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WIXOM, Mich. – Creative Many Michigan (formerly ArtServe Michigan), the statewide economic development organization for the arts, culture and creative and design industries, announced its Board of Directors has elected John Willems, principal of Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, P.L.C law firm in Detroit as its chair and Joseph L. Voss, senior counsel for Clark Hill in Grand Rapids, as first vice chair. Additionally, George K. Heartwell, mayor of Grand Rapids, Mich. was elected to join the Board of Directors.

Creative Many Michigan Board of Directors members are active in public policy, business, cultural organizations, creative industries, civic affairs, higher education, the legal profession and nonprofit work and serve a maximum of three three-year terms. The Board meets quarterly and works collaboratively to guide the organization in its statewide efforts as an economic development advocate for arts, culture and creative and design industries in both for-profit and nonprofit sectors.

John Willems
John Willems is a labor and employment lawyer in Miller Canfield’s pre-eminent Labor and Employment Group. He specializes in complex employment and class action litigation, collective bargaining, contract and interest litigation, as well as administrative proceedings before the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

As part of his commitment to supporting the arts in Michigan, Willems has frequently advised and represented, often pro bono or for minimal fees, local recording artists and record labels, musicians, producers, filmmakers, visual artists and dancers on career and legal issues. An artist and musician himself, Willems has been actively engaged in the Advisory Council working with Creative Many to launch the Lawyers for the Creative Economy initiative in 2013, a program now actively connecting artists and creatives to critical legal counsel and resources.

He earned his Juris Doctor degree from Wayne State University and his bachelor’s degree from Portland State University in Portland, Ore.

Joseph L. Voss
Joseph L. Voss represents financing and producing parties for film, television and online media productions as practice leader of Clark Hill’s Entertainment Industry Team. He provides production legal services to independent producers, as well as general corporate representation to companies in the film, television, digital media and music industries.

Voss is Chair of the Arts, Communications, Entertainment and Sports Section (ACES) of the State Bar of Michigan, a member of the Michigan Film Office Advisory Council and the Advisory Committee of Creative Many Michigan’s Lawyers for the Creative Economy program.

He earned his Juris Doctor degree from DePaul University in Chicago and a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree from the City University of New York-Brooklyn College.

Mayor George Heartwell
Now serving his third term, Mayor George Heartwell took office on January 1, 2004. During his tenure, the City of Grand Rapids has implemented a variety of environmental measures, including purchase of renewable resources energy, use of alternative fuels in city vehicles, continued attention to water quality in the Grand River and widespread implementation of energy conservation measures.

Under his leadership, Grand Rapids has been widely recognized as one of the most sustainable cities in the country, earning the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s “Nation’s Most Sustainable City” award in 2010 and a first place Climate Protection Award by the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 2012. Heartwell is a strong champion for the powerful role of the arts and creativity in building vibrant communities as evidenced by his leadership in ensuring the growth and prosperity of Grand Rapids’ diverse arts and cultural community and community-wide initiatives such as ArtPrize.

Heartwell earned his bachelor’s degree from Albion College and masters of divinity from Western Theological Seminary.

Members comprising the Board Officers for Creative Many’s 2014-15 fiscal year are Joan Krause of Grand Rapids, past president; David Mix of Grand Rapids, secretary; and Deborah Pfliegel of Bingham Farms, treasurer and co-vice chair – Administration/ Finance.

About Creative Many Michigan
Creative Many Michigan, formerly ArtServe Michigan, is a statewide economic development organization focused on the mission to develop creative people, creative places and the creative economy for a competitive Michigan. Creative Many Michigan emphasizes the power of creativity through advocacy/public policy, research/reporting, professional practice programs, strategic communications and networking for the greater good of the arts, culture and creative and design industries. Contact Creative Many Michigan at 248-912-0760 or visit