GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — An organization operating a group work space out of the Harris building downtown is looking to raise several thousand dollars to further renovate the historic space.
Little Space Studio is the brainchild of longtime freelance illustrator and designer Alysha Lach White. She spent about the last decade working out of whatever space she could find.
Little Space Studio was born out of the need for creatives in the area, like her, to have a more permanent area to work out of.
They are opening their doors to the public come January 2020. Little Space currently occupies the first and third floors of the Harris building at 111 S. Division Ave. Once open, anyone will be able to rent a space within their co-working environment.
They have already amassed a long list of resources that will also be available to rent, including a 3D printer, digital drawing pads, a print production studio, a video production room, a recording booth and several areas that are easily converted to gallery or show space.
For now, Little Space is hosting the occasional pop-up event on the building's first floor so anyone interested in the concept can check out the space in-person and offer any feedback while things are still in development.
Lach White says of their endeavor, “a lot of entrepreneurs want to just make money as quick as they can, and for us building a strong foundation with community at the center of that actually builds profitable business models.”
It began as a concept in late 2016, operating out of a temporary location at 401 Hall St. SW. This initial space was just 700 square feet, but gave the group a solid understanding of what creatives in the area are looking for.
"And so from that we developed a little more long term plan for what Little Space Studios as a co-working space would look like," Lach White said.
They began forming a relationship with the current owner of the more than 100-year-old building and found that he shared their vision for bringing South Division back to life.
Lach White said, "I have been involved on South Division in many different ways over the last 10 years, so I as a business owner am already familiar with the area, familiar with the community. Also, I guess as some would translate it, as business risks coming to this area."
The group says they hope to make the tools and spaces that creative individuals need more accessible while continuously gauging the evolving needs of the community around them.
"It's this idea you become a better, well-rounded creative and business person if you are exposed to different ways to work and different ways to create.”
Donations are being accepted online through Indiegogo.
(Photos provided courtesy of Grand Rapids Public Library, History and Special Collections.)