Crowdfunding campaign launched for “The Power of Words Project” UPlift Campaign in Upper Peninsula

Monday, May 13, 2019

$20,000 goal to win matching grant through MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places initiative

LANSING, Mich. –  The Northern Michigan Power of Words Project Mural Campaign will expand its UPlift campaign with three new projects in Manistique, Gladstone and Marquette through a new crowdfunding campaign. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Svelata Foundation and nonprofit Lake Effect Community Arts announced the campaign today. The campaign is being offered through the Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity.

If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $20,000 by June 12, 2019, 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:

“The Power of Words Project is a beautiful communal input process that results in custom public art for each community,” said MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Katharine Czarnecki. “We are pleased to provide resources for this effort through our Public Spaces Community Places program.”

Over the month of May all three communities – Manistique, Gladstone and Marquette – will be conducting online voting and physical voting in stores, clubs, offices, schools and more for community members’ “ONE WORD” that describes their future goals and aspirations. Once the words are chosen, Award-Winning Artist Mia Tavonatti, a native of Northern Michigan, will use these communally elected words as themes for each new public mural. After the murals are designed, Tavonatti will form teams of artists made up of professional, local and student artists who will work together to bring the public art to life.

“Having the support of MEDC's Public Spaces Community Places matching grant as we continue to expand the Upper Peninsula-wide UPlift mural campaign with the Power of Words Project means we can grow even faster and bring monumental public art to more communities,” said Mia Tavonatti, president and chief visionary officer of the Svelata Foundation. “These WORD-based murals are powerful seeds, that when planted in the heart of these communities, can grow into a unified vision for the region. MEDC was there in 2017 with our second mural ‘Community’ in Iron Mountain. Now, four murals later, we can reach our goal of adding three more this summer, bringing our ‘mural mantras’ into four counties. The Power of Words Project and the UP thank MEDC for seeing our potential and helping us plant these seeds."

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

“Murals are a great way to create attractive, desirable places within a community and this project involves creating murals for three different communities,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and executive director of the Michigan Municipal League. “We especially like the community involvement component of this work and are confident these murals will be a source of community pride for years to come.”

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 May 10, 2019, MEDC has provided $6,375,441 in matching grants. Since the launch of the program, 209 projects have been successful in reaching their goal, with more than $7.5 million raised from 39,161 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.