The Emory: The Diatribe’s community hub moves forward

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids nonprofit The Diatribe is one step closer to its new culture hub and community center.

The Emory, located at 2040 Division Ave. near Burton Street, will serve as the new headquarters for The Diatribe, a nonprofit working to connect art and activism. Plans are underway to renovate the site’s existing 18,000 square-foot building, built in 1935, which used to be a sporting goods store.

The Grand Rapids Planning Commission on Jan. 11 approved plans for the site.

GR nonprofit The Diatribe creates new community space

The plans include a community center, retail space, outdoor seating and a venue. The community center, which will be on the ground floor, will have offices and work space for The Diatribe, along with space for programming.

A rendering from the Diatribe of an arts and culture hub in the Burton Heights neighborhood. (Courtesy Marcel Price)
A rendering from the Diatribe of an arts and culture hub in the Burton Heights neighborhood. (Courtesy)

The nonprofit hopes to work with youth in fifth to 12th grade.

“We plan to be in the entirety of the students’ lives,” G Foster II, one of the founders of The Diatribe and the group’s vibe manager, previously told News 8. “So let’s say some students need to talk to a therapist, or their parents need some assistance finding groceries. We want to be a place that can uplift the kids.”

Along with artist studios, it will also have space for small local businesses. Planned for the site is a coffee shop, a bookstore, a recording studio and a graphic design studio and printing shop.

13 West Michigan developments to watch in 2024

The venue will offer a space for everything from lectures and movies to workshops and performances, and people can get outside in either the building’s patio or green roof.

There will also be eight one or two-bedroom apartments. Foster said the nonprofit will limit the amount of time people can live in the apartments to three years. Residents will also be asked to take credit-building, financial literacy and homeownership classes.

The Emory is named after Emory Douglas, the minister of arts and culture for the Black Panther Party who was born in Grand Rapids.

In a Facebook post, The Diatribe said the Planning Commission meeting took the project a step closer to the groundbreaking, planned for this summer.

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to