BENEFITING: Dan Schmitt Gift Of Music And Education Fund
A Dream needs a bedroom. Creativity needs a kitchen. A Community needs a home.
My name is Graham Parsons. I am the co-founder and Executive Director of The Dan Schmitt Gift of Music and Education Fund. I am seeking funds to purchase and improve a home and adjacent lot in Kalamazoo, Michigan to make it a safe and healthy space for all. The house is over 100 years old, with much of its infrastructure outdated and not up to code. ie: lead pipes and paint, cloth wrapped electrical, asbestos...
Our non-profit Fund is named for a young musician who was a close friend of our family in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan. He died in a traffic accident in 2007, and our family began the Farm Block Music Festival, to honor Dan. As time passed, we started the Gift of Music Fund to help area youth with an appreciation and love of music. It has since expanded to include sustainable outdoor educational activities. The Fund is overseen by a board of 9 directors, and is a registered 501c3 nonprofit.
Over the past ten years the home at 315 Walnut in Kalamazoo has served as an incubator and haven for artists, musicians, progressive thinkers and community builders from SW Michigan and all over the world. This is our Gift of Music headquarters in Kalamazoo. All instruments and equipment used in education programs are stored here. Instructors live here. Traveling bands and activists from all over the country stay here when in the area. The adjacent lot has acted as a community garden for over five years, and is at risk of being turned into a parking lot. Imagine twenty kids learning how to grow and harvest their own food. Then imagine a garden bulldozed and turned under, eight cars in its place.
My hope and dream is for the house to grow and remain a hub for emerging professional artists, but also for it to become a safe space for youth to engage in creative activities with the invaluable guidance of young, professional mentors. I believe in a full-circle commitment to the Arts. -- That means artists have a place to create, but are also given an opportunity to share their knowledge, to empower youth through the creative process.
There is no ignoring the fact of giant cuts within Arts and Music education and programming all over the country, specifically within the public education sector. Its going to take grassroots movements and groups of thoughtful and caring individuals banding together to keep Arts and Music education alive and thriving. Its up to us.
We seek to ensure a future full of song and color. Full of life and laughter. Full of food and wonder. Full of dreamers and doers.
Long term goals include: Agriculture & Sustainability Workshops and Programming
Artist Residency Program
Free and Public Arts and Music education center
Community Outreach Team
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The Earthwork Music collective believes in the intrinsic and historical power of music to raise both community and self-awareness and serves to facilitate and encourage original music in the state of Michigan and beyond.