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$50,000 goal to win matching grant through MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places initiative
LANSING, Mich. – Southwest Detroit will soon gain La Esquina, a mini market and arts enclave that will feature a multi-purpose greenspace, garden, and performance space, through a new crowdfunding campaign, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and local nonprofit We are Culture Creators announced today. The campaign is being offered through the Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity.
If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $50,000 by September 29, 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: patronicity.com/laesquina.
“Public placemaking led by an engaged community of creative people results in well-loved places for all to enjoy,” said MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Michele Wildman. “We are pleased to bring the La Esquina project to life and provide resources for this effort through our Public Spaces Community Places program.”
Through this campaign the nonprofit We are Culture Creators will activate two vacant corner lots, transforming them into a space for communal gathering and localized economy. We are Culture Creators is a local nonprofit in Detroit that provides high-quality arts/entrepreneurship education for young men of color in the city of Detroit, building on foundations of family, inclusion, safety, access and love.
Currently, their cultural house/nonprofit headquarters is adjacent to the two empty lots that have gone unused for the last 20 years. La Esquina will transform the vacant space into a vibrant corner that will host farmers and artisans markets, provide an outdoor event space, house a permanent performance stage, create an outdoor kitchen with both water and electrical hookups. In addition, the side of the cultural house that faces the lots will gain a culturally relevant mural dedicated to the famed Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
“Outdoor community space for Black and Latinx voices is vital during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Reyes, creator of We Are Culture Creators. “The MEDC Public Spaces Community Places Program will allow us to create a place and space that will bring commerce, art, culture and community together in a safe and accessible way.”
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 https://patronicity.com/puremichigan.
“Having vibrant outdoor spaces that this project seeks to do is in high demand right now during the coronavirus pandemic,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and Executive Director for the Michigan Municipal League. “With the support of this crowdfunding effort, this mini market will become a source of community pride and an outstanding gathering space for people 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 Aug. 24, MEDC has provided more than $7.6 million in matching grants. Since the launch of the program, 248 projects have been successful in reaching their goal, with $8.9 million raised from 44,716 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 www.MichiganBusiness.org. For Pure Michigan® tourism information, your trip begins at www.michigan.org. Join the conversation on: Facebook Instagram LinkedIn, and Twitter.