Our Start

In 1996 Canton Township began investigating the need for a performing arts center in their community. In 1998 the Partnership was formed with a focus on establishing a nonprofit to assist in raising funds for the performing arts center.  Over the following 6 years we raised more than $5 million towards the construction of The Village Theater, a 400-seat premiere performing art center and in 2004 it opened to the public.

The theater is now home to several Western Wayne County performing arts organizations, including an orchestra, a band, a chorale group, youth, adult and senor drama theater and more.

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Funding the Arts: 2008-2016

Since opening the theater, we, along with Canton Township, the Commission for Culture, and Arts and Heritage have worked together to expand art and culture programs.  With our passion to foster a culture of art appreciation we have awarded grant funding totaling over $1.2 million to 15 local groups, local schools in Canton Township, including programs such as Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Canton’s International Festival, and Canton’s Acts of Culture Week.

We have also been able to provide funding for several local initiatives.

“African American History Through Artist Eyes” (AAHTAE)

February 2008-2013 – AAHTAE was a production performed at The Village Theater for all 5th grade students within the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools and local charter schools. With the help of funding for the program’s expansion and bussing, the program grew to include 2800 students from over 17 schools.

Plymouth-Canton Community Schools Art Show

April 2011-2019 – We contributed funding for their annual K-12 art show, which showcased over 2000 pieces of visual art from every school in the district.

View Grant Recipients
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Village Arts Factory Project

On the grand opening night of The Village Theater in 2004, Tom Yack (20 year-township supervisor) told the Leisure Services Director that they now needed to acquire the abandoned national historic parcel just down the street. His proposal was to turn the property into a venue into a warehouse with studios, gallery, boutique and eateries.  His vision was to develop an arts district with a The Village Theater and the Village Arts Factory being the anchors of Cherry Hill Village. From that vision we embarked on a mission to create a space where arts and humanities could flourish in our area.

The Village Arts Factory Property is Purchased

We purchased a 14 acre parcel in Canton’s historic Cherry Hill Village District with the mission of developing the Village Arts Factory and the purpose of producing a regional visual arts complex. The development of this property is on going, but we have completed and opened our Warehouse building, which is now home to 13 local small businesses. We will soon be welcoming our first veteran into the Veterans Dormitory. Due to the COVID-19 health crisis, we can only house one veteran here for the time being. We still need to save and repurpose our Henry Ford Village Industry Factory. We have completed the restoration of the outside of the building, but the interior still needs to be finished. We are currently searching for the right business partner who will call the Ford Factory home and help us completed the restoration of the building.

We started in raise funds for the dormitory renovations, site demolition and additional construction preparations. Over the next several year we completed renovations as funding was received.

Demolition Begins!

Zero-Day collaboration through the Ford Motor Fund community grant

The dormitory was the first building to be completed, including city sewer & water hook-ups and site work. Watch our video!

The Village Arts Warehouse  & Ford Factory Renovations Start

Canton Township approves the building permit for the Arts Warehouse and renovations begin, including: roof, façade, plumbing, fire suppression, exterior windows & foundation repair.  Final parking lot revisions are approved by Wayne County. The Partnership acquired their first arts warehouse tenant, the Cherry Hill Potter’s Guild for a 4,000 sq ft studio with a 10 year lease.

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Our Staff

Team member
Wendy Harless
Executive Director
Team member
Bruce Malinczak

Executive Board

Team member
Tom Yack
Retired Canton Township Supervisor (20 years)
Team member
Ann Conklin
Board Chair
Retired Executive Director Michigan Recreation & Parks Association
Team member
Herb Scott
Past Chair
Managing Partner, NutriTech USA
Team member
Susan Hurley
Sr. Project Engineer, General Motors
Team member
Charles Schulz
Vice Chair
District Asset Protection Manager Home Depot

Board Members

Team member
Greg Demopoulos, B.A. J.D
Team member
Lynn Beattie M.A., B.A.
Retired Educator
Team member
Kelly Goodman
Owner, Kelly Caroline Henna Art LLC
Team member
Jim Harb
Planning Commissioner, Plymouth Township
Team member
John LaFever
Deputy Director, Canton Leisure Services
Team member
Sam Messina
Retired Restaurant Owner
Team member
Ranjeev Puri
Business/Corporate Dev. Manager, Fiat/Chrysler Automobiles
Team member
Marion Rozum
Owner, MSA Delivery Service
Team member
Michael Siegrist
Canton Township Clerk
Team member
Tammy Haggerty G.G.
Proprietor of Jacob Matthews Jewelers, Inc.
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