LANSING — Answering a simple question – Why do you choose to call Michigan home? – could earn state residents some fabulous prizes and put the Great Lakes state in the spotlight.

Tuesday, Pure Michigan, Art Van Furniture, the Michigan Association of Realtors and the Michigan State Housing Development Authority announced the launch of the MIplace Sweepstakes, a promotion encouraging the citizens of Michigan to tell the world at why we choose Michigan as our place to live, work, play and share the dream of homeownership.

“Building Pure Michigan places begins with celebrating great places,” said Joe Borgstrom, director of MSHDA’s Michigan Main Street programs. “The goal of the MIplace Sweepstakes is to inspire individuals, communities and organizations to develop awareness of even more great Michigan places by sharing stories of why they are proud of where they live.”

All MIplace Sweepstakes entrants will automatically receive a $50 Art Van gift card (good with any purchase of at least $499). The grand prize is a $3,000 Art Van shopping spree. Michigan residents can enter the MIplace Sweepstakes by submitting written or video testimonials at through Labor Day, Sept. 3. The winner will be announced after Sept. 4.

“As one of our state’s oldest and largest Michigan-based retailers, Art Van Furniture is honored to join with Michigan’s Realtors and state housing development leaders in promoting the MIplace Sweepstakes,” said Diane Charles, director of corporate communications for Art Van Furniture. “We have been a champion of Michigan’s great places for more than half a century, and we’re encouraging all of our Art Van guests and Facebook fans to share their vibrant communities and why they believe they’re so special.”

MSHDA, MAR, Art Van, the Michigan Economic Development Corp., the Michigan Municipal League and the Small Business Association of Michigan are among the organizations helping neighborhoods, cities, regions and downtowns promote “place” as a way to spur economic development and restore Michigan to prosperity.

Placemaking is the phrase commonly used to describe the growing consensus that people, companies and talent do not move to specific communities – they move to regions. Thriving communities and successful regions are places that are attractive to employees, where connections can happen, where productivity and creativity increase, and where professional networks foster collaboration and innovation.

Michigan’s placemaking education campaign includes efforts like the MIplace Sweepstakes and the debut last month of, Michigan’s one-stop Web site for everything about placemaking — what it is, where it’s happening across the state, and how to get started. The site offers inspirational firsthand accounts of Pure Michigan placemaking success stories, rich photography and videos, and the opportunity to engage in lively group discussions through the MIplace Facebook page at

By embracing innovative strategies and new partnerships such as the MIplace Sweepstakes, the Michigan Association of Realtors is earning national praise for selling homes, building better neighborhoods and stabilizing communities, said MAR Board President Beth Foley.

MAR, for example, will leverage its unique access to Michigan homebuyers by distributing MIplace Sweepstakes promotional materials to new homeowners as well as promoting the MIplace Sweepstakes through its online tools, including its website, newsletter, bimonthly magazine and web presences of local Realtors associations.

“As communities struggle to do more with less and people everywhere cry out for places of meaning and beauty, Michigan’s Realtors understand we have to find fast, creative, profitable ways to capitalize on local ingenuity and turn public spaces into treasured community places,” Foley said.

“Our support for the MIplace Sweepstakes demonstrates that Realtors do more than sell houses,” Foley added. “We’re helping to build a better Michigan future through placemaking.”

Beginning on Monday, May 28, Michigan homeowners are invited to submit their stories by answering the question, “Why is Michigan the place you call home?” through a form on the MIplace Facebook page. It’s fast, fun and easy. Stories can be in video or essay format, with videos of no more than two (2) minutes long and essays of no more than 250 words.

Once a participant’s story is published online, the participant will receive an email including a link to the story and will be encouraged to share that link with friends, family and networks. Additionally, video submissions will be posted to the MIplace Facebook gallery page, with individual “Like” buttons allowing page visitors to view and share videos they like.

The sweepstakes will run from May 28 through Sept. 3. At the sweepstakes’ closing, the grand prize winner will be drawn at random from all eligible submissions. Upon entry, all sweepstakes entrants will receive a voucher, good for $50 off a total purchase of $499 or more at Art Van Furniture.

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