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MATI receives grant, fundraises for mobile movie project

The Masonic Arts, Theatre, and Innovation Company recently received a $49,800 grant from the State of Michigan for its shared kitchen space and hopes to expand its drive in program to the Central U.P.
The Masonic Arts, Theatre, and Innovation Company recently received a $49,800 grant from the...
The Masonic Arts, Theatre, and Innovation Company recently received a $49,800 grant from the State of Michigan for its shared kitchen space and hopes to expand its drive in program to the Central U.P.(WLUC)
Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 1:19 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - An iconic downtown building has new funding to further its use as a professional kitchen space for entrepreneurs. The Masonic building of Marquette, now operated by the Masonic Arts, Theatre & Innovation Company (MATI) has been awarded a grant totaling $49,800. The Michigan Department of Agriculture Value Added & Regional Food Systems grant will be used to expand equipment offerings for local food entrepreneurs over the next three years. According to MATI president and Masonic Building manager Ryan Engle, the money will allow them to upgrade and expand their kitchen equipment, “providing increased cold and lockable dry storage space, and adding freezer carts or trikes that allow members to sell their cold products directly to consumers during summer months,” Engle said. “We also plan to add a remote-access entry way and a tracking system that will allow 24 hours a day 7 days a week member access”.

According to a press release from MATI, six small businesses currently operate out of the kitchen: Aloha Grill, Borealis Baking Company, Davin’s Chocolates, Ugly Pops, Becky’s Roadside Refreshments, and Das Pretzel Guys.

According to the release, it’s been a busy and significant summer for the organization, which took over operations at the Masonic building in 2020. Projects include a Patronicity donation campaign to bring a mobile drive-in movie program to the Central U.P., starting in August for the Village of Newberry. Big donors for the project include Helen Newberry Joy Hospital and Medical Center, which gave $1000 toward the $17,500 goal. A fundraiser screening of Toy Story 4 will take place on Sunday, August 1st.

MATI is asking for community members near and far to help them reach their goal by donating and sharing the campaign or hosting a fundraiser at their business before Monday, August 2. If fully funded, the campaign will be matched by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) through their Community Public Places program, allowing for the purchase of all-weather-ready drive in style screen and projector lenses, as well as a trailer and life system that can be hauled for special movie screenings in areas outside of Marquette.

Businesses and community groups who are interested in any MATI services, or want to get involved in other ways, can call Ryan Engel at (906) 225-1157 or email contact@matimqt.org.

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