all-live process of recording it.


Courtesy photo

Grand Rapids native Dann Sytsma has long wondered why it's customary for companies to offer new employee orientation, but not so for communities to provide such training for its new residents. That question has led him to launch the "Welcome to Kalamazoo" show during downtown Kalamazoo's Art Hops. The next one is May 4.


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