Mainsail Collective Offers Creator Studio to Photographers and Artists

Flint is a city where, no matter how long you have been here, there’s always something new to try or find. From established hole-in-the-walls to new pop-up shops, there are always new things to find for those who look. Mainsail Collective fits that bill. This new creative content studio is tucked directly above of Café Rhema, and can been seen by those passing by on Saginaw Street.

“The idea was to have a shared space for commercial visual artists,” said founder Mike Naddeo.

Mainsail Collective was founded by Naddeo and ellow photographers Danen Williams and Eric Dutro. The hardwood floor studio opened in June, and allows freelancers to utilize the studio space to hold shoots, meetings, or create other visual content. At $50 an hour, users can rent the space if they do not have any at their disposal. The space has equipment that artists can use, or they can bring their own. It is shared with local online newsmagazine, Flintside. At Mainsail Collective, every other Wednesday community members can participate in “sailor mouth yoga,” a class Naddeo says “is not for the shy.” It is simply yoga with lots of foul language, coached by Amie Burke.

Naddeo did not start college until he was 30 years old, and attended Northern Michigan University.

“It was as far away I could get and still paying in-state tuition,” said Naddeo.

He went in planning to study physics with the intent to have a career in optical engineering, but graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Arts. Upon graduation, he worked at Billmeier Camera Shop in Fenton for a year. Afterward, Naddeo worked locally at My Magazine for two years. Since then, he has been doing freelance photography.

“I do a lot of non-profit and foundation work,” said Naddeo.

Some of his work has been for McLaren Medical Center, the Crim, and other commercial projects. Additionally, he does work for weddings, models, professional headshots, and even once had the opportunity to photograph former president Barack Obama. Currently, he is working with UM-Flint Alumna Kelsey Koch on a project with athletic supply company Reebok.

In addition to photography, he also does videography, a skill he believes is essential to his business.

“You’ve got to have both skill sets just to make ends meet. You’ve got to have know-how on everything,” Naddeo said, in regards to running your own business. “From even just being able to maintain your own website to at least minor design skills. People will hire you for taste, they might not know what looks good.”

He emphasizes having a well-rounded skill set. What he would say to a student pursing a degree in the arts? “Do it.” He mentions that one of the most valuable tool an artist has at their disposal is their network.

“20 percent of it is your portfolio, 80 percent of it is your network. You’ve got to know people. You’ve got to get out and introduce yourself to people.”

The best way to contact Mainsail Collective in regards to studio rental would be through their Facebook page. Mike’s personal website is View Eric Duro’s work on Danen Williams can be contacted through