The 49507 Project is a POC-LGBTQ and youth-led project, rooted in collaboration, that teaches art and event organizing, and commissions community art for and by people of color in the 49507 neighborhood.

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Can Community Outreach Be Organic?

Can we use art to further activate neighbors, shift power dynamics in historically underserved areas, and more importantly, change the narrative?

The 49507 Project: Alemans Auto Repair- Location 1

Diatribe logo

The 49507 Project: Alemans Auto Repair- Location 1

Project 49507 is a POC-LGBTQ and youth-led project, rooted in collaboration, that teaches art and event organizing, and commissions community art for and by people of color in the 49507 neighborhood.

Can Community Outreach Be Organic?

Can we use art to further activate neighbors, shift power dynamics in historically underserved areas, and more importantly, change the narrative?

Can we plant seeds that will bloom into the south side becoming a Multicultural Arts District?

Aleman Auto Repair

Aleman Auto repair logo

My name is Catalino Aleman, I was born in Honduras. My mother Catalina was my mentor growing up. She taught me many things like morals, honesty, and basic life rules. My dream was to have my own mechanic shop. I came to this country to follow my dreams and to provide a better future for my wife and family. I arrived in Los Angeles, CA in 1982. I started to purchase vehicles to fix them and resell them. I left LA after dealing with earthquakes. I moved to Florida in 1994 to see if I would like it and if it would be a good fit for me. I quickly saw that it was not going to work out. I had a friend in Michigan that told me there were a lot of opportunities here and made the decision to try it out. I finally moved to Grand Rapids, MI in 1996. I started working for Best Metal Hydraulic in Kentwood, MI, and other companies meanwhile I worked on my dream. I met a friend, and he helped me start my shop. I finally opened my shop in March of 2003.

Photo of Aleman Auto Repair

Business Description

We now have 19 years in the same shop serving the community. My daughter Nuvia is now working in the office, and I feel happy that this is a family-owned and operated business. My goal now is to expand this business for the next generation to take over and to leave a legacy so that other people can dream and be able to succeed and fulfill their dreams too no matter their background heritage or ethnicity. Currently, we are working on expanding and growing this business. In 2017 we knocked down the house that was next door, expanded the parking lot, and we added a building with 3 hoists. The job was completed in 2019.

Owner: Catalino Aleman

Bio – I began to work on my dream. I worked Monday through Saturday and had only Sundays off. I worked about 10 to 12 hours per day. I had a group of guys working with me for a few years, but my dream was to have a family business. In 2007 my son Alvin started to work with me at the shop. Since then, Alvin has been my right hand and backbone. He was learning at the shop but also took classes and became certified in suspension, electrical, and diagnostics. We proudly hang these certifications in our newly remodeled waiting area.

Connection to GR: It has been difficult and hard to operate a business here. We understand that rules must be placed to better the city but at times I felt they were very strict with me. My friend Arturo was a very big help. He fought to expand our shop.

Liberation: We have not been liberated although I am a business owner. I like I am still in a box as a Latino.

Reclamation There is nothing to reclaim, I’ve never had anything to reclaim. We want to expand and grow.

Headshot of Aleman

Business Social Media/Website info

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Contact/Booking: info@thediatribe.org

We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations.

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Site Design by KCAD students & faculty as part of the EPIC Project.

Our Grand Rapids Community Foundation logo
Spectrum Health Logo
Fair Housing Center of West Michigan logo
Weg Foundation logo
South Town Logo
Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses
Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs logo
Frey foundation logo
carnevale logo
Poetry foundation logo
Lowell Arts Logo
Steelcase Foundation logo
National Endowment for the Arts Logo
Garfeild Park Neighborhood Association logo