Category: Civic life

Welcoming a new year

Welcoming a new year

A new year! After a nice break for the holidays, we kicked things off with our usual Friday night potluck at our *culture is not optional community house. The community house is where our interns, AmeriCorps members, volunteers, and visitors stay, and it’s also a space for building relationships and learning for our organization as a whole. 2019 was a pretty rocky year, with an unexpected move for our community house on top of some other major projects, so it was nice to celebrate with friends in a spirit of greater stability for the year to come. The historic three-story Victorian house we lovingly refer to as “the haunted mansion” has proven a wonderful asset for showing hospitality.

Potluck at the *cino community house
Potluck at the *culture is not optional community house!

In mid-January, Rob spent some time in Detroit for the Michigan Farmers Market Manager training, but came back in time to enjoy the opening reception for the annual juried art show at the Carnegie Center for the Arts, just half a block from our house. The Carnegie Center is a beautifully restored historic space—one of the original libraries Andrew Carnegie built around the country. Many of our friends had work in the show, including John, Gail, and Jonathon, who work with Kirstin at GilChrist Retreat Center.

Carnegie Center juried show in downtown Three Rivers.

We try to take things a bit more slowly in the winter, but one important annual celebration we participate in is a march, potluck dinner, and service in celebration of the life and work of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Though it turned bitterly cold just in time for the march, we had a great turnout. The service featured live music from a number of groups, including the Brandenburg Concert choral group that Kirstin sings in, and some incredible, truth-to-power poetry from local poet friends. We look forward to this service every year as an expression of solidarity and diversity in our community, and Rob has taken on more a role in helping plan and organize along with a number of other community volunteers.

Unveiling the Imaginarium

Unveiling the Imaginarium

Well, it was a race to the finish line and we gave it all we had! The new community space, called the Imaginarium, came together about 95% of the way before our big annual community festival at the Huss Project at the end of July. While we wish we’d gotten everything finished, it was certainly enough for visitors to Future Fest to catch the vision for this vibrant new space.

Imaginarium under construction

Launching the Imaginarium was just part of Future Festival. Along with dozens of volunteers, we hosted a rummage sale, farmers market, bake sale, live music, an art show, and a Community Carnival with hands-on activities and free school supplies for kids and families. This was actually the tenth annual Future Festival, chaired by our good friend Julie. A lot of friends, both local and out-of-town, come together to make the Fest happen every year and it’s always an amazing celebration of creativity and friendship…and then we crash!

Rob taking a break with his parents at Future Festival
A view from the second floor