Giant Step CampaignRob Vander Giessen-Reitsma

Giant Step Campaign

Building Our Community’s Capacity for  Imagination

For nearly ten years the Huss Project has been growing friendship and imagination through food, art, and play in the Three Rivers community. Growing vegetables to share, throwing day-long community celebrations, creating welcoming space for neighborhood kids, painting collaborative murals, and much more. *culture is not optional—the nonprofit organization that owns and operates the Huss Project—purchased the historic Huss Elementary School in 2009 with a vision of transforming it into a vibrant community center in Three Rivers. Since then, we’ve been building relationships in our neighborhood and working toward our goal.

Many of you have participated as we’ve transformed the back yard into a beautiful, productive urban farm for sharing fresh vegetables through agency partners in the city. We’ve shared about our life experiences at our Summer Storytelling Series. We’ve created a new green space for play and a Quiet Park for reflection. We’ve worked alongside volunteers from colleges, summer camps, and churches to tear out carpeting, remove drop ceiling, and beautify the yard—learning from one another about what defines the places we each call home. Over 1,000 of us have gathered each July at Huss Future Festival to celebrate our community’s creativity and to experience the future we hope for at the Huss Project.

Now, with your help, we can take the next GIANT step to create a beautiful, year-round public space where Three Rivers can come together for food, art, play, and celebration: the Imaginarium!

Giant Step Campaign

A Giant Step Forward: The Imaginarium

So far, we’ve had to limit our programming to warmer months because the building’s “vintage” heating system no longer functions.With this project, we will take a giant step forward by building a beautiful, year-round space called the Imaginarium. 

A whimsical, elegant space within the shell of a nearly abandoned historic school, the Imaginarium will dramatically increase our capacity for creative programming with community partners, from after-school activities to potluck dinners to just-plain-hanging-out. But just as important as the “what” is the “how”: the Imaginarium is designed to be a living example of what’s possible when we dream and work together as a community. You won’t believe it until you see it!

With your support, we will build the Imaginarium over the next year. Combining the original library and Kindergarten room, this stunningly re-imagined two-story space will feature:

  • Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves on both levels, with a dramatic opening between floors
  • Seating and tables for reading, meeting, playing, eating, working, partying…and more!
  • Refinished 100-year-old wood floors
  • Upgraded bathrooms
  • An upgraded and expanded kitchenette
  • New energy-efficient windows styled after the original 1919 windows
  • A high-efficiency HVAC system to heat and cool the space
  • A new roof (funding already secured)
  • An outdoor front porch pavilion, constructed from reclaimed barn wood

Once it’s up and running year-round, the Imaginarium will support our existing programming and allow us to expand: summer lunches, community events, after-school programs, potlucks, and more. The Imaginarium will also be available to other community organizations for their programming, dramatically transforming an under-utilized space in an underserved neighborhood into a vital community asset!

Giant Step Campaign

50,000 dollar matching grant!

We need your help to make this dream a reality! The Giant Step Campaign will run from November 1 to December 15. If we raise $50,000 through our Patronicity crowdfunding campaign, MEDC will match with a $50,000 grant!

DONATE NOW!

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Share your ideas

Do you have an idea for how we can use the Imaginarium? Submit your idea by November 15 for a chance to be featured during the Giant Step Campaign November 1-December 15! Everyone who submits an idea will be entered into a drawing to win one of three Huss Project prize packs, featuring a stainless steel water bottle, temporary tattoo, sticker, and a Love Where You Live T-shirt.


Our Timeline

Next summer, we’ll celebrate the 10th Annual Huss Future Festival and the 100th anniversary of the original building. Our plan is to complete construction by next summer so we can officially launch the Imaginarium at Future Festival on July 27, 2019!

  • November-December 2018: Raise necessary funds; complete demolition
  • January-April 2019: Install new roof, windows, HVAC, begin interior work
  • April-June 2019: Build front porch pavilion, finish interior work
  • July 2019: Grand opening!

Contact us

Do you have questions? Please get in touch and we’ll respond as quickly as we’re able.