Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan announce $500,000 in grants to boost regional arts and culture sector 

In General,Press Release

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan today announced $500,000 in grants to support arts and culture organizations that represent a variety of creative disciplines throughout the Community Foundation’s seven-county service area and contribute to the vitality of our region’s economy.  

This is the inaugural round of grantmaking since the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation announced a $100 million commitment in December 2021 to transform the financial strength and long-term viability of Southeast Michigan’s arts and culture community through the establishment of an endowment at the Community Foundation. 

The investment created permanent operational funding streams for 11 of the region’s largest arts and culture institutions, supports annual grants to small and midsize arts and culture nonprofits, and builds the Community Foundation’s capacity to lead community engagement efforts around inclusion in the arts.  

“The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation’s investment in arts and culture as an economic driver in our region is admirable,” Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan President Richard (Ric) DeVore says. “Arts and culture programs often are the first to be cut during economic challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic but are among the most vital assets when it comes to creating a desirable place to live, work and play in the long term.” 

Throughout 2022, the Community Foundation held three community conversations to inform the grantmaking process and gather input from leaders in the sector about expanding access for audiences and artists of all disciplines and the importance of inclusion and equity. 

“When we made our $100 million commitment to Southeast Michigan’s arts and culture sector, we did so out of the Foundation’s economic development focus area. These organizations, both large and small, are key economic drivers in their neighborhoods, communities, and the broader region,” said Jim Boyle, vice president of programs and communications, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. “This endowment is our unique and long-term contribution to the arts and culture sector. We look forward to witnessing the amazing work to come from these new grantees.”  

Grants were made to a wide array of nonprofits, including Voce Velata to amplify the voices of BIPOC and women composers and artists, Black and Brown Theatre to support live performances and workshops, and Sidewalk Detroit for its neighborhood arts festival to advance spatial equity.

The full list of 2022 Wilson arts and culture grant recipients includes the following: 

  • Capturing Belief $20,000 for The D Portrait Studio and its engagement with Detroit students in learning the business of photography, including hosting neighborhood pop-up studios and an outdoor exhibition 
  • Sidewalk Detroit $20,000 to support ongoing programming in advancing spatial equity through neighborhood-based engagement and public art planning 
  • Room Project, fiscally sponsored by Allied Media Projects, Inc. $20,000 to support women, nonbinary, and trans writers and artists 
  • Anton Art Center $20,000 for general operating expenses with a focus on partnerships, innovation, and special projects 
  • HAI Foundation $20,000 to support of City of Asylum Detroit and its fellowship program for artists-in-exile 
  • Livingston Arts Council $20,000 for support of general operating expenses and expanded programming 
  • American Citizens for Justice $20,000 to support the Michigan Asian American Documentary Film Festival with an emphasis on social justice films 
  • Detroit Narrative Agency, fiscally sponsored by Allied Media Projects, Inc. $20,000 to support its Emerging Filmmakers Workshop Series 
  • Live Coal, fiscally sponsored by Central Detroit Christian Community Development Corporation $20,000 to support Detroit rePatched, an arts-infused green space and arts hub in the Brightmoor neighborhood 
  • TeMaTe Institute for Black Dance and Culture, fiscally sponsored by North End Woodward Community Coalition $20,000 to support a multigenerational oral history documentation and performative storytelling inquiry that explores the multiple narratives of migration and movement within the city of Detroit 
  • Ann Arbor Film Festival $20,000 for community programming to expand the impact of the festival 
  • Planet Ant Theatre $20,000 to support the collaborative development and delivery of a summer pilot program for children in kindergarten through third grade 
  • Living Arts $20,000 for general operating expenses with a focus on social and emotional learning-centered arts education 
  • River Raisin Centre for the Arts $20,000 to support removing financial obstacles to expanded community engagement with multidisciplinary programming 
  • Garage Cultural $20,000 to support prioritizing people-centered processes in the creative economy 
  • A Host of People $20,000 to support general operating expenses and an ensemble-generated production 
  • The Detroit Creativity Project $17,500 to support an applied improvisational theater pilot program for foster youth in Wayne County 
  • Historic Elmwood Foundation $17,500 to support preserving and promoting history at Elmwood Cemetery and to develop and host cultural, educational, and social programs to benefit the community 
  • Voce Velata, fiscally sponsored by Artrain, Inc. $17,500 to support its youth-driven music education programming and professional development opportunities for music educators 
  • Eisenhower Dance Ensemble $17,500 to support programming and operational strategies that will increase access and promote inclusivity for audiences and dancers 
  • Enter Stage Right $17,500 for support of general operating expenses and expanded programming 
  • Orchestra Sono $15,000 to support performances with increased community engagement to expand audience reach 
  • Ann Arbor Art Center $15,000 for the ArtBox program, which provides underserved individuals throughout southeast Michigan with basic art supplies 
  • Greater Impact House, fiscally sponsored by Fractured Atlas, Inc. $15,000 for its efforts to raise awareness around accessibility, inclusion, and mental health in the art community 
  • Designconnect $15,000 to support the expansion of a creative design curriculum at the Detroit School of the Arts 
  • Third Place [Music Fest], fiscally sponsored by Fractured Atlas, Inc. $10,000 for performances in public and community spaces throughout Ann Arbor 
  • Black and Brown Theatre $10,000 to support live performances and workshops with Detroit elementary school students 
  • All The World’s A Stage $7,500 to support a theatre arts education program for kindergarten through eighth-grade students in Macomb County 
  • The Wesley Foundation $5,000 to support Sacred Ink, a gallery show of professional photographs featuring students with tattoos plus accompanying narratives 

Learn More about the Wilson Arts Investment