Creative Expression: Why the Arts Matter in Times of Crisis

Event Date: 10/29/2020
Time: 7 PM
Online; hosted by The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College
South Haven, MI 49090
Contact: 269-927-8700, option 1

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, 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.

150 years
South Haven/Van Buren County Convention and Visitors Bureau
546 Phoenix Street
South Haven, MI 49090
Phone: 269 637-5252