A simple question about the proposed closing of the Ypsi Area Convention and Visitors Bureau

I’ve got a question for this Saturday morning… If the Ypsilanti Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (YACVB) were to be shut down, and all of their funds were to be handed over to the folks at the Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (AAACVB), like many in Ann Arbor are conspiring to make happen, do you think the AAACVB would hire local Ypsi artists to create things like this?


[The above billboard was commissioned by the YACVB and created by Ypsilanti’s very talented Caleb Elijah-Molejo Zweifler… perhaps better known to some of you as Nightman.]

This entry was posted in Ann Arbor, Art and Culture, Uncategorized, Ypsilanti and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Andrew Clock
    Posted July 18, 2015 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    No, they wouldn’t. In fact, all communities in Washtenaw County that don’t have the initials “A.A.” will loose out if this merger goes through. Just a cursory browsing of event marketing and sponsorship in the area will bear that out. Any county commissioner who says they can’t see the evidence of that isn’t paying attention or is lying.

    If it hasn’t been done yet, someone running the support campaign for the YCVB should solicit letters of support from all of the events in Chelsea, Milan, Saline and beyond that have been marketed, promoted, and financially assisted by VisitYpsi. I believe a side by side comparison of sponsorship of out county events between the two CVBs would tell the tale very well.

  2. Kat
    Posted July 18, 2015 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Two votes no.

  3. Dave Heikkinen
    Posted July 18, 2015 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Three votes no!

  4. Eel
    Posted July 18, 2015 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    I think you’re asking the wrong question. You should ask how many Ypsi artists they’ll promise to employ until such time that the money is in their bank account. I’m sure, if you ask them now, they’ll tell you that their plan is to do more for Ypsi. They’ll say that they want to keep an Ypsi office and hire more local people. They’ll say that it will be better for everyone. Cutting down on redundancies, they’ll say, will mean more money for hiring local artists and doing creative things. That’s not what will happen, but it’s what they’d say if asked.

  5. Conan Smith
    Posted July 18, 2015 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    An equally interesting question is what the return on investment is for a project like this in terms of growing the prosperity of the city. The accommodations tax revenues are one of our only export taxes — a key way we draw money from outsiders into our community. The fund are intended to support increases in tourism, which in turn deliver dollars into the local economy. This mural is awesome. That the CVB choose to support a local artist is heartwarming. That we don’t have a strategy for using these millions of dollars each year to more systemically improve the health of your city should be intensely distressing. It is a sad commentary on this policy discussion that leaders in Ypsi have made having “their own” CVB the centerpiece of the debate rather than asking how these funds might best serve to strengthen the community. Sigh.

  6. Anonymous
    Posted July 19, 2015 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    “An equally interesting question is what the return on investment is for a project like this in terms of growing the prosperity of the city.”

    Ypsilanti is an arts community, Mr. Smith. As such, I think this was an incredibly good investment. For a relatively small amount of money, the Ypsi Bureau has creatively articulated that this is a community that supports artists and believes in the arts. This, by the way, is why your artists are leaving you in droves.

  7. Kjc
    Posted July 19, 2015 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    We hear you Conan. Art is quaint, as is local decision making. Let the grown ups show us how the real world works. (You’ve gotta tweak your passive aggression to sound less soulless.)

  8. Kim
    Posted July 19, 2015 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I liked Conan until I started reading his comments on this site.

  9. Conan Smith
    Posted July 19, 2015 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    I suppose it’s easy to read my post as denigrating the arts. That is not my intention. I believe the arts are a powerful driver in our regional economy. They can and should be part of our strategy for east side prosperity. I have been trying to focus people’s attention on the fact that we spend +$5M on destination marketing — at least a million of that intended for the Ypsi area — and we’re not moving the needle on the indicators of community prosperity that prove that we are making life better for east side residents. These are not feel-good dollars, and the more people treat them as funds to simply celebrate ourselves to ourselves, the more we sentence a struggling community like Ypsi to continued obsolescence. Yeah, that’s harsh, but look at the performance metrics for the east side and dare to tell me we’re winning. Graduation rates are low, incomes are low, property values are low, employment is low, job creation is low, and on and on. A million dollars a year should be a part of a more comprehensive and intentional strategy to create wealth and prosperity in these communities that need it so badly. When I complain about Mark celebrating the mural, it is not because it isn’t a fine work of art or even a useful tool to help build Ypsi’s sense of place. It is wonderful…and it *should* have been supported as an element in a bigger strategy with clearer metrics for success that we are all attending to more frequently than at each successive crisis. Saving “your” CVB is — as I’ve said before — simply the wrong issue. Demanding that this enormous investment in your community perform better is the thing we should all be focused on.

  10. Jcp2
    Posted July 19, 2015 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

    If the goal is to increase prosperity of the area, maybe the money should be put towards improving the school system.

  11. EOS
    Posted July 19, 2015 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    What ever happened to the Dos Hermanos mural?

  12. Posted July 19, 2015 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    A million dollars seems like a lot of money. Maybe it isn’t.

    How much does a mural cost? Why is a CVB necessary to murals?

  13. The Who
    Posted July 20, 2015 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Conan, Isn’t this a conflict of interest for you since you work for Sean Duval at the Ann Arbor Chamber and Sean is one of the biggest pushers of this proposal to merge? As a County Commissioner you make very little money. Your real job is with the Ann Arbor Chamber and Sean is your boss there. I see a big conflict of interest.

  14. Posted July 20, 2015 at 9:40 pm | Permalink


  15. Brainless
    Posted July 21, 2015 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry, this entire conversation ended when Conan said “move the needle”. You, sir, have no soul.

  16. Frosted Flakes
    Posted July 21, 2015 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    He may or may not have a conflict of interest but the main idea he puts forth seems pretty uncontroversial to me. Are there ways to gauge the return on investment? Are there ways to improve the return on investment?

    Someone brings up the concept of investing responsibly and he is subtly accused of corruption?

  17. Conan Smith
    Posted July 21, 2015 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    I work for a metro Detroit nonprofit to which Sean Duval has no connection. Nor do I have any connection to the Chamber. I’m not an employee, contractor, member or volunteer.

    For the record, Sean is a volunteer board member at the Chamber and the AAACVB. He also is a county appointee to the Workforce Development Board. Sean is the CEO of Milan-based Golden Limousines. In my experience, he is a sensitive, intelligent and aggressive leader — as you might expect from any community activist. He has always, in my observation, been up front about his opinions, which aggravates some but is far better than being someone who sways in the wind. Sean and I do not see eye to eye on the CVB issue, but I respect his knowledge and voice. I encourage folk not to denigrate him without first getting to know the man behind the media quotes. I think you’ll find him respectful and passionate about improving the quality of life in the Ypsi area. He’s one of the best people I’ve ever disagreed with because of how he approaches differences. I think he’s a rare leader in Washtenaw, and one worth listening carefully to.

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  1. […] members of the Board of Commissioners were present at the meeting referenced by Ping. They were, Conan Smith, Andy LaBarre, Felicia Brabec and Ronnie Peterson. These four told Locke-Daniel and members of the […]

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