We’ve been posting monthly updates about Grove Studios as they work toward their ultimate goal of setting up a space for local musicians. This week, though, week we’ve got to tell you about some live local music at the Riverside Arts Center in Ypsilanti.
Grove Studios was spearheaded by members of the Ypsilanti art & music scene more than a year ago, intent on creating a multi-faceted cooperative space for artists. Initially interconnected, room-sized shipping containers, in their design plan, would be fashioned into rehearsal spaces, gallery and studio spaces, and just about anything else that local musicians/artists need to further their development, work & overall vision. The overarching goal, as it evolves, is to provide a support system for local musicians/artists.
Starting this month, and continuing as a monthly series, the team behind Grove Studios will be stepping up that support of the advancement and visibility of local musicians/artists by way of a genre-splicing lineup of diverse bands, musicians, poets, and other artists, each of whom are on the rise, pushing stylistic boundaries, and/or are just generally mind-blowing performers.
Grove Studios Live @ the RAC
Saturday @ 7pm
Riverside Arts Center
Speak Mahogany (Neo/Soul Jazz Combo)
Royalé Michael (Spoken Word Artist/Poet)
Abe Maybe (Progressive Indie Pop)
Little Traps (Baroque/Folk/Rock)
& DJ Communiqué
with live painting by Vincent Lewis Matthews
and a keynote address by Stephanie Belcher (of Green Bell Strategy, and a Grove Studios Advisory Board Member)
We caught up with one of Grove’s cofounding partners, Erich Friebel, who has been working hard the last year with outreach set on embedding Grove and its mission into the heart of the music community.
The theme for this month’s Live at the RAC concert is: “YPSI NOW”
“YPSI NOW is this month’s theme, among a series of different monthly themes in this year’s exhibition schedule being developed by Emily Tuesday and Trevor Stone at Riverside Arts Center (RAC),” said Friebel. “All of which look to be very exciting. Grove Studios is partnering on events with RAC every 4th Saturday of each month, this year.”
Friebel said that Grove has been hard at work behind the scenes to create a welcoming, comfortable, live performance and creative learning space for the Ypsi/A2 creative community and its advocates. These new monthly events are inspired by RAC’s themed gallery exhibit schedule; the Jan 27th event is a celebration of Ypsi’s current creative community.
“Our plan over the next six to nine months,” Friebel said, “is to create a viable venue alternative and educational resource for independent creatives that will attract and grow a dedicated community and then expand the audience (for local musicians and artists). We’re also trying to maintain the events as all ages, family friendly and accessible to the public with low admission fees. We really want to involve all levels of society in these events to help raise awareness of what is happening in our community’s creative scene. We believe music and fine arts infrastructure are as important as roads, schools and utilities to sustain a vibrant and relevant community.”
The Grove Studio partners, including Friebel, Rick Coughlin and Breck Crandell, are working toward signing a lease on a new location northeast of Eastern Michigan’s campus. They had initially been leasing a space on Michigan Avenue to provide band rehearsal space and host performances with a sort of adhoc HQ, but now they’re moving on to Grove 2.0, on Railroad St.
“The layout at the new location will also allow us to test our hourly rehearsal rental concept and introduce a coworking space with a membership-based fee,” said Friebel. “We envision the cowork space to be inhabited by independent creatives such as graphic and web designers, photographers/videographers, illustrators, writers, booking agents, private lesson teachers, electronic music producers, musicians who need space but not to store their equipment and practically anyone who wants to be in a professional environment surrounded by creative arts people – obviously with the understanding that there may be loud music happening in other areas of the building.”
“The cross pollination of all those creative people will create amazingly fruitful opportunities.”
Keynote speaker Stephanie Belcher is part of the Detroit Institute of Music Education, a Grove advisory board member, and the founder of Green Bell Strategies. She’ll be starting things off this Saturday with a talk that celebrates the importance of local music and building community, connecting with other similar communities (whether nearby, global or virtual) and why it’s part of what makes Ypsi special. Her presence highlights Grove’s intention of being an educational and business development resource for local creatives.
“Everyone involved with this weekend’s event is truly excited to be a part of the creation of something unique,” Friebel said of this Saturday’s exhibition. “Where else can you go to get schooled on how to build your creative business, listen to some insanely talented young jazz and hip hop artists and see two very cool unique local bands while watching a local artist create paintings during the performances? This is going to be a wonderful series opening and we’re looking forward to what we’ll be able to offer (in the months ahead).”