Recently, Kalamazoo and Portage were acknowledged for having very art-vibrant communities.
In fact, according to the National Center for Arts Research, SMU DataArts, both cities made the nation’s top 40 Most Arts-Vibrant Communities of 2022. The vibrancy is measured by the Arts Vibrancy Index which takes into account how arts and cultural organizations are tied to their communities. Read more here.
With that in mind, here are a few places where you can celebrate the arts in Kalamazoo, Portage, AND Battle Creek (because I feel like we sometimes exclude Battle Creek for no good reason).
1. Kalamazoo State Theatre
Whether it's a comedy show or live music, you'll find a number of incredible acts at the Kalamazoo State Theatre in downtown Kalamazoo. If you've never visited the theater...it's a must. Even just looking at the interior design, which was created in 1927 to resemble a Spanish garden, will leave you mesmerized. Learn more about the theater and upcoming shows here.
2. Portage Center for the Arts
Established in 1986, the Portage Center for the Arts hosts performances from community choirs, theater workshops, art galleries, and beyond. And, they have performances for everyone. For example. between now and April (2023) they have concerts from an American pianist, a swing and blues band, a country and Americana band, and a bluegrass band. Find their full calendar and buy your tickets here.
3. What A Do Theater Company
What A Do Theater Company, in Battle Creek, is committed to enhancing the area's cultural life, according to its website. They also offer a multi-age theater program to help train future artists. While their website does not yet include a schedule for the upcoming year, you can learn more about their mission on their website. Or, follow their Facebook page for future updates.
Those are just a few of the theaters in our area. There are also art galleries, a Glass Art Studio, and, once it gets a little warmer, things like Art Hop and Art on the Mall will return to downtown Kalamazoo. It's a chance to get a close look or even purchase art created and crafted by locals. Learn more here.
Not to mention Color the Creek in Battle Creek, an annual mural and street art festival where locals can display their chalk art skills:
And, if you keep a sharp eye while driving around Kalamazoo, you'll spot numerous murals throughout the town. There's even a "wall crawl" where you can follow a route to see them all. Here are just a few:
Murals from Kalamazoo's Wall Crawl
It seems that we are, indeed, rich in the arts in our area. If you're rich with money, though, you can buy your very own mural-heavy home in Indiana: