Crowdfunding campaign launched for the ‘Downtown Sault Ste. Marie Mural Project’

Monday, June 13, 2016

$16,000 goal to win matching grant through MEDC and MSHDA’s Public Spaces Community Places initiative

Lansing, Mich. –Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan’s oldest city, will soon feature four large murals in unique locations around the downtown area with the help of a new crowdfunding campaign, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Michigan State Housing Development Authority and City of Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Development Authority announced today. The campaign is being offered through Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity. 

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $16,000 by July 15, the project will win a matching grant with funds made possible by MSHDA and MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places program. For project details and to donate, please visit:

“We are pleased to partner with the City of Sault Ste. Marie’s Downtown Development Authority and the entire community to help bring these beautiful murals to life and add to the vibrancy of downtown Sault Ste. Marie,” 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 city already has a rich, diverse arts culture, and this dynamic artwork will only serve to showcase that further,” said MSHDA Executive Director Kevin Elsenheimer. “We see these pieces engaging the community in a new way with the added benefit that visitors will be able to experience them, too.”

All murals will be completed by local artists. Each mural is strategically placed to add vibrancy to key locations. The first location will be the wall of Pingatore Cleaners, located near the historic Little Italy neighborhood, along a stretch of Ashmun Street that has long struggled to claim its own unique identity. This mural will create a visual connection for those in the area, offering a sense of place. Locations two and three will be on the east wall of Island Books & Crafts and the east wall of the Alpha Bar, continuing to build on a growing “critical mass” of energy on the corner of Ashmun Street and Portage Avenue. These murals will also build on the success of the Farmer's Market across the street, and offer a finishing touch to the exciting facade restorations happening in the vicinity as well. The fourth location will be on the west wall of 1668 Winery & Lockside Brewery and will serve a special purpose: to draw the hundreds of thousands of tourists eastward from the Soo Locks, giving them a visual reference point to walk toward, encouraging further discovery of downtown Sault Ste. Marie. 

Downtown Development Authority director Justin Knepper said he was pleased to see public art come to life in downtown Sault Ste. Marie. “We’re Michigan’s oldest city, and getting ready to celebrate our 350th anniversary in 2018. Not only will these murals strengthen the sense of place for our residents and visitors alike, but they also serve as a point of community pride as we prepare for our upcoming anniversary,” Knepper said.

Public Spaces Community Places is a collaborative effort of the MEDC, MSHDA, 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

“The Michigan Municipal League has identified eight placemaking assets that help make communities vibrant and one of those assets is embracing arts and culture. This mural effort in Sault Ste. Marie definitely fits that concept,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and executive director for the League. “We hope Sault Ste. Marie supporters also embrace this crowdfunding and mural initiative so that that it can become a point of pride for years to come.”

Pure Michigan is a brand representing business, talent and tourism initiatives across Michigan. These efforts are driven by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which serves as the state’s marketing arm and lead advocate for business growth, jobs and opportunity with a focus on helping grow Michigan’s economy.

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.