#CreateGreat | Grand Rapids Creative Chamber Program Relaunches in 2021

Staff 191“As a photographer and creative individual who has found a love for supporting growing businesses, I am excited to take on the role of program manager for the Creative Chambers program – I have seen the cultural and economic impact that creatives have in our City of Grand Rapids and will do my part to ensure that opportunities are available to attract and retain creative talent, cultivate an inclusive creative environment, and encourage genuine connection in creative industries.”

– Megan Steenwyk, Business Services Manager




The Grand Rapids Creative Chamber Program Supports the Following Industries: 

  • Advertising
  • Architecture
  • Arts Schools, Artists & Agents
  • Creative Technology
  • Culture & Heritage
  • Design
  • Fashion, Garment & Textile
  • Film, AV & Broadcasting
  • Literary, Publishing & Print
  • Music
  • Performing Arts, and Visual Arts & Crafts

With an extension of funding from the Michigan and Film and Digital Media Office, a renewed Council of passionate volunteers, and a dedicated Chamber team, the Creative Chambers program is here to support the creative business community in Grand Rapids by providing opportunities to develop their business strategies and expand their networks, while offering value to the traditional business community by connecting them to local creative talent.

This year will be the first time in the history of the program that we offer workshops for creatives centered on business topics including taxes, marketing, legal, and finance – a gap that our area creatives have asked us to address. Alongside the four workshops planned are scholarship opportunities to take advantage of all Chamber programming including CEO & Management Roundtables, ATHENA Grand Rapids, as well as our cohort-based leadership programming by joining as a Chamber member.

As venues continue to open back up, we are also excited to be back in person enjoying and supporting events that were canceled and postponed last year – we look forward to more opportunities to connect with creatives at our Creative Chambers Mixer which will take place during ArtPrize this fall and celebrate our Creative Business of Year Awardee at the Chamber’s Annual EPIC Gala in October.

Our first Creative Chambers event of 2021 is scheduled for Tuesday, April 20 and we hope you will join us!

During the April workshop, Michigan Department of Treasury tax education specialists will present tax basics for small businesses, including specific illustrations and examples for folks in the creative industry. Topics include sales/use tax responsibility, tax-exempt transactions and purchases, tax implications when hiring employees versus contractors, registering your business with Treasury, and filing guidance.

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. Hear from our extraordinary pool of talented individuals serving as Council members this year about why they believe in the program:

“Having been raised in Grand Rapids, I’ve seen the growth of the creative community accelerate dramatically throughout the Greater West Michigan Area and believe that serving on the Creative Chambers Board is an opportunity to bridge the gap between traditional business and creative talent by way of developing a seamless network of support between the two. The board’s ability to positively affect the creative industry in West Michigan is strongly dependent on increasing access to the business world for creatives, as well as illuminating the creative prowess available here to the traditional businesses in search of creativity. This relationship is one of the main benefits that the Creative Chambers Board serves in West Michigan and being a part of it as a video production agency owner who is passionate about championing the creative talent in GR is something I am truly honored by. It also offers a great chance to extend our creative business’s current network to those in search of the same collaborative enrichment here in Grand Rapids.”

– Eric Dimmick, Creative Director of Ozone Films

“I believe in the mission of the Creative Chambers because I understand the importance of creatives having a voice at the table. Being a creative can be a challenging, at times lonely journey when you lack the support and struggle to turn your gifts into a business.”

Kris Mathis, Motivational Speaker


2021 Creative Chambers Council

Ali McNamara, MCA Media

Benjamin Hunter, Wolf Den Studio & Farmers Insurance

Elisabeth Barry, Grand Rapids Voice Collective

Eric Dimmick, Ozone Films

Hugh Ingalls, Ingalls Pictures

Jamey Limbers, Ceramic Artist

Katie Moore, ArtPrize

Kris Mathis, Spring GR

Richard App, Grand Rapids Chamber

Steven Reynolds, Art Exchange

Shayna Harris, SIX Magazine

Tarah Cranahan, Treetops Collective

Learn more about the Grand Rapids Creative Chamber Program 


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