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Grand Rapids Cultural Marketing Group Receives National Award

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Congratulations to another Grand Rapids Award winner.  The Grand Rapids Cultural Marketing Group (CMG), consisting of members from area arts and cultural organizations, has received the Arts Destination Marketing Award 2012 from the Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) and Americans for the Arts for its role in the Culture Pass GR program. The award was presented to 2012 CMG board president Kerri VanderHoff at the annual National Arts Marketing Project Conference (NAMPC) in Charlotte, North Carolina on November 10, 2012. As a collaborative effort of more than 20 area arts and cultural institutions, the multi-faceted pass was launched by the Culture Marketing Group to innovatively promote awareness, membership, and tourism opportunities.

“The award is an excellent example of how the synergy between destination marketing organizations and arts organizations plays a key role in building awareness in the marketplace by weaving a community’s cultural heritage into the narrative,” said Kerri VanderHoff, CMG 2012 board president and director of marketing at Grand Rapids Art Museum. “Culture Pass GR has certainly helped establish Grand Rapids as a true arts destination and this national recognition is yet another step in CMG’s efforts to continue growing the program.”

The Cultural Marketing Group worked in partnership with Experience Grand Rapids to create Culture Pass GR, a year-round discount card that provides access to exclusive savings and special offers to over 20 partnering West Michigan arts and cultural organizations. The pass is free for members and subscribers of these organizations. It is also available to visitors and the local community for $10 annually, to help promote the area’s wide range of arts and cultural opportunities.

Experience Grand Rapids also supported the Culture Pass initiative by leveraging its relationships with area lodging partners to develop the “Get Cultured” hotel package concept, resulting in new collaborations between hotels and the Cultural Marketing Group. Participating hotels incorporated free Culture Passes into their signature “Get Cultured” packages, which offer hotel guests special rates and incentives.

“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized as the best in the industry. Such recognition is due in large part to our dedicated and passionate staff at Experience Grand Rapids and the role they played in uniting culture with tourism by facilitating new connections to develop a novel and collaborative program,” said Doug Small, president of Experience Grand Rapids.

Established by Destination Marketing Association International and Americans for the Arts, the award celebrates destination marketing organizations and partner cultural institutions that have effectively used the arts to market the community as a distinctive travel destination. Presented at the annual conventions, the honor emphasizes the importance of a strong relationship between a community’s convention and visitor’s bureau and its cultural-heritage and arts agencies. The DMAI event took place July 16-18 in Seattle, Washington, and the NAMPC event took place November 9-12 in Charlotte, North Carolina.

About the Cultural Marketing Group and the Culture Pass GR:
Since its inception in 2006, the Cultural Marketing Group has been bringing together Grand Rapids’ arts and entertainment marketing leaders in an effort to collaborate, and support marketing and public relations efforts. The group has representatives from more than 20 area non-profit arts and cultural organizations, and support organizations. Culture Pass GR is the region’s first technology-based arts and cultural discount pass. Through discounts and promotional offerings, the Culture Pass not only encourages members of the community to frequent the cultural and entertainment options in Grand Rapids, but also informs tourists of the diverse and plentiful reasons to stay and play in the City for a weekend or more.

Cultural Marketing Group members include:
Actors’ Theatre
Broadway Grand Rapids
Circle Theatre
DeVos Performance Hall
Downtown Alliance Grand Rapids
Experience Grand Rapids
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
Grand Rapids Art Museum
Grand Rapids Ballet Company
Grand Rapids Children’s Museum
Grand Rapids Civic Theatre
Grand Rapids Public Library
Grand Rapids Public Museum
Grand Rapids Symphony
Jewish Theatre Grand Rapids
John Ball Zoo
Kent District Library
Opera Grand Rapids
St. Cecilia Music Center
Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts
Van Andel Arena
WGVU Public Media

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