Kathleen Achtenberg, MEDC
Director- Lions and Rabbits
Director of Communications
Michigan Municipal League
734.669.6317; C: 810.874.1073
[email protected]; www.mml.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 28, 2020
Crowdfunding Campaign Launched for After Dark Grand Rapids, North & East
$44,000 goal to win matching grant through MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places initiative
LANSING, Mich. – Grand Rapids is undergoing a creative, first-of-its-kind, community-driven placemaking project through a new crowdfunding campaign, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, West Grand Neighborhood Organization, and nonprofit Lions and Rabbits announced today. The campaign is being offered through the Michigan-based crowdfunding platform Patronicity.
If the campaign reaches its crowdfunding goal of $44,000 by September 27, 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/afterdarkgr.
“These kinds of creative adaptations for community engagement in light of the pandemic 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.”
This campaign will create 35+ murals, created by zip-code-specific artists, that will be installed across five neighborhoods in Grand Rapids. It will also allow for the creation of a physical “GR Life” board game featuring influential Grand Rapidian leaders and historical landmarks that will be available to purchase and is family friendly.
There will be 50 interactive sites created at local businesses and landmarks – open to the community – through a digital version of the “GR Life” board game. Due to COVID-19 pandemic precautions, instead of having six one-day parties, the partners created a multi-month-long art walk and interactive board game that the community can easily and safely participate in – filled with free raffle prizes and ways to connect with and support the city.
“After Dark GR is created by the community, for the community, with the community. We are intentionally impacting the community for years to come through art and interactive play. This interactive arts programming creates equity for our local artists as we share this platform with each other,” said Hannah Berry, executive director of Lions and Rabbits “This is about taking pride in our neighborhoods as we showcase the abilities of the artists living, working and advocating among us.”
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.
“Placemaking is all about using existing assets to create spaces that attract people,” said Dan Gilmartin, CEO and Executive Director for the Michigan Municipal League. “Doing this during a pandemic is a challenge, but this mural project in Grand Rapids has come up with an amazingly innovative solution. We hope people support this effort because we know it can be a fun source of community pride that safety attracts and inspires 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.
Michigan Municipal League is dedicated to making Michigan’s communities better by thoughtfully innovating programs, energetically connecting ideas and people, actively serving members with resources and services, and passionately inspiring positive change for Michigan’s greatest centers of potential: its communities. The League advocates on behalf of its member communities in Lansing, Washington, D.C., and the courts; provides educational opportunities for elected and appointed municipal officials; and assists municipal leaders in administering services to their communities through League programs and services. Learn more at mml.org.