On the heels of its announcement confirming the relocation of its organizational headquarters from Wixom, Mich. to TechTown Detroit this week, CEO Jennifer Goulet of Creative Many Michigan
says the nonprofit is looking eagerly toward Grand Rapids in 2015 for a new satellite campus.
The organization, formerly ArtServe Michigan, is a statewide economic development organization "focused on the mission to develop creative people, creative places and the creative economy for a competitive Michigan," and although there are no formal plans set in motion to establish a Grand Rapids satellite campus, Goulet says it is a top priority for the organization's board of directors in 2015.
"First and foremost, the Grand Rapids region is one of the top leading communities in terms of the extent and presence of cultural institutions – individual artists as well as individuals and businesses in the creative and design industries," Goulet says. "The creative sector is alive and thriving in Grand Rapids, and in order for us to be really strategic about where we have a presence on the ground, it's an important thing to consider."
Though Creative Many doesn't have offices in Grand Rapids yet, Goulet says they have been getting to know the city's creative community through programmatic activities in past years, including professional practice seminars, summits and dialogue networking events through programs that include the new Lawyers for the Creative Economy Initiative, which provides pro-bono and low cost legal resources to artists and creative businesses.
“We've already been on the ground and excited about the prospect of having a physical presence in the Grand Rapids community,” she says, adding that she hopes to garner more support in the coming months from the existing creative community in Grand Rapids to help in making Creative Many Grand Rapids a reality.
Goulet says the organization sees Grand Rapids as second only to Detroit as being one of Michigan's key hubs for the arts, creative and design industries.
"We really have been focusing our work in the key hubs for the arts and for the creative and design industries statewide," she says. "Detroit clearly is one of those regions and Grand Rapids would have the second lead on that."
By Anya Zentmeyer, Development News Editor
Images Courtesy of Sarah Nesbitt
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