Popular music and art venue to reopen after several years

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A West Michigan music venue is coming back after several years in temporary spaces.

The Division Avenue Arts Collective (the DAAC) was started in 2003 by artists and community organizers as a venue for all types of creative expression. The group had a permanent spot on Division Avenue until 2013, when they were booted from the building by a new landlord.

Since 2013, they have had temporary residency in several locations around Grand Rapids.  All providing opportunities to keep the group alive, but still the dream for a new permanent home persisted.

In late 2017, several members started to consider the option of finding a location to purchase.

DAAC member Charity Lytle told FOX 17, "It took a lot of time. We entered into a lot of contracts with different landlords. We looked at a few different spaces. Every space we looked at, we had to consider getting a zoning variance or getting a special land use application. Not every landlord wants to deal with that. Also, noise was a concern."

After several dead ends, they found their new home at 1553 Plainfield Ave.

"Its cool to visualize what it could be and this building is a blank slate. but with that, comes a lot of renovation costs," Lytle says of the project.

Members of the collective are excited for what's possible with the new space.

Member Schyler Perkins says about the group coming back,

"There's something about the DAAC and the local music scene. It's really the glue that holds everything together, especially with the DAAC having been gone for so long," said member Schyler Perkins. "Everything has kind of been so fragmented and all the musical groups of the city are kind of active in their own little area, but there's not much bringing them together.

And that's what the DAAC is and works to do: to bring everything together in one location."

In addition to the DAAC, the building will also be home to Gaia Cafe.  The cafe was open in the East Hills area for over 30 years before shutting down.

Gaia Cafe owner Andrea Bumstead purchased the new building on Plainfield Avenue along with Charity Lytle and another DAAC member, Lizzie Grathwol.

The Gaia Cafe will sit in the front of the building, while the DAAC's space will be in the back.

"It took us five years almost to find a building that fit what we were looking for and a neighborhood that wasn't overpriced so we could keep our prices the same," Bumstead said. "So we don't feel like we're gentrifying any area and that's where this came to be Gaia 2.0."

Perkins sums up the current mood, saying, "The feeling right now is very anxious excitement because there is still a lot that needs to be figured out but everything is in motion and that is something we haven't had in a long time so that aspect is very exciting."

Construction is expected to begin in June.  A grand opening is expected some time this fall.

For more information about the DAAC and how you can help contribute to their project, visit their site here or their facebook page here.

For more information about Gaia Cafe, visit their Facebook page.

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