Crowdfunding campaign launched to complete Make a Splash for Art mural project in downtown Alpena

Nate Pilon, MEDC

Thursday, September 17, 2015

$12,500 goal to win matching grant through MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places initiative

Lansing, Mich. – The Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Art in the Loft today announced a new crowdfunding campaign through Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity. The campaign will support the completion of the Make a Splash for Art community mural project in downtown Alpena.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $12,500 by Oct. 17, the project will win a matching grant with funds made possible by MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places program. For project details and to donate, please visit:!/.

“We are pleased to partner with Art in the Loft and the entire community to help bring this beautiful mural to life and add to the vibrancy of downtown Alpena,” said MEDC Community Development Director Katharine Czarnecki. “Crowdfunding is an innovative way for residents, businesses, and other stakeholders to generate excitement, pool resources, and fill funding gaps to activate great public spaces and community places.”

The Make a Splash for Art community mural project is coordinated by Art in the Loft under the direction of professional Michigan mural artist Tony Hendrick. The mural's theme echoes Alpena’s branding and place making initiative as The Sanctuary of the Great Lakes -- a haven from the storms of life and a culturally rich, creative place to live and visit.

The goal of the project is to provide a high-quality public arts project that will capture the viewer’s imagination, inspire creativity, and foster collaboration among individuals of all ages.

The mural will feature an aquascape depicting a shipwreck, divers, and aquatic life below the water. The mural will also include 13 super-size, colorful, and whimsical 3-D fish designed and painted by community members during five collaborative workshops led by Mr. Hendrick over the past year.

The 1815-square-foot mural will be installed on 30-foot-by-60-foot blank wall abutting the pocket park on the side of the Owl Café in downtown Alpena. The park is a popular public space for visitors to enjoy the evening farmers market and other downtown activities.

“Art in the Loft is starting its 15th year this fall, and we have been able to sustain this success through our dedicated community and their support,” said Gallery Coordinator, Justin Christensen-Cooper. “This has been shown in regards to this mural project from the DDA, Community Foundation of Northeast Michigan, Michigan Humanities Council and the MEDC to the children and adults that had their fish designs selected and turned into large-scale three-dimensional fish sculptures. This project is made for our community by our community and I could not think of a better way to celebrate our city!”

The project, launched in 2012, is now in its final phase. Money raised through the crowdfunding campaign and the MEDC matching grant will be used to commission Mr. Hendrick to complete the painting and installation of the mural on aluminum composite panels which will be affixed to the building wall. The mural study on canvas has already been completed and donated by the artist. The study will be translated onto the large-scale mural. The fish will then be attached to the panels to complete the final work of public art which will be a composite of painting and sculpture.

Art in the Loft seeks to complete the installation by the end of September 2015 so it can be unveiled in October as part of a regional arts festival entitled “Great Lakes Discovery Tour".

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 strategic projects in their communities and be backed with a matching grant from MEDC. Communities, non-profits and other business entities can apply at

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