Chamber Blog

Creative Chambers Brings Opportunities to Local Creatives

Grand Rapids Chamber to Launch Creative Chambers

Calling all creatives – from all industries!

Are you passionate about creating great? Are you a doer, a maker, a creator, or a designer? If you have creativity and talent, but you’re looking for additional ways to grow professionally, we have an opportunity for you!

The Grand Rapids Chamber has long supported the creative community, and we are thrilled to offer expanded support to creative professionals in Michigan through the Grand Rapids Creative Chamber initiative.

“The creative economy continues to be a driver of competitiveness for our West Michigan region,” said Dante Villarreal, Vice President of Business Services and Talent Development, Grand Rapids Chamber. “The Grand Rapids Chamber recognizes this and will continue to work intentionally to attract and retain the talent driving Michigan’s creative community.”


The Creative Chambers initiative, funded by the Michigan Film & Digital Media Office (MFDMO), will work to support the creative economy here in Grand Rapids in three ways:

  • BUILDING CULTURE by connecting creatives to one another to build collaborations and a sense of belonging with one another and the community.
  • RETAINING CREATIVE BUSINESS by helping creative businesses connect to traditional business for partnerships and workshops to develop their capacity for growth.
  • ATTRACTING CREATIVE TALENT by telling the stories of the creative economy to showcase Grand Rapids as a creative hub.

By fostering opportunities for those working in creative industries, we can enhance our cultural and creative vibrancy in the Grand Rapids area, and continue creating great.

To kick off the initiative, business professionals and creatives are invited to the Grand Rapids Creative Chamber Launch on Wednesday, February 27. The event will bring together individuals from across industries to connect with one another and to build relationships with businesses who are seeking creative talent.

“By telling the story of creative businesses here, we hope to change the perception that in order to find high quality creative talent you must go outside of the region,” Villarreal said. “We want to connect local businesses with local creatives.”

The Grand Rapids Creative Chamber will connect businesses with creatives in a variety of industries, including: advertising; architecture; arts schools, artists and agents; creative technology; culture and heritage; design; fashion, garment and textile; film, A/V and broadcasting; literary, publishing and print; music; performing arts; visual and crafts; and more!

“The Creative Chamber is intentional about supporting creative industries and developing opportunities for creatives within traditional business industries,” said Alvin Hills, Business Developer for the City of Grand Rapids and Co-Founder of Midwest Tech Project. “This group will be examining existing policies and creating new policies that support a vibrant creative ecosystem.”

Grand Rapids Creative Chamber Board of Directors
Kris Mathis, Grand Rapids Creative Chamber Council Member

Local author and speaker Kris Mathis is a member of the Grand Rapids Creative Chamber Council.  As a creative professional himself, there weren’t many resources available to Mathis as he was starting his career. Now he wants to be a voice at the table to establish more opportunities for the creative community to prosper.

“The Creative Chamber is opening the door of access and opportunity to creatives that want to compete at a higher level and be at the table when decisions are being made,” Mathis said. “It will offer opportunities that some individuals have struggled to reach on their own due to access, relationships and resources. This program will become a vehicle to help creatives thrive.”

“When traditional and creative businesses invest in each other, it allows our community to thrive, stay competitive, and continue to be a place that attracts new talent and businesses,” Mathis said.

The Creative Chamber Launch is a free event hosted at the Grand Rapids Chamber. To register, please visit this page: https://www.grandrapids.org/events-and-programs/info/all/creative-chambers/

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