Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs awards $35,000 to Grand Rapids Symphony

GRAND RAPIDS, MI., Oct. 3, 2016 – The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs has awarded the Grand Rapids Symphony a $35,000 grant, among the largest grants given to a single arts organization for the 2017.

The state agency in September handed out more than $9.6 million for arts and culture across the Great Lake State for the 2017 fiscal year, which began on October 1 and ends on September 30, 2017.

The Grand Rapids Symphony’s grant is for operational Support and will be used to support both artistic and educational programming.

Money was distributed between 459 organizations, including music festivals, art centers, school districts, historical societies, art museums and symphony orchestras in categories including Arts in Education, Capital Improvements and Project support along with Operational Support.

Arts and cultural groups from nearly three-quarters of the state’s 83 counties received grants. Additionally, more counties and communities will be reached through the MCACA’s regional re-granting, mini-grant program.

“This year’s grants are a strong affirmation that the field is growing and the value of our programs is appreciated,” said Drew Buchholz, chairman of the 15-member council. “We tip our hat to Governor Snyder and the legislature for showing confidence in MCACA by supporting our appropriation.”

The MCACA is a division of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and its annual grant program attracted 558 applications from a broad geographical and cultural cross section of Michigan this season.

“This has been the most difficult season of grant reviews since the days of the great recession,” said MCACA Executive Director John Bracey. “Then, the difficulty was so little money. Now the issue is how to reach as many eligible organizations as possible around the entire state with our increased, albeit still limited, funding.

“The field is vigorous, new organizations are emerging, small organizations are growing, and the state’s largest organizations are expanding their reach,” Bracey added.

Grand Rapids Symphony last year received $45,000 from MCACA for 2016.

A total of $803,080 was awarded to organizations based in Kent County and $175,930 to cultural entities in Ottawa County. In West Michigan, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park was given $42,000. John Ball Zoo received two grants worth $80,000, and St. Cecilia Music Center received two grants worth $53,820.

Among other orchestras in Michigan, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra received two grants totaling $99,000. Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra and West Michigan Symphony in Muskegon each were given $20,000.


About the Grand Rapids Symphony

Organized in 1930, the Grand Rapids Symphony is nationally recognized for the quality of its concerts and educational programs. Led by Music Director Marcelo Lehninger, Principal Pops Conductor Bob Bernhardt and Associate Conductor John Varineau, nine concert series are presented, featuring a wide range of music and performance styles. More than 400 performances are given each year, touching the lives of some 200,000, nearly half of whom are students, senior citizens and people with disabilities all reached through extensive education and community service programs. Affiliated organizations include the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus; Grand Rapids Youth Symphony and Classical Orchestra; and Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Choruses. GRS provides the orchestra for performances by Opera Grand Rapids and the Grand Rapids Ballet and sponsors the biennial Grand Rapids Bach Festival, which returns in March 2017.

To learn more about the Grand Rapids Symphony, please visit the website or

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This activity is supported in part by an award from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.