reWorking Michigan: The Tourism Draw Of The Broad Art Museum

Oct 8, 2012

This week from reWorking Michigan, our Monday report looks at efforts to promote the new Broad Art Museum at MSU as a tourist destination. Gearing up for next month’s opening of the Broad Art Museum entails much more than the completion of construction and the mounting of artworks. Getting the word out about the design by world-famous architect Zaha Hadid has been a major focus.

Michael Rush is the founding director of the Broad. He says he’s been working with one of the leading museum public relations firms in the country, Resnicow-Schroeder, to be, in his words, “as visible around the world as possible.”

“They’ve been hooking us up with interviews in international magazines,” Rush explains, “and we’ve had visits from architecture writers. One from a German magazine was here just the other day. All the major art magazines are in touch with us.”

"We've had visits from architecture writers. All the major art magazines are in touch with us." Broad Art Museum founding director Michael Rush

Five Chinese newspapers have done stories, partly because the museum has hired a Chinese curator. The Broad has also bought ads in three major art publications: Art Forum, Art In America, and Frieze.


At the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau, the museum has been on their radar since the beginning, with lots of thought given to promoting it as a destination.

“We’ve reached out to lots of our travel writers and freelance writers out in the community to make sure that they’re aware of that,” says Vice President Tracy Padot, “and that they’re talking about it and getting it in their publications, in addition to including it in our visitor guide, which is an annual publication. So, it’s on our website; we’ve partnered with lots of other community entities, lots of different facets, lots of different avenues that we’re taking to talk about it.”

Julie Pingston is the Convention and Visitors Bureau’s senior Vice President. She says next month’s opening of the Broad Art Museum will get an extra push.

“We’ll have banners welcoming people that are coming in for the opening,” Pingston states. “We’ll have information in all the hotels that gives more details and more hands-on information, just a way that everyone knows that’s coming in for the festivities at the opening, that the community is very supportive and very behind the grand opening celebrations.”

To further take advantage of the museum’s debut, the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau will open a second visitor center across Grand River Avenue from the Broad. The idea is that museum visitors will stop in for recommendations of other local attractions to see.


The Prima Civitas Foundation is also getting into the act, using the new museum as an attraction with their new Spartan Line Initiative with AMTRAK.

Chief Program Officer Tremaine Phillips explains that they’ve reserved a train car from Chicago, decorated inside and out with MSU’s green and white colors, for Chicagoland alumni returning to East Lansing for the football game with Northwestern next month. The package includes a reception at the Broad.

“This is a great opportunity for them to promote the museum to the 25-plus thousand MSU alumni that are there in greater Chicago,” Phillips explains, “but it’s also just a great opportunity for these participants to come back to the East Lansing area and to see something that literally, physically, was not here when they were students.”

Prima Civitas has 68 spaces for the football game and the tour of the Broad Art Museum. It’s the weekend after the museum’s November 10th dedication.

Whether it’s to see the striking architecture of the Broad, or the art that will be displayed there, there’s a lot riding on the facility becoming a draw for visitors and conventions for years to come.

reWorking Michigan examines our evolving economy, as citizens of the Great Lake State explore new ways to make a living and build a future for their families. A project of WKAR NewsRoom, WKAR-TV and WKAR Online.