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KAC Annual Meeting: Creative Expression: Why the Arts Matter in Times of Crisis

October 29, 2020 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Pay What You Can

The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speaker Series, hosted by The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College, co-presents with Krasl Art Center author and arts marketing expert Donna Walker-Kuhne on Thursday, October 29, at 7 pm. During this online virtual event, Walker-Kuhne will examine Creative Expression: Why the Arts Matter in Times of Crisis

She will discuss the importance of how arts organizations can re-imagine and present experiences that are accessible to today’s diverse audiences and respond to today’s needs. Walker-Kuhne will share highlights of successful social justice programs that are grounded in the arts and community engagement.

This online event is both the return of the Speaker Series for the 2020-21 season and KAC’s annual member meeting.

About the Speaker
Award-winning arts marketing consultant Donna Walker-Kuhne is the country’s go-to expert on creating multicultural audiences. Widely recognized as the author of the groundbreaking Invitation to the Party: Building Bridges to the Arts, Culture and Community (Theater Communications Group, 2005), she follows up that title with Champions for the Arts: Lessons and Successful Strategies for Engaging Diverse Audiences.

Walker-Kuhne’s latest book is an essential how-to for organizations to engage diverse communities through thoughtful campaigns and meaningful partnerships. The author draws on years of experience in cultivating and sustaining new audiences, and has interpreted her strategies for arts leaders here and abroad, including Australia, South Africa, and Russia.

The Founding President of Walker International Communications Group, Walker-Kuhne is a dynamic lecturer and innovator who shares her expertise with clients representing events from intimate gallery productions to Broadway hits and feature films. She was named the nation’s foremost expert in audience development by the Arts & Business Council and serves the New Jersey Performing Arts Center as Senior Advisor for Community Engagement. She has raised more than $23 million in earned income by promoting the arts to multicultural communities.

Walker-Kuhne is the recipient of over 50 awards, proclamations, and citations including the 2019 League of Professional Theatre Women Rachel Crothers Leadership Award, the 2019 SPAA Award for Community Service from Rutgers School of Public Affairs and Administration/Newark, the 2018 Support of Dance Award from Carolyn Dorfman Dance, and 2015 Community Service Award from Women in Media.

Following Walker-Kuhne’s presentation is a 30-minute panel discussion with local experts who will discuss the role creative expression and the arts play during times of crisis right here in southwestern Michigan.

Scheduled panelists are:

  • Traci Burton, Community Influencer
  • Lisa Cripps Downey, President of Berrien Community Foundation;
  • Tasha Turner, MA, LPC, CTP, Program Director, Trauma Informed Initiatives, Population Health, Spectrum Health Lakeland
  • Mamie L. Yarbrough, Berrien County Commissioner


Online passes are free with a pay-what-you-can option to defray the cost of the event. Passes are available now at www.TheMendelCenter.com, or by calling 269-927-8700, option 1. Temporary box office hours are Mondays and Wednesdays, 10 am to 6 pm. Registration in advance is required in order to receive online access code.

About The Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Speaker Series

Established in 1943, the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan has brought more than 430 world leaders, policy makers, experts, and other newsmakers to the region. Its goal is to provide unique opportunities for personal and community growth. By presenting national and international speakers from a wide range of fields and expertise, this non-partisan series is dedicated to the discussion of social, economic, and public policy questions important in today’s complex society.

About Krasl Art Center

Krasl Art Center is a nonprofit art museum and learning center that enriches the lives of people living in or visiting Southwest Michigan by delivering enlightening art experiences through diverse education opportunities, meaningful events, and high-quality exhibits and collections. KAC’s mission is to inspire meaningful change and strengthen the community through the visual arts. To learn more visit krasl.org.

About the Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College

The Mendel Center raised the curtain on its first Mainstage season performance in the fall of 1992. Since that time, it has presented Mainstage season performances to more than half a million patrons in the 1,559-seat Mendel Center Mainstage Theatre. Newly renovated Grand Upton Hall, first opened in 1979, is a 14,400-square-foot venue serving the community as the host site for meetings, banquets, trade shows, weddings, and other celebrations. The 234-seat Hanson Theatre is home to the Lake Michigan College Visual & Performing Arts Departments as well as a variety of Mendel Center and community events.

The Mendel Center is 30 minutes from Niles and 40 minutes from the Kalamazoo and South Bend areas. It is located on the Lake Michigan College campus at 2755 E. Napier Avenue, Benton Harbor, Michigan, one mile east of I-94 (Exit 30) and one mile west of the US 31 Bypass (exit 24). Its GPS mapping address is 1100 Yore Avenue, Benton Harbor, MI.

Find #TheMendelCenter online at:

  • Facebook @TheEconClub & @MendelCenter
  • Instagram @TheMendelCenter
  • Twitter @TheMendelCenter
  • www.TheMendelCenter.com


October 29, 2020
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Pay What You Can
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