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  • Writer's pictureKurt J. Kolka

AuSable Artisan's Village expanding

Updated: May 2, 2020

by Kurt J. Kolka / Winter 2017

The AuSable Artisans Village, working on making some big changes to the local artists’ storefront in downtown Grayling, according to Director Terry L. Dickinson.

Making use of the large empty basement space in their building, Dickinson and the AuSable Artisans intend to reach out Grayling and surrounding communities through the additions of two new art-related spaces.

Their first goal is to create the Creativity Center. This center would be a place where local artists, day care centers, after-school art groups and other creative individuals can engage experiences and instruction in art, music and theater.

“The center will be a place of endless possibilities when it comes to the arts,” said Dickinson.

The second part of their vision, utilizing the other half of the basement, is to create what he calls an Art Business Incubation Center.

“What we would do there is put in equipment that the normal, emerging artist can’t afford. We’d install some kilns, we’d have some pottery wheels, sit screening, maybe a laser engraver, wood burning. There’s just a whole lot of applications. Artists could go and rent this equipment for a couple hours for whatever production they’re working on.

“I wouldn’t be surprised that within five years of getting this going that we wouldn’t have at least a half dozen home studios dotted around the center of town.”

Dickinson said these two areas would be done in phases, with the Creativity Center being the first completed.

“If we can get fully operational, I think we could have an even bigger impact on the economics of this community.”

To get the Creativity Center up and running the Artisan Village is partnering with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) through their Public Spaces Community Places program to reach their financial goal.

The Artisan Village must raise $25,000 locally in order to win a matching grant from MEDC and MSHDA. The artists group is also asking for a $25,000 grant from Consumers Energy, for a total of $75,000.

“The Public Spaces Community Places program is pleased to resource on a piece of this community-centered development,” said MEDC Community Development Director Katherine Czarnecki. “Creative centers, like the Artisan Village, build the architects, city planners and entrepreneurs of the future.”

The Artisan Village is already working on a summer enrichment program for kids and a student jazz group is being developed.

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