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KCC hosts special speaker in Grayling March 22

GRAYLING – Kirtland Community College is hosting a special presentation at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 22, at the Ramada Inn in Grayling to discuss models for economic revitalization based on local artists and recreational opportunities in northern Michigan.

John Davis, executive director of the Cornucopia Art Center in Lanesboro, Minn., will be the featured guest speaker. The presentation is free and open to the public. No registration is required.

“Lanesboro provides a model for what we could do here in Grayling to revitalize and reinvent the area’s economy based on local artists and the great outdoors – two of our strengths that are underutilized in many ways,” said Dr. Tom Quinn, president at Kirtland.

“As the executive director of the art center in Lanesboro, John has first-hand knowledge of an art-based economy,” he said. “This kind of information is key, as we try to create a similar economy here in northern Michigan.”

Much like Grayling, Quinn said Lanesboro, a town of about 800 residents in southern Minnesota, has a river running through the community, as well as numerous bicycle and hiking trails. But, as important, Lanesboro received the “Great American Man Street Award” in 1998 and was named one of the “100 Best Small Art Towns n America” by author John Villani for its economic efforts.

Also, since 1989, Lanesboro has been home to the Commonwealth Theatre Company, a professional ensemble.

“Grayling is trying to create a new economy based on the AuSable Artisan Village concept,” Quinn said. “But, this doesn’t mean we have to reinvent the wheel. There are great examples, like Lanesboro, to help show us the way.

“So, Kirtland is happy to be able to sponsor this event and we’d love as many business and community leaders, local artists and anyone else to come out and listen to John,” he added. “We think it will be a very valuable discussion, as we look forward to achieve the goals we have set.”

For those who can’t make the March 22 presentation or want to speak to Davis more, there will also an informal breakfast at the Ramada Inn at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, March 23. Those attending will pay for their own breakfast, but there is no other fee to attend.

“Sometimes after a presentation, people go home and questions starting popping up in their minds,” Quinn said. “The breakfast is that chance to ask John those follow-up questions. Again, we think this will be an extremely valuable opportunity to gain a new perspective on what we could accomplish here.”

Annually, about 3,200 students attend a variety of certificate and two-year degree programs at Kirtland’s four locations – the main campus near Roscommon and the Michigan Technical Education Center (M-TEC) in Gaylord, as well as sites in Grayling and West Branch – with the college’s service area including all or parts of Crawford, Oscoda, Ogemaw, Roscommon, Otsego, Kalkaska, Missaukee, Gladwin and Alcona counties, and the surrounding areas.

For more information on the March 22 presentation or March 23 breakfast, contact the president’s office at Kirtland via e-mail at kathy.koch@kirtland.edu or by calling 989-275-5000, extension 253.