Crowdfunding campaign launched for Eastend’s Wagner Ballroom in Marshall

Monday, November 2, 2020

$50,000 goal to win matching grant through MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places initiative


LANSING, Mich. – The Wagner Ballroom in downtown Marshall will soon be completed and made fully accessible through a new crowdfunding campaign, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Eastend Studio and Gallery 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 November 30, 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 Wagner Ballroom project will restore a well-known historical landmark in downtown Marshall into an accessible public gathering space for all to enjoy,” said MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Michele Wildman. “We are pleased to support and provide resources for this effort through our Public Spaces Community Places program.”

The third floor of the Wagner Ballroom has been designed by local artist Michael Peck who has a long history of decorative painting in the Grand Hotel, the Breakers in Palm Beach, and the Plaza in New York City to name a few. Local nonprofit Eastend Studio and Gallery has raised almost $700,000 over the past eight years and is only $100,000 away from its final goal to be completed by this campaign.

With the funds raised through this campaign, Eastend can complete the handicap accessible elevator to the second and third floors, new stairwells, decorative painting in the grand stairwell, foyer and ballroom (all designed and painted by Marshall talent), a catering room, attic insulation, and more. The ballroom will be a community event space that will attract tourists from all over and provide a unique space for local residents. The Wagner Ballroom will be open to the public at no cost during business hours for private tours, meetings, gatherings – all while being able to enjoy the majesty of this historic, one-of-a-kind room with a gorgeous view of Marshall’s downtown strip.

"Eastend is so grateful for the Public Spaces Community Places grant program. Because of this program, we will be able to complete our historic building's renovation and the installation of an elevator,” said Jennifer Conley Darling, Executive Director of Eastend Studio and Gallery. “Becoming ADA compliant will allow our community and its visitors to enjoy the splendor of our building, leading to the third floor Wagner Ballroom which will now be active for the first time since 1910.”

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

“Creating inviting public gathering places is key to great placemaking,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and executive director of the Michigan Municipal League. “This project has the added benefit of revitalizing a unique historic structure in the heart of downtown.”

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 Oct. 31, 2020, MEDC has provided nearly $7.9 million in matching grants. Since the launch of the program, 255 projects have been successful in reaching their goal, with $9.2 million raised from 45,392 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.