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Youth arts center will have permanent home in downtown Flint

By next summer, Flint-area teens and college students will see a long-treasured venue for local music and art relocated and transformed thanks to a $200,000 grant from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. The grant will allow the Foundation for the Uptown Reinvestment Corporation to redevelop a vacant building in downtown Flint into a permanent home for Flint Local 432, a popular arts and culture community center serving youth ages 15 to 25.

The center will be at 124 W. First St., between Beach and Saginaw streets. It will house a concert hall capable of accommodating 275 people as well as space for workshops, art classes and rehearsals. Planned renovations will include making the building wheelchair accessible and upgrading the facility's electrical system.

"This is great news. The Local brings thousands of young people to downtown Flint every year," said Tim Herman, CEO, Genesee Regional Chamber of Commerce and board president of the Uptown Reinvestment Corporation. "And they are contributing to the economy through their support of local businesses, restaurants and stores and bringing vibrancy to downtown Flint. Attracting students to create, learn, work and invest in our region is one of the key ways we will revitalize Flint and Genesee County."

Joel Rash founded Flint Local 432 in 1985 — primarily to provide local bands with a public venue. It has since had bands such as Black Flag, Fugazi, Superchunk, Less Than Jake, Avenged Sevenfold and My Chemical Romance.

"Generations of area youth have become familiar with downtown Flint because they were drawn by the events at Flint Local 432. They have experienced the thrill of playing in bands, being part of the audience and they have learned job skills and teamwork as volunteers. In fact, they have helped sustain downtown," said Rash.

The venue is expected to hold more than 100 concerts each year, featuring local, regional and national bands. Plans are also to offer area youth the chance to engage in theater, dance, film, art, design, fashion and more.

The venue will continue its history of operating alcohol-free, which has been an important draw for both high school and college students.

The renovated center is expected to open in the second quarter of 2011.

Send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or join its Facebook group for more information about Flint Local 432.

(Note: This report is provided as a service to our readers and a service to the group or individual mentioned in the release. Usually, only minor editing is done. The group or individual is responsible for all information provided.)

 

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