Crowdfunding campaign launched for “Muskegon Rails Project”

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

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

LANSING, Mich. – Muskegon, Muskegon Heights and Norton Shores will soon enjoy a series of murals on two railroad overpass bridges along Seaway Drive through a new crowdfunding campaign, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and city of Muskegon 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 February 20, 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:

Artist’s rendering, “Calm and Quiet,” courtesy of Jimmy Cobb

“Public art has the ability to beautify long-neglected spaces like these railroad overpasses and create a welcoming experience for passersby,” said MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Michele Wildman. “We are pleased to bring this space to life and provide resources for this effort through our Public Spaces Community Places program.”

Artist’s rendering, “Flora and Fauna,” courtesy of Ed Irmen

The Muskegon Rails Project consists of four large-scale murals on two CSX railroad bridges spanning Seaway Drive/Business 31 between Laketon Avenue and Hackley Avenue and between Sherman Boulevard and Broadway Avenue. The bridges themselves are located in the cities of Muskegon, Muskegon Heights, and Norton Shores. The Muskegon Rails Project is a partnership between all three cities, the Muskegon City Public Art Initiative, the Community Foundation for Muskegon County, the Howmet Aerospace Foundation, and the MEDC.

Artist’s rendering, “Pride and Opportunity,” courtesy of Ashley Nash


Four artists, including three locals, are ready to leave their mark with what is sure to be some of Muskegon county’s most visible public art. Each of the murals below will be painted in the spring of 2021.

“The cities of Muskegon, Muskegon Heights, and Norton Shores are excited to come together with the MEDC and its Public Spaces Community Places program to help produce four new murals with the Muskegon Rails Project,” said Frank Peterson, city manager of Muskegon. “The MEDC’s support for the value of placemaking in Michigan reflects those which have led to the growing public art collection in the Muskegon community. The creative repurposing of these bridges – what many consider longtime eyesores in each of these cities – is another step toward creating a more beautiful and vibrant community.”

Artist’s rendering, “Happy,” courtesy of Dan Parker

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

“Accentuating a community’s arts and culture is key to great placemaking,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and executive director of the Michigan Municipal League. “These murals will engage local artists in revitalizing an unattractive space with art that tells the story of the community.”

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 Nov. 30, 2020, MEDC has provided more than $8 million in matching grants. Since the launch of the program, 256 projects have been successful in reaching their goal, with $9.3 million raised from 46,045 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.