As a teenager growing up in a boring city called Grand Rapids, one of the few things that was important to me there was the city’s DIY arts scene, and the thriving heart of that scene was a downtown venue called the DAAC (Division Avenue Arts Collective). Anyone with a plan could book the venue for a night, regardless of age, skill level, or anything else. As a teenager, I DJ’d a party there on New Year’s Eve, charged five bucks a ticket, got a bunch of my friends to come out, and made a cool hundred bucks. It’s the sort of experience that made me, a young artist, feel truly accomplished. The DAAC enabled hundreds of others of artists, young and old, to have similar experiences.
Naturally, this was too good to last. The DAAC’s home building was situated in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, and about half a year ago, that building was sold to a real estate developer who declined to renew the DAAC’s lease. The organization has been in a holding pattern since August, looking for ways to raise funds and find a new space.
Today, the DAAC launched a RocketHub campaign, with a reasonable $20,000 target, to raise the funds to find a new home. I have every hope and expectation that they will succeed, but I am also sharing this with you today in the hopes that it may reach some other potential backers who are passionate about art, creating a community around it, and giving young artists the tools they need to succeed.