Nonprofit arts center to build 175-seat theater, artist studios, and more in downtown Grayling

What’s happening: Renovations are underway at 122 E. Michigan Ave. in downtown Grayling, a historic but vacant storefront that will soon become site to a performing arts and event center, artist studio, and retail storefront.

Who’s behind it: AuSable Artisan Village (AAV), a non-profit art center first founded in Grayling in 2010, is responsible for the development. This expansion isn’t the first time the nonprofit has renovated a vacant, historic building downtown; their current gallery at 219 Michigan Ave. was vacant for ten years before AAV renovated and revitalized the historic building.

What’s planned: The nonprofit is transforming 122 E. Michigan Ave. into the Artisan Village Performing Arts Center and AAV Mud Room. The performance space will feature a stage for live concerts and performances inside a 175-seat theater, featuring ticketed music and theater performances, free concerts and comedy nights, and community events. The AAV Mud Room will offer clay, pottery, and ceramics classes, access to two kilns, and artist studio space available for daily use. A retail art gallery will also be open seven days a week.

A rendering of what's to come in downtown Grayling. (Photo: Patronicity)

Preservation notes: The nonprofit has announced plans to expose and restore the building’s original brick facade, and reclaim the hardwood floors and stamped tin ceiling.  Real estate records identify 122 E. Michigan Ave. as having been built in 1934.

Why it’s important: “The performing arts center, when fully utilized, will bring thousands of patrons into our downtown resulting in over a million-dollar annual economic impact,” says AuSable Artisan Village Executive Director Terry Dickinson. “Turning a vacant storefront into a seven-day-a-week pottery studio and gallery adds to the vibrancy of the downtown experience.”
Renovations are currently underway at 122 E. Michigan Ave. in downtown Grayling. (Photo: Patronicity)
How they’re doing it: The Artisan Village Performing Arts Center and AAV Mud Room project has been accepted by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and its Public Spaces Community Places placemaking initiative. Should AuSable Artisan Village successfully raise $50,000 through a crowdfunding campaign by Monday, July 31, the MEDC will contribute $50,000 by way of a matching grant.

The AAV crowdfunding campaign is being hosted via the Michigan-based Patronicity platform, which is available online.

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