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Detroit's art scene gets a $4 million boost

Photo Courtesy of the Detroit Children's Choir

From potters to puppeteers, there are some very relieved artists in Detroit this week.  More than 60 of the city's cultural groups are splitting a $4 million grant from the Kresge Foundation.

While four million bucks spread across 60 groups may not sound like a lot, it could actually be what keeps the lights on for some of them. Especially teeny groups, like the Detroit Children’s Choir.

Carol Schoch, the choir’s director, says until now they’ve been competing for every dollar of funding and running mostly on volunteers. "Now we're stepping up to the next level. So this is huge. They're helping us to step up and become the organization that we really need to be in order to serve more children."

It’s no surprise that it’s a tough time for arts organizations these days, what with a shrinking pool of funding bucks to go around.  But Schoch says what few grants are available are usually given for special projects, when what fledgling groups like the Children’s Choir really need is grants just like this one, which is aimed at operating expenses.  

"This is exactly the kind of funding that is very hard to find. Most grants are project-related. It's very hard because you're constantly having to focus on projects, but in the meantime you really do need this operations money to just keep the boat floating.

Schoch says the children's choir will receive $10,000 over the next two years from the grant. Other groups sharing the Kresge funding include PuppetART, the Jewish Ensemble Theater, and the Motor City Brass Band. 

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.