12 Grants Announced to Bring Michigan Communities Together Through Art & Culture

Photo via Shutterstock

By Maddison Hill

August 4, 2023


MICHIGAN — Young people in Marcellus will soon ask their village elders to “remember when,” as part of a unique community-building multimedia experience. 

A vacant lot in Detroit will transform into a botanical garden, inviting both people and pollinators to enjoy its flora.

An “art cart” in Vicksburg will travel the town, connecting artists with residents, businesses, and visitors.

Even a crosswalk in Muskegon will be transformed into a traffic-slowing art installation that celebrates the community’s diversity.

These and eight other projects throughout the state are part of an effort to help Michiganders connect with their communities. 

The projects were recently announced as recipients of the 2023 Bridge Builders Microgrants program, funded through grants from the Michigan Municipal League Foundation.

The Bridge Builders Microgrants program provides one-time grants to Michigan Municipal League member communities to help support creative projects. The purpose of these creative projects is to bring neighbors, artists, business owners, and municipal leaders together.

“Michigan is full of exceptional people who intentionally and creatively bring people together across divides to celebrate our shared humanity and the places that we call home. This program brings community leaders, business owners, neighborhood residents, and municipal leaders together to collaborate on thoughtful, creative projects,” said MML Foundation President Helen Davis Johnson.

This year’s program includes two funding categories, Bridge Builders Main Street Microgrants and Bridge Builders Neighborhood Microgrants. Main Street Microgrants can receive one-time grants of up to $5,000 for projects. While Neighborhood Microgrants can receive up to $1,000. 

Statewide juries selected the projects earlier this summer based on community engagement in an online vote.

This year’s community projects include:

  • A Night at the Coloring Museum, Detroit—A temporary art installation inviting community members to color transitional wall murals.
  • Cornerstone Village Botanical Garden, Detroit—Transformation of a vacant lot into a botanical garden to benefit people and pollinators.  
  • Growing Food. Growing Fun. Growing Fellowship., Holland—A project to revamp individual gardening plots into a community gathering space.  
  • I Remember When, Marcellus—A multimedia project in which community youth will interview community elders. Interviews and photographs will be displayed during a First Friday event.
  • Lansing Eastside Crosswalk Painting, Lansing—Crosswalk art installations to beautify the neighborhood and calm traffic.  
  • The Growth of Corn(hole) in Our Park, North Adams—A permanent cornhole game installation in the local park, with decoration provided by the community’s kindergarten and senior high school classes.  
  • This is Us, Muskegon—A mural installation on fencing at McLaughlin Community Park.
  • Washington Avenue Art Crawl (WAAC), Kalamazoo—A free, walkable, welcoming exhibition featuring local artists and a collaborative art project.

This year’s main street projects include: 

  • Art Has Power, Rogers City—A poetry festival and art walk to activate downtown Rogers City and highlight business opportunities.
  • ARTS in the BURG, Vicksburg—A reoccurring summer festival that brings together residents, artists, and businesses to celebrate Vicksburg. Also included is the community’s first “art cart,” a transportable art station.
  • The Lakeside Crosswalk Art Project, Muskegon—A crosswalk art installation that celebrates the diversity of Muskegon and its Lakeside district while calming traffic.
  • Welcome to Bessemer—Our Past Creates Our Future, Bessemer—A mural installation to commemorate Bessemer’s history and ethnicities.


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