CONFIRMED: NO FEST OF ARTS IN '09

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The Detroit Festival of the Arts is definitely cancelled for 2009, but it will be back the following year in "one form or another."

That's the word from Sue Mosey, president of Midtown's University Cultural Center Association, who spoke to Metro Times on Tuesday. Last spring marked the 22nd festival that UCCA had put on in the cultural center.

Mosey said construction of the Midtown Loop Greenway — the current priority for the UCCA — will make a large part of the festival site unusable. The $8 million initiative to create a two-mile greenway through the neighborhood begins in the spring and will take the entire construction season to complete. It is part of a larger greenway project that will extend from New Center to the riverfront.

And then there's the money problem. Without a title sponsor, Mosey said funding the festival's budget has been a major struggle. She said that while DaimlerChrysler has remained a major sponsor, Macy's significantly reduced its contributions this year and no major corporate sponsor has put its name on the event since the loss of Target.

And while last summer's festival was not financially successful— with terrible weather and the 12th hour cancellation of headliner Miriam Makeba — Mosey said that the decision to put the festival on hold would have happened regardless.

In the meantime, the UCCA is going to take a close look at the festival and see what changes need to be made. It'll probably be retooled and the format might be altered — it might even be called something other than "the Detroit Festival of the Arts" — Mosey said. But she promises that the UCCA is committed to putting on some sort of arts and culture event in Midtown in 2010. —Megan O'Neil

Even those speaking a foreign language will be disappointed this year...

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