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3 up and coming arts nonprofits that deserve your support

In a community filled with long established arts and culture nonprofits (some over a century old), launching a new organization can be tough going. Concentrate shines the spotlight on three fledgling groups that could help seed the ground for the next generation of creators and audiences.

Building a better beer ecosystem

Having a microbrewery in your community is great. Having a craft brew ecosystem is freakin' awesome! And that's just what Washtenaw County has. What started decades ago as a small homebrewers scene has grown into a beer-o-sphere that includes hop growers, small batch pioneers, a craft brew organization for women, and even beer-flavored suspense novels.

Healing through Xbox: Locally-launched non-profit gives games to sick kids nationwide

Talk about the law of unintended consequences. In 2007, a local police officer shut down a Saline high school Halo tournament, claiming video games corrupted the minds of teens. That one misguided complaint ended up inspiring Gamers Outreach, a growing nonprofit that provides video games to children's hospitals across the country.

Illuminart: Thinking smart about lighting

Think about light. Consider how it impacts the way you live in your home or do your work. Think about how it makes you feel warm and welcomed… or uncomfortable and creeped out. That's what the designers at Illuminart in Ypsilanti evaluate with every project they tackle. It's an under-appreciated aspect of architectural design - something Michigan businesses are only beginning to recognize.

Digital Inclusion: From classroom to pop-up

A program at EMU not only aims to teach low-income and at-risk area youth how to repair computers, but how to sell the fruits of their labors at a retail pop up. It's the best kind of entrepreneurial education, learning by both book and by practice.

5 tough questions with Ypsilanti City Council member Lois Richardson

There has been a lot of discussion lately about Ypsilanti's relationship with and to Ann Arbor, particularly when it comes to affordable housing. Concentrate chats with Lois Richardson, a seven-term Ypsilanti city council member, about housing, crime and current perceptions about her beloved community.

Ann Arbor theater's next act

Recent upheavals in Ann Arbor's performing arts scene have left some worried about the state of local theater. Concentrate takes a look at where things are now, where they might go next , and who's filling (or not filling) those seats.

Is Ann Arbor affordable? Nope. (And that's official.)

It's no secret that Ann Arbor offers a high quality of life for its residents. But with little supply and increased demand, the cost of living here has become prohibitive for many members of the middle class. And without a plan for future accommodation this not only means less diversity but also potential long term economic challenges.

Little Free Libraries: Connecting neighborhoods book by book

Maybe you've seen them, little birdhouse-like structures filled with books, stationed beside the sidewalk, at the end of  someone's lawn. The Little Free Library movement has caught on in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, creating a sharing community of bibliophiles while connecting neighbors that might not ever have met. 

The entrepreneurial case for Ypsilanti's authenticity

Maybe it's the price point. Maybe it's the proximity and cost prohibitions of Ann Arbor. Maybe it's the gravitational pull of authenticity. Whatever the reason, Ypsilanti is drawing local artisans and boutique entrepreneurs into its fold with its unique sense of community.

OpEd: Get corridor connections between cities up and running

The voter-approved transit expansion in Ypsi and Ann Arbor was a victory, but now we need to think corridors, long stretches between southeast Michigan cities that need linking. AAATA board member Gillian Ream Gainsley weighs in on the options.

5 Local Blogs You Need To Be Reading

Okay, there's us. And we're proud to say we've been around 300+ issues now. But let's share some of the love, okay? There are some damn fine local bloggers out there and we think you should be reading them. So, we've put together a list of five must-read sites.

The 21st century body is being built in Washtenaw County

With advances in the medical device industry, Ann Arbor is proving to be more than just a place for entrepreneurial innovation and growth, it's producing startups that are helping to shape the future of the human body. 

Garages, clubs and co-ops: Navigating Ann Arbor/Ypsi's music underground

When it comes to live music and the performing arts, space is at a premium - particularly in Ann Arbor. So where do up and coming musicians and artists reach an audience? Concentrate's Patrick Dunn takes you on a quick tour of underground and off-the-radar performance venues.

OpEd: How time banking can help revitalize Ypsilanti

"Know thy neighbors," isn't just a proverb. It's also key to neighborhood revitalization. And what better way to get to know others than through offering your services, using time as currency? It gives a new meaning to "spending your time," for a community and economic boost.
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