The Spartan Podcast

brandosp.jpg Hear the Conversation 24:27 – 10.6 mb mp3

Mike Brand is executive director of MSU’s acclaimed Wharton Center for the Performing Arts. He tells Bill Beekman and Mark Hollis about many of the exciting shows on tap for Wharton Center’s 2105/2016 season.

And he says that booking a big Broadway show is a lot like a coach out recruiting players. “We’re always out watching and looking at content,” says Brand. “It’s a life. You don’t go out looking for a good show; you live the lifestyle.”

Brand talks about how Wharton Center takes provocative work around the state to contribute to the cultural evolution of Michigan.

“We’re always trying to really connect with audiences outside of buying tickets,” says Brand. “We’re getting a lot of our teaching artists out into the community to really stimulate conversation and an interest in what we’re doing outside of coming to see the big stars in the big productions.”

The MSUFCU Institute for Arts and Creativity “integrates creativity and the arts into classroom curricula to help create discussion through the performing arts,” Brand says.

Wharton Center is integrated into the fabric of our community in an extraordinary way,” adds Beekman. “It creates a culture vibe in the mid-Michigan community that lifts the spirits of the entire community.”

Brand says his finest moments at Wharton Center come from the looks in students’ eyes when they get to mingle and learn from the artists in town to perform.

“I attribute – more so than athletics – my experiences in the arts in helping me gain the confidence and presence to do the job that I do today,” confides Hollis. “The confidence it can instill in young boys and girls today is remarkable.”

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