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$50,000 goal to win matching grant through MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places initiative
LANSING, Mich. – The city of Grand Rapids will again host the public art initiative After Dark with the help of a new crowdfunding campaign, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and nonprofit Lions and Rabbits Center for the Arts (LRCFA) 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 June 28, 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/AD2022.
“Public arts initiatives are a clear driver of economic development in our communities. These kinds of creative adaptations for community engagement are paving the way for new kinds of placemaking,” said MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development Michele Wildman. “We are pleased to bring this program to life and provide resources for this effort through our Public Spaces Community Places program.”
Lions & Rabbits Center for the Arts (LRCFA) is raising funds for the most comprehensive After Dark program yet. For 2022, LRCFA will be completing 10 public art projects in Creston, South Division/Grandville, and the Westside. Each project involves a neighborhood activation as they bring in local artists, businesses, and community members to take part in the projects. In addition, the program will include five market space events and a block party. For the public art projects, funding will go toward making sure LRCFA is fully equipped to support each artist with high-quality materials and supplies, training, and professional development. The funds also supply the market spaces and block party events with live entertainment, activities for all ages, and live art installments.
After Dark gives local artists paid opportunities, brings awareness to a variety of local businesses, and engages community members with exciting events and impactful public art. Past block parties have included live music, food and drink, artist, business, and nonprofit vendors, and activities like a dunk tank and “mural Guess Who.” In this way LRCFA is able to meet artists and businesses where they are at, while driving the local economy and exposing the community to public art collaboration.
This is the fourth “After Dark” project Lions & Rabbits Center for the Arts has conducted around different Grand Rapids neighborhoods. The previous three all received support through MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places program.
“Living in a state that 100 percent believes in public placemaking gives artists a platform to showcase their contribution to their city, while creating clear pathways for economic development centered around the community,” said Hannah Berry, executive director of Lions and Rabbits Center for the Arts.
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
“The Michigan Municipal League is a firm believer in building community wealth in ways that build on existing assets and enhance the human experience for everyone,” said Michigan Municipal League CEO and Executive Director Dan Gilmartin. “The public art, market space events, and block party planned for the 2022 After Dark celebration in Grand Rapids do both. This effort will attract people and become a source of pride for years to come. That is what community wealth building is about.”
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 April 30, 2022, MEDC has provided more than $9.9 million in matching grants. Since the launch of the program, 310 projects have been successful in reaching their goal, with $11.5 million raised from 52,895 individual donors. Communities have a 97 percent success rate in achieving their goals and earning our matching funds.
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.
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