Next steps for Mt. Clemens Artspace development include finding financing and site selection

Results from the City of Mount Clemens Arts Market Study are in.

It was back in April 2019 when a feasibility study was first issued for a potential Artspace development in downtown Mt. Clemens and now the second phase of assessment has been completed.

Artspace is a Minneapolis-based non-profit organization that creates affordable live-work spaces for artists and arts organizations. Artspace typically renovates older buildings in traditional downtowns and redevelops them. An Artspace opened in the old Dearborn City Hall in east downtown Dearborn in 2016.

More than 500 people responded to an arts market survey which has been used to inform the Arts Market Study. The results will help determine the type of Artspace development that could take root in downtown Mt. Clemens.

Ultimately, the study did demonstrate demand for such a project. The study reveals that interest in an Artspace project in Mt. Clemens could support a combination of 21 to 34 affordable live-work spaces for artists, up to 18 private studio spaces, and shared creative spaces that could include exhibition space, performance space, and ceramics and/or clay studio space and kiln.

It’s important to note that interest in such a project does not mean that it will get built. The next step comes down to financing. Wendy Holmes, senior vice president of Artspace Consulting, says in an August 25 Zoom session examining the results that the organization would like to submit a tax credit application to MSHDA in 2021.

"Our plans for the next step are to continue to talk about where could a physical space project be in Mt. Clemens," Holmes says in the session. In October 2019, the old Saint Joseph Sanitarium and Bath House, Grotto, and Chapel, an office building at 85 N. Main St., and the old Victory Inn on North River Road were identified as potential sites for the Mt. Clemens Artspace.

"We looked at a number of sites as part of our feasibility study and our next step would be to find the funding to advance pre-development so that we can start looking at those sites more in earnest and figure out which one is going to work and which one is going to make sense for the city and county, et cetera."

More information about the Artspace project and Arts Market Study can be found on the Anton Art Center website.

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MJ Galbraith is a writer and musician living in Detroit. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.