The power of the arts has always been prominent and explicit in my life. The arts have a unique ability to connect with people in a way most other platforms do not. Arts are a central part of a society or community’s culture as they have the power to tell stories, deliver messages, elicit emotions, and bring people of different backgrounds together. The arts have always had a large impact on my life as a dancer and artist, and I believe in the importance of art as a medium of not only enjoyment, but communication as well, and should be accessible to everyone. However, some public funding decision makers and others across America seem to disagree with me. That is why the video I chose and the subsequent research I did this week were so striking and interesting to me. The feature I chose is entitled #DetroitNeverLeft - Detroit Arts and Culture. Here, Director of Arts and Culture for the city of Detroit Rochelle Riley, along with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, reveal their new plan for arts and culture in Detroit. The video starts off by reflecting how many people see a revival and renaissance in arts and culture in Detroit, but the truth is that arts and culture in Detroit never left. The new Department of Arts and Culture of the City of Detroit is not here to invent or create an arts scene; rather it is here to help the existing one grow, flourish, and prosper. The new Arts and Culture initiative in Detroit aims to do two main things: (1) embrace the creative community and (2) change how we view participation in the arts and in culture in Detroit. To do this, the Department wants to support startups and emerging new artistry, celebrate veteran artists that have moved to NY or LA to pursue their art further, plan sponsored neighborhood art houses near low cost housing to encourage artists to live near the anchors, sponsor neighborhood art fellows to help guide artistic endeavors where they live, and offer job and entrepreneurship training, among many other initiatives. Director Rochelle Riley states that she wants art to act as a catalyst for neighborhood growth, and I completely agree. Art and culture are often considered luxuries, the last thing a community needs to invest in, especially in lower income, less resourced communities. However, investing in art and culture can be critical to a city’s growth and advancement, especially for a city like Detroit which has such strong and positive cultural roots. Prioritizing arts and culture help a city prosper both socially and economically. The arts unify communities, elevate city and civic pride, improve and support healthy communities, and build social cohesion. They also help cities economically, promoting tourism and driving commerce to local businesses, having many people attend different arts and cultural events around the city, among many other benefits. Director Riley ends the video asking viewers to remember two main things- #detroitneverleft and Detroit: where arts are a way of life. I am excited to see the progress Rochelle Riley and the Department of Arts and Culture is making in Detroit and look forward to seeing, not only the artistic achievements that result from these efforts, but also seeing how investing in the arts and cultural programs will help a neighborhood and the city grow and thrive.