Crowdfunding campaign launched for the “CAN Art Wind Turbine Project” in Detroit

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

$25,000 goal to win matching grant through MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places initiative

LANSING, Mich. – Underused spaces within and around Eastern Market in Detroit will become activated with artful wind turbines through the help of a new crowdfunding campaign, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, CAN Art Handworks, and Eastern Market Corporation announced today. The campaign is being offered through Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $25,000 by March 10, 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:

“This project provides a unique intersection of public art and green energy,” said MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Katharine Czarnecki. “This will also create better use of spaces that aren’t active in the Eastern Market neighborhood. We are pleased to provide resources for and serve as a partner in this effort.” 

Led by CAN Art Handworks, the campaign will create groundbreaking new windmills that will generate energy for a device charging station and reuse stormwater to irrigate crops at the Detroit Market Garden at Eastern Market. This functional public art will help visitors of Eastern Market visualize the potential of upcycling and green energy production in Detroit. The project will engage Detroiters, students, urban gardeners and others in the fabrication and installation processes and inspire them to further innovate the windmills. 

The project will be a step toward CAN Art Handworks’ bigger vision of generating green energy in Detroit on a large scale using materials and people already within the city to design, build, and innovate green energy technology.

“The Public Spaces Community Places program will allow us to build on funding from a grant which we received from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as part of its Knight Arts Challenge, and to catalyze further funding. The program will move us a major step forward toward the completion and installation of our windmills at two locations in Detroit’s historic Eastern Market,” said Carlos Nielbock, president of CAN Art Handworks.

“We are pleased to blend Carlos Nielbock’s immensely creative approach to building beautiful small scale wind turbines by reusing existing materials in a widely-distributed manner that puts sustainable energy near the point of consumption,” said Eastern Market Corporation President Dan Carmody.

Public Spaces Community Places is a collaborative effort of the MEDC, the Michigan Municipal League, and Patronicity, in which 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, nonprofits and other business entities can apply at

“Inviting public art and thoughtful green energy practices are key components to vibrant communities,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and executive director of the Michigan Municipal League. “When you can combine those elements into attractive, educational and ecologically responsible wind turbines, that’s a nice bonus."

The Public Spaces Community Places initiative started in 2014 with MEDC providing matched funding of up to $50,000 for community improvement projects throughout Michigan. As of October 31, 2017, MEDC has provided $4,117,333 in matching grants. Since the launch of the program, 143 projects have been successful in reaching their goal, with nearly $5 million raised from 25,980 individual donors.

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.