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All this year, Michigan Radio’s Morning Edition host Christina Shockley has been asking people from across the state for their ideas on how to improve things in Michigan. Today, we hear from filmmaker Adrian Walker.
Mr. Walker begins by urging Michiganders to be proactive about their entrepreneurial ideas. He says that great things can happen when people begin to act upon their dreams and take the first steps towards making them a reality.
Walker uses his own path to becoming a filmmaker as an example. He says he started by recognizing his desire to be a filmmaker, and then realized he had to take action and make an independent film if he was ever going to fulfill his dream.
“The next thing you know, now we have our first feature film completed, and I didn’t come from film school,” says Walker, “So, even though the idea seemed very outlandish to almost everyone I talked to at the time, we’re a year and a half later now with a completed feature film that will be premiering here in Ann Arbor.” If everyone in Michigan took the same type of initiative, Walker says people would discover that they have skills they didn’t even know they had.
Walker’s second idea for Michigan is to support the arts. He believes that the arts will be a major part of Michigan’s resurgence, especially in southeast Michigan. He says, “A lot of people would say, ‘Well, you know what? That’s not sustainable. That’s not a huge industry. It’s not what we’re used to.’ But, when you look at any major city that’s thriving in this country and around the world, they have a very vibrant arts culture. And what that does is it allows people to dream and to really be inspired.”
Walker says that inspiration from a strong arts culture can affect many aspects of a community, including the creation of jobs and a lifting of spirits more generally. As an example of what an emphasis on the arts can do for a region, Walker points to western Michigan, saying, “You can tell they’ve started to do this and take it very seriously. And if you look at their progress over the last five to ten years, I would say that that is directly correlated to that arts culture and supporting the arts.”
For his final idea, Mr. Walker wants Michiganders to recognize the importance of community networking. “Sometimes it’s tough to make the effort to get to know people in your community,” says Walker. But, stressing the need for people to recognize their shared interests and activities, he adds, “When you’re looking at the economic situation in Michigan, that’s how businesses form, that’s how relationships form that can help drive things in the community… I think it’s a lot more crucial than a lot of people give it credit for.”
- By Eliot Johnson