Grace Kelmer

Name

Grace Kelmer

Company/Organization

The Mendel Center at Lake Michigan College

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What Does Your Company/Organization Do?

The Mendel Center provides opportunities for community members to come together, whether by attending a performance we bring in, or by hosting their own event in one of our spaces. We are in the business of creating memories!

The Mendel Center is proud to be a part of Lake Michigan College and to contribute to the avenues for personal growth and community impact that the College so effectively provides.

Age

It’s my 29th birthday as of this announcement!

Accomplishments

I currently serve as the Vice President of the Michigan Nonprofit Presenters Network, a membership organization for performing arts venues and festivals across the state.

One of my proudest accomplishments at The Mendel a Center has been the development of the Arts Factor ticket subsidization program. Patrons contribute to the fund, usually as an add-on donation to their ticket order. We then partner with service organizations who identify individuals who would otherwise be unable to attend live performances. The program continues to grow, both in the amount of contributions we receive and in the number of tickets we are able to distribute throughout the community.

What else do you hope to accomplish by the age of 40?

I hope to continue with my personal mission of connecting the community with opportunities to experience and engage in the arts. I hope that at every step along the way to age 40, I continue to learn, grow, and reach for new ways to enable the arts to enrich lives and bring people together.

Education

-Master of Arts Administration from University of Cincinnati

-Master of Business Administration from University of Cincinnati

-Bachelor of Arts in Music and German from Illinois Wesleyan University

Residence

St. Joseph, MI

Where were you born?

Boston, MA

What was your first job?

When I was in high school, I developed a small studio of private cello students.

Best advice you ever got?

You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.

Who inspires you most?

My friend and graduate school classmate Sommer Schoch is an inspiration to me. She went to school in order to equip herself to start a theater company in her hometown in Kentucky with a mission of providing the community with theater productions that are relevant to the shared experiences of that community, as well as learning and engagement opportunities. I’ve been able to visit the town of Somerset to see Flashback Theater Co. productions on a few occasions, and it inspires me to see what she has built using her own artistic and business talents and the community support she has been able to earn over the past five years.

That one thing about you we’d be most surprised to learn.

I spent 2 years as a performer for the Cincinnati Circus and can juggle, unicycle, walk on stilts, make balloon animals, and more!

What do you love to do in your downtime?

I love sailing in the summer. I have a small sailboat for 1-2 people and take it out any chance I get. It’s active, puts me in close proximity to nature, and lets me meditate and reflect while zipping across the water.

What book are you reading now?

Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World by Tim Marshall

Volunteer activity you love the most.

I enjoy volunteering for events around town, like the various St. Joseph Today festivals and the Krasl Art Fair on the Bluff. I rely so much on volunteer support for our events at The Mendel Center, so it’s nice to give back in that way to other organizations.

What motivates you to give back to your community?

As someone who has only lived in the area for about five years, giving back lets me learn more about the community in which I live while also helping to make it a better place. The more I get involved, the more connected I feel to this area and my neighbors.

What Superpower would you most love to have?

Knowledge of all languages. I love travelling and using my German language skills when in German-speaking countries. I have met and connected with many people during my time there, and wish I could have the same depth of connection when interacting with those who speak other languages, whether here or abroad.

What does this honor most mean to you?

It is an honor even that someone thought to nominate me. It is an affirmation that the work I do professionally and in a volunteer capacity is making a positive impact on the community and those in it.