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State to help art center with crowd-funding

posted Sep 16, 2014, 2:30 PM by J Shaw   [ updated Sep 16, 2014, 2:31 PM ]
LANSING – A nonprofit art education group that mentors at-risk children is getting a boost from the state of Michigan as it goes public with a fundraising campaign.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp. said it will match every dollar raised in Reach Studio Art Center's crowdfunding campaign to finish the second phase of the center's expansion in the REO Town district.

It's the first Lansing-area project to be chosen for the Public Spaces Community Places initiative launched by MEDC in June. The program — a partnership with the Michigan Municipal League and the Patronicity crowdfunding platform — is designed to fill funding gaps in public space improve`ment projects.

Reach Studio kicked off its campaign last week and hopes to raise $48,000 by Oct. 16. It it reaches its goal, the MEDC will add its own $48,000 to the pot. As of Monday afternoon, the campaign had raised more than $19,000.

"Reach is a great asset to the Lansing area and we are excited to partner with them to extend their range of services and multiply the positive impact they have on the community," MEDC President and CEO Michael A. Finney said in a statement.

The 11-year-old nonprofit offers free or low-cost art programs for youths and adults and serves about 1,000 people a year at its main REO Town location, 1804 S. Washington Ave. It also has an art truck that serves patrons away from the main site.

The center last year used money from a Capital Region Community Foundation grant to buy the building it was leasing and several vacant, adjoining storefronts along South Washington Avenue. Long-term plans call for a community arts center, four studio classrooms, a youth art gallery, a media lab and a performance hall. The entire expansion will total nearly $1 million.

The first phase of the project included demolition and roofing work. The $160,000 cost was covered by private donations and money from the center's fund balance, said Alice Brinkman, Reach's executive director.

The current phase includes the youth art gallery and a courtyard for anything from outdoor movies to art classes to neighborhood gatherings. Grants from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the Power of We Consortium are covering all but $96,000 of the $226,000 cost.

That's where the crowdfunding campaign comes in.

The gallery and courtyard were designed to showcase a nearly century-old Pillsbury's Best flour advertising mural on the side of one of the buildings, Brinkman said. The mural was uncovered when one of the buildings was demolished.

"The crowdfunding campaign is to raise the rest of what we need for this current phase, but the project is actually much bigger," Brinkman said. "We're developing a whole new, bigger community art center that will widen our ability to provide art classes for Lansing and the region."

Reach is the third group to receive a grant through the Public Spaces Community Places initiative. Projects are chosen based on overall community impact and local financial commitment, among other criteria, a spokesman for MEDC said.

Grants are capped at $100,000.

The other two grants have gone to projects in Detroit and Marquette, the spokesman said. About $720,000 in funding is available through the end of this year, he said.

At a glance

Reach Studio Art Center, a nonprofit group that offers free and low-cost art programming to youths and adults, is trying to raise $48,000 for its expansion in the REO Town district through a crowdfunding campaign.

Under a new program, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. will match that sum if the center reaches its goal.

The Public Spaces Community Places initiative is a competitive grant program offered through the Patronicity crowdfunding platform. The money is set aside for public space improvements, including plaza and green space development, alley rehabilitation and projects such as farmer's markets, community kitchens and incubator space.

Posted from : http://www.lansingstatejournal.com/story/news/local/2014/09/15/state-help-art-center-crowd-funding-campaign/15683205/