‘CREATECollective’ hopes to expand presence of art, culture in the community

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published July 27, 2022

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ROCHESTER/ROCHESTER HILLS — A new nonprofit is hoping to support and expand community-centered arts and culture in the Rochester area.

Ken Elwert, the director of parks and natural resources for the city of Rochester Hills, said the idea for the nonprofit came to him when he was serving on the Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Leadership Greater Rochester Program, which asks participants to develop a project that could benefit the area.

“I found a group of very passionate individuals about art and culture, and they wanted to help form this,” Elwert said.

CREATECollective committee members — which include Elwert, Rochester Hills Mayor’s Office Chief of Staff Maria Willett,  Paint Creek Center for the Arts Executive Director Shaun Hayes, Paint a Miracle Executive Director Shelly Tyshka, Oakland Youth Orchestra Executive Director Joanne Walle and Teckla Rhoads, a volunteer for various arts and culture groups in the city — are hoping others in the community will want to get involved in supporting arts and culture by becoming a member of the group.

“It’s really important to note that when we say the arts, it’s not just the visual arts, but it’s all creative arts — it’s music, it’s theater and dance and art cultural organizations,” Rhoads said.

The mission of CREATECollective, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is to “ignite greater connections between art and culture to engage our communities through joint development and the support of personally meaningful experiences for all.”

“The main purpose is to build up the arts community in the Rochester and Rochester Hills area and bring artists together as well,” Elwert explained. “So our mission is sort of twofold: to bring the arts community together and to get the word out about all the cool art and cultural opportunities that are going on around here.”

CREATECollective plans to achieve that through collaboration — namely a network of artists and arts professionals, cultural organizations, businesses, neighbors, civic leaders and policymakers.

“We just want to build a coalition and get people involved. … We’ve talked about a bunch of ideas, like figuring out how to come up with mini grants to support different arts projects around the community, having lists where artists and government units can go to tap into other artists — really just to create a network for the arts and culture community,” said Elwert.

CREATECollective is hosting its first event, a “Friendraiser Open House,” to share more information about the nonprofit 4-7 p.m. Aug. 11 at the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm, 1005 Van Hoosen Road in Rochester Hills.

“Our goal is to generate interest, to show people what the opportunities are for us to work together, to start to build membership, and also to start getting some volunteers, so it’s not just this small organizing group, but it’s everybody getting involved and working on things,” Rhoads said.

The vision of CREATECollective is to make art and culture more recognized, valued and expected as part of everyday life in the community.

“Originally, it’s going to be just here (in the Rochester area), but we are hoping to expand into other neighboring communities as we get a stronger group together,” Elwert said.

CREATECollective memberships are available for individuals at a cost of $50, organizations for $150 and governments for between $1,000 and $2,000, depending on population. All members receive an event calendar, a vendors list for art and culture on the website, invitations to art and culture meetings, mixer networking events, an e-newsletter, social media and website listings, and more.

For more information about the CREATE Collective or the Friendraiser Open House, email teckla.a.rhoads@gmail.com.