The Restoration of the Division Avenue Arts Collective

By Mayra Monroy on May 5th, 2015 / Comments

With over a decade of programming and community building under its belt, the Division Avenue Arts Collective, or DAAC, is making a comeback from a brief hiatus. With a strategic plan, the DAAC is creating strides in the Grand Rapids community and bringing the community talent into a positive light.

The DAAC was founded in October 2003 with a goal of creating an art and music venue that would be free of any religious, corporate and financial affiliation. The entirely volunteer run nonprofit community space is located in the heart of Grand Rapids, in what is known as the “Avenue for the Arts.” The creative space serves as a variety of different things, including an all-ages music venue, art gallery, and provides space for a “do-it-yourself” project incubator, helpful for creative minds to prosper with startups in Grand Rapids. With a promise of inclusive community, the DAAC provides the space to anyone who needs it.

That was, until the DAAC was shut down in August of 2013, when the building and property was sold. This setback wouldn’t discourage DAAC organizers, as restoration efforts have continued to develop in light of uniting the community. Through a variety of fundraising and awareness stirring, the board members are working to open up a new DAAC.

“I think it’s important to have an all-inclusive space, something that’s malleable, cooperatively run and driven, and open to anyone,” said Jordan Dreyer, in an interview with Local Spins. Dreyer is the lead singer of La Dispute, an up and coming band with roots in the DAAC. “While there’s so many great things going on in this city, more so than there were, it’s really important that we have that space again.

Though music is just one facet of the DAAC’s restorative efforts, art and funding of projects is another aspect of the DAAC’s work. Through a micro-grant funding project, artistic and creative ideas have the opportunity to participate in the DAAC’s incubator, named “Sunday Soup.” With over $3,300 raised for these proposals, the DAAC is all about promoting creativity and integral promise for the Grand Rapids community.

Community members and the board alike have not stopped restoration efforts to rebuild what once was. With a starting goal of $20,000, the DAAC’s efforts are in reach, as of this year, raising almost $15,000. The goal of $20,000 would secure a new location and the permits needed to make it into a creative space. It’s a process that is still in the works, but Grand Rapidians should see continuing efforts in the future.

Said future looks bright for the Division Avenue Arts Collective. With plans to continue funding projects that speak for the community’s creative atmosphere, DAAC will be working out of Rumsey Street Park in Grand Rapids, a collaboration with Habitat for Humanity of Kent County and Site Lab, restoration efforts are being made to bring back a venue for creative thinkers in Grand Rapids. To find out more information, please visit www.thedaac.org.

About the Author

Mayra Monroy

Mayra Monroy

Mayra Monroy is studying communication and journalism at Aquinas College. A Texas native, she enjoys studying communication culture and the arts in West Michigan. She currently resides in Grand Rapids and works as a editor-in-chief for Aquinas’ collegiate student newspaper and a freelance journalist.