LINC looks to new art gallery to attract patrons, enliven economy in Grand Rapids' Madison Square

A new art gallery in a once-vacant and dilapidated storefront could be a catalyst for generating new interest and economic growth in a Grand Rapids neighborhood that's experiencing an economic rebirth.
LINC Community Revitalization, a nonprofit responsible for the investment of tens of millions of redevelopment dollars in the Madison Square Neighborhood, will have a ribbon cutting event Thurs., June 13 at 341 Hall St. SE, the site of the new LINC Gallery at 341 Hall. The new gallery is a $400,000 rehabilitation of a foreclosed building that was once an auto detail shop.
"In many metropolitan areas, they're using art as an economic engine," says Jorge Gonzalez, LINC economic development director. "Heartside is a perfect example with Avenue for the Arts and ArtPrize. LINC Gallery at 341 Hall will bring people to Madison Square Neighborhood that wouldn't normally come here. They'll be checking out the restaurants and the neighborhood, and will help generate some income for the artists. Because people will start coming to this art gallery, we might be able to open up another restaurant or even another art gallery, which in turn creates more jobs."
The one-story building was gutted and rebuilt with new HVAC, lighting, earth tone-colored floors, a black ceiling, and curved walls to add visual interest for art displays. Glass garage doors open the front of the building to the street and the storefront windows overlook the busy neighborhood.
Gonzalez says the gallery will not have art displayed for the ribbon cutting so guests can see the renovation up close and artists can envision how they might use the space. He adds that LINC is working with several area artists to establish a rotating schedule of artists over the coming months.
The gallery will also be available as a community gathering space for meetings and events, and will host LINC's Community Spirit Awards immediately following the 11:30 a.m. ribbon cutting.
Source: Jorge Gonzalez, LINC Community Revitalization; Tyler Lecceadone, SeyferthPR
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor

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