Debra "Deb" Polich has served as director of Artrain, Inc. an independent nonprofit arts organization since 1993 and in 2012, she added the responsibility of leading The Arts Alliance.

Artrain was founded by the Michigan Council for the Arts as its flagship program in 1971. Under Polich’s leadership, Artrain received the 2006 National Medal for Museum Service, our nation’s highest honor for museums. Originally a museum-on-a-train that used America’s rail system to deliver art exhibitions, Artrain today provides project management services to deliver arts and cultural outreach programs to people in villages, towns and cities through a variety of methods including mobile touring exhibitions and cultural education and engagement programs. 

The Arts Alliance advocates for and supports the arts and creative Industries in Washtenaw County, MI – art and creative individuals and businesses– to ensure that the region remains a great place to create, live, work, learn, play and visit. The Arts Alliance aids and partners with artists and creative businesses located within the county.

Polich earned her degree in arts administration with a minor in marketing and management from Eastern Michigan University (EMU). Polich serves/has served on the boards of numerous arts and community organizations. She serves on the boards of the Southeast Michigan Workforce, Creative Many Michigan, EMU’s College of Arts & Science Advancement Board, its Masters of Public Administration advisory and Nonprofit Leadership Alliance and on the marketing and Community Tourism Action Plan (CTAP) committees for the Washtenaw County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

From 1986-1993 Polich worked at the Michigan Theater, first as box office manager and then as managing director. She is married to Russ Collins, who's been executive director and CEO of the Michigan Theater since 1982. They live in Ann Arbor.

Polich earned bachelors and masters degrees from Eastern Michigan University in arts administration/marketing and nonprofit management.

In the news

Interview with Deb Polich – Michigan Business Network, June 4, 2014

Artrain's New Wheels – Ann Arbor Observer, January 2014

Guest Blogger: Debra Polich – Concentrate, Jan. 23, 2013

Artrain's Debra Polich named to lead Arts Alliance in Ann Arbor – Crain's Detroit Business, July 31, 2012

Art Stays On Track: Derailment doesn't stop Ann Arbor-based Artrain – Michigan Daily, Dec. 5, 2011