Monthly Archives: February 2012

Austin Bunn, Playwright of RUST, Interviewed on WYCE

Catalyst Radio: Grand Rapids writer Austin Bunn talks about the making of his documentary play, “Rust,” and his personal discoveries during the process.

WYCE by WYCE Radio 88.1 FM (WYCE) on Friday Jan 13th, 2012 11:30am in LOCAL LIFE in collaboration with Linda Gellasch and The Rapidian

Click here to go to The Rapidian website to listen to the entire interview, or download it to listen later.


Local writer Austin Bunn spends time on Catalyst Radio this week to talk about his documentary project “Rust.”

Playwright Austin Bunn (left), with actors Paul Walsh, Chris Nye, Rena Dam and Ella Swift, on the set of "Rust" /Photo credit: Eryn Kovach-Sprenger

When Bunn moved to Grand Rapids to become Assistant Professor of Writing at Grand Valley State University, he was shocked as a newcomer to Michigan over how hard the state has been hit by the shrinking of the manufacturing industry.  The closing of a local GM plant, eliminating 1,500 jobs, prompted Bunn to undertake the documentary project, which began its first run as a play at Actors’ Theatre this past fall.

Bunn used the medium of a documentary play to actually bring to life the voices of those hit hardest by the auto industry’s demise — the workers who made a living working in the factories. “Rust” draws from actual interviews Bunn conducted with workers, following the shut-down of that local plant.

Some of those interviews also appear in a New York Times Magazine article published last week, entitled “End of The Line.”

Bunn also talks about having been a journalist, and how the news industry, as well, is suffering a diminishing and changing role.


Music featured this week on Catalyst Radio is from local troubador Drew Nelson, from his 2009 disc Dusty Road To Beulah Land, with the song “Stranger.”

Nelson’s upcoming album Tilt-A-Whirl is scheduled for release next month.

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Filed under In The News, Plays and Productions

Funding for Michigan Arts Gives Back to the State’s Economy

In case you missed it on our Facebook page, check out this fascinating article in Craine’s Detroit Business about funding for the arts!

Report says think about this: state spends $1 on arts and culture, which spends $51 on economy

By Sherri Welch

The intrinsic value of arts and cultural organizations has long been recognized, but a new report reinforces what the sector has long trumpeted: They have significant economic impact, as well.

For every $1 the state invested in nonprofit arts and cultural groups in 2009, those organizations pumped more than $51 into Michigan’s economy through spending on rent, programs, travel and salaries.

“Creative State Michigan,” a new report from the Wixom-based advocacy group Art Serve Michigan, reinforces what ArtServe has known all along, said the group’s director of public policy, Mike Latvis.

“For a long time, we’ve heard that state funding to the arts is a handout, but it’s not. This report shows that investment is returned multiple times over to the state’s economy.”

The report was generated from data entered into the Cultural Data Project, a multistate database gathering national economic impact data from participating nonprofit arts groups in 11 states.

The project, launched in 2004, is administered by one of its initial funders, The Pew Charitable Trusts in Philadelphia.

Michigan’s arts and culture sector joined the database in May 2010 with nudging and support from the Taylor-based Masco Corp. Foundation and other foundation members of the Council of Michigan Foundations‘ Arts Affinity Group. The Masco Foundation provided a lead grant of $200,000.

The budget for ArtServe’s three-year implementation of the project totals $854,215. Assisting ArtServe on the report was Data Driven Detroit.

“Here in Michigan, we have lacked an annual, consistent source of data … to be able to affirm the health and vitality of the arts and cultural sector,” ArtServe President and CEO Jennifer Goulet said. “Particularly as the economy has tightened, it’s been even more critical for us to (have) the data to build a case for support.”  (…)

Read the rest of this article here on

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Filed under Communication, In The News