Our mission is to unite artists through charitable events that create and foster positive change in the community.
We believe that by providing a diverse event space where each indivudal has the opportunity to offer their unique talents to the chosen mission, we can reach an impactful goal as one team. We believe in the power of many and our mission is to provide a place where personal niches are embraced to reach a common objective.
Since our inception, hundreds of artists from all over the country have come together to create art which we sell to raise money for our cause via a silent, live, and Instagram auctions.
2012 2013 2014 2015
$12k $12k $12k $40k
2016 2017 2018
$80k $100k $125k
Our three day festival includes live glassblowing, painting, music on two stages, 70 vendor booths, food, drink, and after-parties.
“The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”
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our 2012, 2013, & 2014 beneficiary
In the Detroit River, nestled between the USA and Canada lies the 982-acre island known as Belle Isle Park. Before it was recently leased to the State of Michigan, Belle Isle was the largest city-owned park in the country.
Located comfortably on Belle Isle is the Aquarium, a Beaux-Arts style building designed by architect Albert Kahn. During its first life, it was open from August 18, 1904 to April 3, 2005, making it the oldest continuously operating aquarium in North America. The building features a beautiful arched ceiling that is completely veneered in green glass tile.
belle isle aquarium
sad day for the aquarium
On April 3, 2005 despite efforts by the nonprofit group, Friends of Belle Isle Aquarium, the doors were closed. The city chaulked it up to lack of funding and most of the staff lost their jobs.
a second life
Fast forward to 2007. In walks Vance Patrick and Jennifer Boardman, everyday citizens with hearts of gold and soft spots for the Belle Isle Aquarium. They were handed the keys to the building and began on their mission to see the doors re-opened. Along with help from the members of Friends of Belle Isle Aquarium, they began to organize volunteers to fix things, re-build, and fundraise.
In 2012, The Belle Isle Conservancy was formed to unite FBIA and 3 other nonprofits on the island. Vance changed gears to sit on this board as well. He and Jennifer maintained their goals of re-opening the Aquarium, holding fundraisers, organizing volunteer efforts, being spokespersons on the news, and a advocates for the building and institution.
Many Detroiters, us included, reminised about the Aquarium and our experiences there. We, along with hundreds of others felt is was a shame such a beautiful space could sit collectiong dust in our run down city. June of 2012, we held our first Michigan Glass Project event in hopes of raising a good chunk of money to aid in its revitalization.
All of our efforts combined, the joyous day finally came when The Belle Isle Conservancy announced that on the 108th year anniversary of its original opening, The Aquarium would officialy come to life again on a limited basis every Saturday from 10am-3pm.
These days the Aquarium is open Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-4pm. It is still free and still operates with a volunteer based staff and one curator. A feat we are proud to be a part of.
our 2015, 2016, & 2017 beneficiary
In 2015, we began a partnership with Art Road, a Detroit Nonprofit, that is actively putting art classes back into Detroit Public School curriculums.
51 out of 83 Detroit Public Schools, approximately 24,000 students in Detroit are without art class. Art Road was started by a woman who aimed to change these stats. Her organization has reached 4 schools so far and together we can help this number grow.
We are thrilled to join Art Road on their mission to provide art classes, supplies, and instructors to elementary schools in Detroit that lack art programs. We share their passion in fostering creativity and imagination in the young minds that will form the future generations of Detroit and the world.
The change in beneficiary rang true to the hearts of artists nationwide. The support hit us like a freight train and the donations were overhwhelming. Our 2015 donation of $40,000 to Art Road topped our first three years combined and helped them to support art classes across their three schools. A beautiful partnership began and the impact we could make filled us with new energy.
The passion for our new found mission continued to grow. Support from artists, sponsors, and volunteers came pouring in. All-stars Banjo, Phil Siegel, and Brandon Martin joined the MGP roster and created a piece that represented the core values we hold dear in Detroit; 'Ngasa' represented growth, re-birth, and re-purpose. We expanded our size, our torch and vendor count, and our impact. That piece sold for $40k in an Instagram auction and made it possible to double our donation to $80k. This allowed Art Road to expand its reach at Spain Elementary School. They had already been providing art to grades K-5 but are now able to give grades 6-8 the gift and joy of art class.
2017 marked a milestone in giving. We were able to hit a goal that has been a dream since our inception. Salt joined us for his first year with the Project. A ten-way collaboration was created that symbolized community and unification. The 'Spectral Crystal Devi' was a mash up of styles and artistic background that rang so true to how we as humans and artists are able to join together and work towards a common goal. This piece sold for $70k in an IG auction and allowed us to write a $100,000 check to Art Road. This meant expansion to a fourth school, Vernor Elementary, where students had previously been without art for over a decade. The future is bright, colorful, and in our reach!
In 2018, we set a lofty goal of $125,000. This ensured we could continue to help fund art class at Art Road's current schools and allow for the expansion to a fourth school. Artists from all over came with the energy and love to help us reach this massive goal. But Carol from Art Road has a surprise up her sleeve - Art Road expanded to not one but two additional schools! Our donation helped return art classes to two schools in Ecorse, MI - a new school district on Art Roads roster. Salt went hard in the paint, completing a 29-way collaboration master piece at 7am Monday morning after working all day and night. We are so blessed by our contributing artists year after year after year for making all of this possible!