Art in Grand Rapids
Grand Rapids has long been a mecca for creators and admirers of art. In the 19th century, we were known as "Furniture City" for the artistry of our fine wood furniture. In the 20th century, we made art an integral element of the city's identity, starting with the very first public project funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. And in this century, we've revolutionized the global art scene with ArtPrize, the world's richest, most radically open art competition.
In late September and early October of each year, 1,500+ artists from around the world display their work in every corner of downtown Grand Rapids - and more than 400,000 visitors vote on which artist will receive the $200,000 grand prize. This is ArtPrize, a cultural event like no other - named one of the world's top five festivals by Time magazine.
Grand Rapids also hosts a number of annual festivals beyond ArtPrize, showcasing all manner of art:
- LaughFest (March), a 10-day, community-wide celebration of the art of comedy
- Art.Downtown. (April), a gallery, studio and shop hop featuring the work of 100s of local artists
- Grand Rapids Film Festival (April), focusing on unique independent cinema
- Festival of Faith and Writing (April), with workshops and well-known guest speakers
- Heritage Hill Home Tours (May), honoring the art of historic preservation
- Festival of the Arts (June), a three-day street party highlighting visual, performing and culinary arts
- Various music festivals: Blues on the Mall (June-August); City Lights Music Festival (Electronica - July); GRandJazzFest (August); and more
Grand Rapids is home to three top-notch art institutions: Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, one of the world's 100 most visited art museums; Grand Rapids Art Museum, internationally known for its distinguished, earth-friendly design; and Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts, which focuses on cutting-edge visual art, film, performance, music, and more.
Stroll the sidewalks of downtown Grand Rapids to see all kinds of art - starting with "La Grande Vitesse," the 42-ton, 32-foot high, bright-red sculpture by acclaimed artist Alexander Calder. The very first public art project partially funded by the National Endowment for the Art, the Calder (as it is commonly known) has become the symbol of Grand Rapids and its creative spirit. Take a walking tour of downtown's outdoor art.
The Art of Live Music
A thriving local music scene finds expression in clubs and bars throughout the city, from live jazz nights to "acoustic stews." Outdoor concerts run the gamut from free "Blues on the Mall" events in downtown GR to a Summer Concert Series on the lush grounds of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Check out upcoming music events.
Professional ballet, opera and symphony companies, several outstanding community theatres, and a variety of performance venues ensure a steady stream of top-flight entertainment - from La Boheme to Lady Gaga to Les Miserables.
The Business of Art
Grand Rapids is the center of the office furniture industry, which marries design and commerce. Local companies including Steelcase, Haworth and Herman Miller shape the future of the global workplace.
Downtown's Kendall College of Art & Design is a nationally prominent school offering a broad range of creative degrees, including furniture design, metals & jewelry design, digital media and fashion studies. Stop by to see student art, displayed throughout Kendall's public spaces. Non-professional artists can learn tips and techniques at Grand Rapids Art Museum, Brush Studio and Wine & Canvas.
Ideas to Discover Art in Grand Rapids
A couple of years ago, artist Nick Nortier was living in a house and he began to think that the edifice looked like a face. “I like to personify things,” he says. “There were a couple of windows
Did someone say “Free jazz in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids?” GRandJazzFest did! Presented by DTE Energy Foundation, this two-day jazz spectacular returns August 15 and 16 to Rosa Parks Circle ,
If you enjoy art, craftsmanship and creativity, then American Quilters Society QuiltWeek® at DeVos Place Convention Center in August 12-15 is for you! The show brings creativity, passion and for some
This summer, you’ll see billboards throughout Michigan featuring the artwork of five artists whose work was selected by a juried committee as part of Experience Grand Rapids' “Art Outdoor” campaign .
The five pieces of art selected by a juried committee for the Grand Rapids "Art Outdoor" Campaign are now on billboards throughout the state. You can see art along several highways through September,
Maggie Bandstra is one of five artists whose work was recently selected by a juried panel to be featured on a Michigan billboard this summer. Twenty-seven artists submitted work in response to
Earlier this month, Experience Grand Rapids announced the names of 5 artists whose works will be featured on billboards around the state this summer. A juried panel selected their artwork from over 25
Grand Rapids is undeniably an art destination. Residents and visitors experience art when we tour Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park , the Grand Rapids Art Museum , and ArtPrize , but there's more
Get ready for three days of fun in downtown Grand Rapids: the 46 th annual Festival of the Arts starts at noon on Friday, June 5 and runs through Sunday, June 7. Streets downtown will be shut down so
Since April 1995, locals and visitors have flocked to Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park to enjoy both the fantastic, diverse gardens and the beautiful sculptures and exhibits. Beginning June
Everyone has heard about how Grand Rapids is Furniture City, the home of Amway and Meijer, and the land of cyclopean church buildings. However, quite a diverse mix of attractions has been added to
Friday, April 24 at 8:00 p.m., you can experience LiveArts at the Van Andel Arena. It's an incredibly collaborative production filled with creative elements that are sure to inspire you, surprise you,
The Grand Rapids Symphony has a rich history of reaching out to kids through engaging programs like their annual Lollipop concerts, which my kids attended and loved for years, and the Fifth Grade
Grand Rapids Public Museum As the weather heats up, so is the arts and culture scene in Grand Rapids. This spring the city is boasting several events you definitely won't want to miss! For
On April 24 th at 8:00 pm an event is taking place at the Van Andel Arena that you absolutely don't want to miss. That night you can immerse yourself in an experience called LiveArts , an event unlike
Great collaborations aren't born, they are developed. And there are few places where that is more evident than through the collaborations occurring right now between Grand Rapids and the art
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
Imagine strolling through displays of beautifully designed juried contest quilts, hanging like something from a royal palace. Then move in your imagination to the next room and take in the visually
It's time to head to West Michigan and warm a restaurant seat while soaking up the waning summer, because Restaurant Week Grand Rapids is happening Wednesday, August 13 to Sunday, August 24. If you're
Bold, geometric shapes. Pops of bright color. Lines and materials echoing industry and prosperity. All were hallmarks of the modern design movement, and designers, architects, artists and
Attention, slackers! February 14 is just over a week away, and if you haven't booked a room or reserved a table yet, you might be feeling more than a little pressure. But no worries. While it's
$560,000 in prize money. 1,524 works of art. Artists from 45 U.S. states and 47 countries. 169 venues. 19 days. More than 300,000 visitors. Its time for ArtPrize ! Earlier this year, Time Magazine
In two short months, Grand Rapids fifth annual ArtPrize 2013 will begin. Over 1,500 entries from 47 countries will vie for $560,000 in prize money--and you, the public, have a say in who wins the
Whether you missed the original Flashdance movie , starring Jennifer Beals, or still belt out the words to Gloria or What a Feeling whenever you get the chance (maybe at karaoke in Grand Rapids ?),
In this week's Austy episode, Experience Grand Rapids' Austin Langlois rehearses with the Grand Rapids Ballet as they prepare to perform The Nutcracker this December 14 - 16 and December 21 - 23. Want
I logged tons of hours at ArtPrize this year, walking the 3-mile route one evening with my husband, 5 hours another day with my mother in-law (we looked at lots of art along the Grand River ), another
One of the greatest things about ArtPrize is that art can be more than just a painting or a sculpture. Art can be anything an artist dreams it to be. One of my most favorite forms of art, but the
Of the 1512 entries in ArtPrize 2012, twelve are quilts . While most of us are familiar with the type of quilt our grandmothers might have sewn--the beautiful yet functional type that keeps us
As ArtPrize heats up, high-trafficked venues like the Grand Rapids Art Museum tend to get the lion's share of attention. But within the event's three-mile radius, there are plenty of unique venues -
ArtPrize 2012 is here! Join Experience Grand Rapids' Austin Langlois as he explores ArtPrize and shares 5 tips to experience the event successfully.
photo by stevendepolo via flickr Its not very often you can judge (and vote on) artwork and dine beneath glorious Chihuly glass sculptures. But now;s your chance: Meijer Gardens is host to 26
ArtPrize 2012 entrant Katie Swanson checks out Mesmer Eyes...A Requiem by Kathy Goodell at ArtPrize 2011 Today we're so excited to welcome a guest post from Katie Swanson, a Grand Rapids fan and
quilt by Jan Lewis, member West Michigan Quilters Guild Its like being in a candy store! says Jan Lewis, local quilter and member of the West Michigan Quilters Guild, about the plethora of vendors
quilt by Joan Brink I paint with fabric, says Joan Brink, a member of the West Michigan Quilters Guild, as she describes how she creates pictures on her quilts by stitching smaller pieces of
abstract quilt by Colleen Kole Colleen Kole, a member of the West Michigan Quilters Guild, doesn't use patterns or templates for her quilts. Instead, she creates intuitively, using techniques she
Beautiful quilting by Terri Watson of Grandville, MI. I go to see it as an art show, says Terri Watson of the national American Quilters Society Show and Contest , whose next event will be held at
A beautiful quilt by Sue Cortese. Before women had the right to vote you could decipher their political positions by the patterns in their quilts. If they sewed the Tippecanoe and Tyler Too
photo credits This weekend is the official kick off to summer in Grand Rapids: The Festival of the Arts . Enjoy art booths, delicious food, awesome local musicians, and adorable little ballerinas
one of Betsy Carlson's award-winning quilts When your grandmothers grandmother made quilts, she probably used fabric from chicken feed bags. But the quilting industry has come a long way since the
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Spring Break beckons us with the promise of enjoying a little extra time with our families. That's pretty easy to accomplish when we fly elsewhere and we don't have day-to-day chores to distract us.
Photo courtesy of Grand Rapids Art Museum When my three boys were younger, they spent countless hours every week creating masterpieces at the art table in our basement. The art table was a