‘Journey of Hope’  Events include Bike Decorating on May 12, Rolling Art Exhibit on May 14

(FLINT – May 6, 2016) As the inaugural Leadership NOW cohort nears the end of the year-long leadership development program, its 10 participants have one final requirement to complete: to execute a sustainable, collaborative community project.

Using the name MorphACTion – which stands for “movement that rebuilds pride and hope through art and culture in the city of Flint” – the team members will host two events leading up to and during the HealthPlus Tour de Crim on May 14.

“We wanted to build on some of our community’s greatest strengths for this project,” said Karena Hamlet, Leadership NOW participant and MorphACTion team member. “Not only does Flint have a thriving art scene, the city has been recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists. By working together with local organizations and businesses, we aim to celebrate those strengths.”

The two-part event, “Journey of Hope through Arts and Culture,” kicks off May 12 at Tenacity Brewing, at 119 N. Grand Traverse St., Flint. There, the public can take part in a free bike-decorating event from 4-8 p.m. Art supplies will be provided, courtesy of Flint Handmade, Habitat for Humanity of Genesee County and Landaal Packaging.

Following the event, cyclists can show off their newly decorated bikes during Social Cycling Flint’s Thursday Night Party Ride.

Then, on May 14, the MorphACTion team will host a multi-stop art exhibition along the 10-mile blue line course. Stops include the Flint Children’s Museum, Mott Park, Powers Catholic High School, and the Festival Lot in downtown Flint, in addition to the window displays of the Mott Foundation Building.

Artists, performers and organizations featured at these sites will include Aaron Burch, Artistic Visions Enterprise, Boys & Girls Club of Flint, Cook School Tapestry, Kristen Pearless, Marti Miller, Sandra Branch of Gallery on the Go, William Terrian and YouthQuest.

The non-competitive bicycle challenge, which includes optional obstacles along the course, is scheduled to take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The artwork and performances, open to the cyclists as well as the general public, will be on display from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The “Journey of Hope” project represents the culminating point of Leadership NOW, which is offered by the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the United Way of Genesee County.

“Our Leadership NOW participants have spent the past several months studying the development of effective partnerships and collaborative initiatives,” said Jenni Dones, Program Manager for BEST Project at United Way of Genesee County. “This project has required them to put what they have learned into practice, and better prepares them to lead other collaborative initiatives in the future.”

The organizers behind the “Journey of Hope” project include local business and nonprofit professionals Merinda Brisbane, Raymond Curtin, Patrick Haley, Alexandria Harris, Karena Hamlet, Pharlon Randle, Christy Rivette, Richard Russell Jr., Sounya Walker and Jennifer Walters. They will graduate from the program in June.

To learn more about Leadership NOW, click here. For more information about the HealthPlus Tour de Crim, click here.