5 Tips for Families Headed to ArtPrize 2014

by Melody VanderWeide on September 30, 2014

ArtPrize 2014 GRAMHeading to ArtPrize with the family?

I’ve been taking my kids to ArtPrize since it started six years ago- and over the years I have come up with a few tips that will help any family headed to Grand Rapids to check out the event: [read more…]


An In-Cider Look at Michigan’s Fall Drink of Choice

by Lyndsay Israel on September 25, 2014

sietsema's hard cider

Enjoying a glass of hard cider overlooking Sietsema’s orchards

It’s hard to imagine, but West Michigan is ready for another apple harvest!

Michigan farmer’s markets have seen asparagus, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, green beans, peaches and corn come and go and now the wait for those first bushels of apples begins. Just about anyone can make (or eat) an apple pie, but 2014 could hold a different future for thousands of Michigan apples.

Hard cider, which originated across the pond, was a crisp, delicious and common drink of choice, made from apples that weren’t pretty to look at, but produced exquisite flavors when pressed and fermented. Hundreds of varieties of these Heirloom apples made their way into Michigan soil, but during Prohibition, these trees were torn out, and many of the varieties declared nearly extinct.

Andy Sietsema is a fourth generation apple farmer who, with the guidance of his father, has began growing many of these rare apples again, in the hopes that the cider will be revived with the 150 varieties found on their farm. I spoke with Andy to discuss the quickly-blossoming craft cider industry, as well as what goes into owning an orchard in West Michigan. [read more…]


Best Places To See Fall Colors Around Grand Rapids

by Howard Meyerson on September 18, 2014

West Michigan rivers offer plenty of opportunity to see fall color.

West Michigan rivers offer plenty of opportunity to see fall color.

By Howard Meyerson

Autumn color is always a spectacle in Kent County. The countryside – with its hills and valleys – becomes a living canvas splashed with color. It’s a great time to get out on area roads, rivers and trails and enjoy the view from a bike, kayak, or on foot.

Some of the best fall views are found in Kent County Parks where families can make a day of it, pack a picnic lunch, and enjoy a day out under the trees.

One of the top spots is Fisk Knob Park found at 17533 Algoma Avenue in Cedar Springs. It’s the highest point in Kent County. At 1,075 feet above sea level it offers spectacular views of the rolling hills in the region.

“It’s been very popular for fall color,” notes Roger Sabine, director for Kent County Parks. “It’s our northern-most park and if people want to take a drive they won’t be disappointed. It’s got the elevation and you can see just about forever.”

Fisk Knob is one of 34 Kent County parks. Some are better for fall viewing than others, according to Sabine.

Pickerel Lake Park – Fred Meijer Nature Preserve is one that delights in fall. Located at 6001 Ramsdell Road NE in Cannonsburg, the 305-acre nature park is a peaceful expanse of yellows, orange and gold. Visitors can hike the trails through its hilly terrain or just enjoy the colorful vista from the marsh boardwalk that leads from the parking lot. Canada geese stage on the lake in fall and become part of the season spectacle – so bring a camera.

“Sunset is a neat time to be there,” Sabine said. [read more…]


What’s New at ArtPrize 2014

by Amy Busse on September 16, 2014

Made of Stars Lucille Evans 2D Photo Courtesy of ArtPrize.org

Made of Stars
Molly Lucille 2D
Photo courtesy of ArtPrize.org

The countdown to ArtPrize has officially begun and September 24 will be here before you know it. We’ve assembled a quick primer to help you navigate some of the exciting changes to this year’s competition.

ArtPrize 2014 will have four judging categories for both the public and the juried voters-2D, 3D, time-based and installation. Here is a breakdown of what kind of art you can expect to see in each of the categories according to ArtPrize.org

  • 2-D entries are entries that exist primarily on a flat plane. Painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, and most textiles are examples of 2D work.
  • 3-D entries occupy space and are intended to be viewed from multiple angles. Sculptures that are not site-specific belong in the 3-D category.
  • Time-based entries are durational and change over time. The viewer has to spend some time with the work to view it fully. This includes performance, video and film, dance, music, and interactive work.
  • Installation entries are dependent upon their installation site. The location is not a neutral ground, but makes up an important ingredient of the work. Installation is different from 3-D in that changing the location of the piece would dramatically change the work.

ArtPrize 2014 features the largest prize money purse ever with a total of $560,000 available to winning artists. The Public Vote is the foundation of ArtPrize-so remember to register to vote! [read more…]

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The Grand Rapids Silver Line Is Here…and Ready for ArtPrize

by Kirsetin Morello on September 11, 2014

As of August 25, 2014, Grand Rapids has joined the ranks of cities offering bus rapid transit (BRT) service. The Silver Line, as it’s called here, whisks riders along an almost 10 mile stretch of Division Avenue that begins in the south at 60th & S. Division, runs all the way to Michigan Street and the Medical Mile, and includes a loop with key stops at stations downtown. (Click here for a Silver Line route map.)

Silver line with bus racks

The Silver Line boasts several special features to make taking public transportation easier, more convenient, and more attractive for riders.

  • Easy on-off through front and back doors that open simultaneously.
  • Stations with raised platforms that are level with the bus, making boarding accessible for everyone.
  • Bike racks on the front of the bus.
  • Stations shelters that include surveillance systems, sidewalk snowmelt systems, and real time next-bus signage.
  • Ticket vending machines (TVMs) at every station. Riders pay and validate tickets beforehand, saving time. (No showing tickets upon boarding. Instead, the Rapids will do spot checks.)
  • Free wi-fi all on Silver Line buses.
  • Free parking (based on availability) at the southernmost station, 60th and S. Division.

[read more…]


A Peek At This Fall’s Thriving Theatre Scene in Grand Rapids

by Kirsetin Morello on September 4, 2014

We recently wrote about the exciting, jam-packed music scene taking place in Grand Rapids this fall. From Beethoven’s Fifth to The Eagles, there’s something here for everyone.

But music isn’t the only thing happening downtown this fall. This fall Grand Rapids offers a thriving theatre scene with a wide array of shows, including Grammy award winner, ONCE, and the world premier of The Boatwright.

Broadway Grand Rapids

ONCE photo courtesy of Broadway Grand Rapids

Broadway Grand Rapids makes it easy to treat yourself to a Broadway experience without ever leaving our fair city. This season’s shows include 2013 Grammy Award winner, ONCE (Nov. 4 – 9), which also won eight 2012 Tony Awards, including Best Musical. “ONCE uses music and dance in a unique way to help tell a beautiful story, and how music has the power to connect us,” says Meghan Distel, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for Broadway Grand Rapids. “There are 30 different instruments played on stage all by the actors in the show. It’s really beautiful piece of musical theater.” [read more…]


Grand Rapids is Bursting with Music This Fall

by Kirsetin Morello September 2, 2014

Grand Rapids’ music fall season is just around the corner and I hope you’re ready! Here is a peek at two of our region’s most renowned musical performance opportunities – definitely add them to your calendar this autumn! Grand Rapids Symphony The Grand Rapids Symphony begins its 85th season – and final season with music […]

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15 Fun and FREE Things to do in Grand Rapids

by Amy Busse August 28, 2014

  Whoever said, “nothing in life is free” hasn’t been to Kent County, Michigan. The greater Grand Rapids area offers a wide variety of no cost activities to keep you busy throughout the fall. So take out your planner and get moving – here are 15 ideas for fun, free things to do this autumn! 1. […]

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Insider Tips and Tricks for How to Experience Grand Rapids ArtPrize

by Amy Busse August 21, 2014

Grand Rapids, MI has been home to the international art competition ArtPrize® since 2009. For three weeks starting the end of September through the first half of October, Grand Rapids becomes a destination for art lovers and art learners alike. With over 1,500 entries and three square miles to cover it can seem daunting to a […]

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From the Suburbs to the City: Getting Around Downtown on the Silver Line

by Kirsetin Morello August 19, 2014

Ready to head downtown but don’t want to drive? The Rapid Silver Line is at your service! The Silver Line debuts on August 25, 2014 and will offer riders a new option to get downtown from the suburbs of Wyoming and Kentwood. Transportation on the Silver Line will be quicker for sure (more like an […]

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