City Council: Strand Building in Muskegon Heights Ready For Mural Painting

Andrew Trzaska | August 13, 2012

The Strand Theater in Muskegon Heights may see some more color soon, after the Muskegon Heights City Council approved a move to allow a local group to use it for a mural project.

The Muskegon Area Arts Council Incorporated (MAACI) plans to paint multiple murals on buildings around the Muskegon area, an initiative that grew legs early this year and has moved forward incrementally alongside fundraising.

The MAACI describes itself as a “grassroots non-profit organization formed by local artists to promote the arts in all forms throughout the greater Muskegon area,” listing performance, photography, literature, sculpture and street art as different media it works with.

Councilwoman Patrice Johnson worked to spearhead the Strand Theatre building’s inclusion in the project.  The project would cost approximately $2,000, which the MAACI plans to fundraise.  Johnson indicated at Monday’s service meeting that not all funds have yet been raised, so a question for the council on Monday became whether they would essentially advance the $2,000 to start the mural immediately before summer ends, or to wait until next spring when more funds could be made available.

Monday’s meeting saw the approval of the mural plan, but no decisions were made regarding possibly funding the project at the meeting.

The Arts Council currently has a fundraising effort set up at indiegogo.com, with a final goal of $10,000 for five or more buildings.  Other buildings the MAACI plans to paint at this time include the Tipsy Toad on W. Western Avenue, the Red Lotus Gallery near Hartshorn Marina, and Dreamers Blues Bar on Pine Street near the Kobza Hall of Justice.

The Strand Building’s long history in Muskegon Heights predates even the Frauenthal Center for the Performing arts, and has seen many uses over the years. The City of Muskegon Heights boarded the building in late winter of this year to stem weather damage and vermin infestation.

Starting at the very meeting where the board-up was approved, discussions among council members about beautifying the outside of the boarded building have circulated, with no final action.

The project’s scope was unclear as of press time. Monday’s agenda item relating to the project described the project as “window murals”.  The MAACI’s fundraising site does not indicate specific indications of what design or type of mural would be painted.

Andrew Trzaska

103.7 “The Beat” – local government beat reporter and political analyst