Just the other day I passed by the vacant building on the corner of Mills St and E Michigan Ave and wondered...will it ever be occupied?

Turns out, I have my answer!

As reported by Mlive.com, Urban Folk Art Exploratory, founded in Kalamazoo, will be moving into the vacant print shop later this year.

For those who don't know, including myself, the Urban Folk Art Exploratory was founded in Kalamazoo in 2005. Their purpose, according to their website, is to,

provide a voice to the hip-hop community and to activate social change through the arts.

You can see the backstory here:

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An incredible mission, to be sure. And, the plans for the vacant space sound extraordinary.

The new location for the Urban Folk Art Exploratory will feature:

  • an art gallery and shop
  • a community design center
  • creative co-working space

And will become the headquarters for West Michigan Center of Urban Interventionism.

Influencing social change through art certainly isn't something brand new but it is something I have very little knowledge of. The definition of Urban Interventionism is,

a name sometimes given to a number of different kinds of activist design and art practices, art that typically responds to the social community, locational identity, the built environment, and public places. The goals are often to create new awareness of social issues, and to stimulate community involvement.

Their goal is to be open by summer of this year. Judging only by the exterior of the building I would say they have their work cut out for them. But, I can't wait to see the finished product.

You can learn more about Urban Folk Art Exploratory's mission, their programs and how to help here.

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