New crowdfunding campaign to link theater to community gardens in Detroit

Nate Pilon

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

$5,000 crowdfunding raise to win MEDC matching grant

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Detroit-based theater company A Host of People today announced the launch of a new crowdfunding campaign to fund a site-specific, innovative dramatic theater piece set in the city’s community gardens. The crowdfunding campaign through Patronicity is part of MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places initiative. 

“Michigan is a beacon in the placemaking movement,” said MEDC Community Development Director Katharine Czarnecki. “Thanks to forward-thinking municipalities, businesses, and groups like A Host of People, we are discovering new and innovative ways to activate public spaces in communities across our state.” 

A Host of People’s “The Harrowing” draws comparisons between gardening and art-making. It was conceived in response to the vibrant community garden and urban farming movement in the city. The dramatic piece received a $20,000 award from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of its Knight Arts Challenge in Detroit. 

Performances are planned in 10 different community gardens starting in August 2015 and running through September 2016. 

A Host of People aims to attract audiences unfamiliar with a community garden, and seldom attend theater or art events. The performance will be free and “community specific” and inspire neighborhood events and celebrations. Overall, organizers hope the dramatic presentation can be modified to fit spaces and issues in community gardens outside of Detroit. 

"We are thrilled to continue building our newest show, The Harrowing, and to partner with MEDC and Patronicity,” said A Host of People co-Director Jake Hooker. “We are excited to explore the commonalities between two groups of makers -- artists and gardeners; those who don't sit still but strive to create what communities need for nourishment, whether food or art."

Money raised through the crowdfunding campaign and matching grant will cover costs like artist fees, set and garden supplies, sound equipment, costumes, transportation, and hospitality for a community party after every performance. 

If A Host of People attains its crowdfunding goal of $5,000 by January 1, MEDC will provide a $5000 matching grant. To donate, please go to:

Public Spaces Community Places is a collaborative effort of the MEDC, the Michigan Municipal League, and Patronicity where local residents can use crowdfunding to be part of the development of transformational projects in their communities and be backed with a matching grant from MEDC. Communities, non-profits and other business entities can apply at 

About Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC)

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business development, job awareness and community development with the focus on growing Michigan’s economy. For more information on the MEDC and our initiatives, visit For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.