A residential and work community for artists is moving forward with a decision by the East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority to sign a contract with Artspace.
Artspace is a national nonprofit that helps facilitate artists' communities.
The EDDDA contract begins the next phase of the project: predevelopment services, the first of three phases which will take about two years to complete.
The first phase is to identify the location and size of the Artspace.
The EDDDA presented Artspace 24 potential project location sites throughout Dearborn and the two organizations have now narrowed them down to 10, says Melissa Kania, executive assistant of the EDDDA. Beyond that the funding, fundraising and architectural plans and other pre-construction plans must be made - all of it about three years away, Kania says.
ArtSpace is a Minneapolis nonprofit that assists communities in setting up spaces where artists and aspiring artists can live, work, sell and learn. It works with the city in going through the steps to see it through to fruition. About $350,0000 of the $750,000 needed for pre-development serves has been raised.
The project has received two grants; $150,000 from the Ford Foundation and another $150,000 from the Kresge Foundation.
The community interest is there, according to a series of surveys and studies that have been completed, and the funding through donations, grants and possibly loans is being lined up with several grant applications that have recently been submitted, including to the National Endowment for the Arts.
The project is being watched by other communities as it is the first of its kind in Michigan.
"Coupled with Dearborn’s intention to replenish and rejuvenate its downtowns through bringing housing and the arts and economic development objectives together and to bring affordable live/work space for artists," Kania says, "we’re confident we can achieve the necessary funding to complete this project," Kania says.
Source: Melissa Kania, executive assistant, East Dearborn Downtown Development Authority
Writer: Kim North Shine