In 2019, Experience Grand Rapids commissioned West Michigan-based artist Joel Schoon-Tanis to create a representative painting of our local tourism landscape.
Utilizing his characteristic whimsical style, Joel depicted some of the area’s most iconic destinations, activities and experiences. The working antique carousel at Grand Rapids Public Museum provided the conceptual framework for the piece and inspired the name, A Grand Ride.
The painting was unveiled at Toast the Town, an annual luncheon event hosted for community stakeholders. Toast the Town 2019 showcased the role of the region’s vibrant arts scene in attracting visitors. A Grand Ride celebrates the work of local artists and art organizations and the unique community that inspires them.
The original A Grand Ride painting hangs in the offices of Experience Grand Rapids – but a limited number of print reproductions are available for purchase. (Sorry, a giclee version has sold out.) You can get a framed or unframed print at rivercityartsolutions.com/shop – or contact Jeanine Samuelson (616-485-2258) firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joel Schoon-Tanis is a celebrated painter and book illustrator, a sought-after speaker, and the creator and writer of an Emmy-winning children’s television program. “I strive to view the world through a child-like lens – full of color, whimsy and honesty,” he says. Visit his website for a look at his work.
See if you can identify A Grand Ride elements that represent these local tourism (and resident) amenities:
This working antique carousel provides the foundation for Joel Schoon-Tanis’ flight of artistic fancy.
This bright red abstract sculpture was installed in a downtown square in 1969 and has become the symbol of the city’s artistic spirit.
Look for the thumbs up signifying the public vote that determines the winner of this every-other-year competition, which is the world’s largest public art event.
Spanning downtown’s Grand River, The Blue Bridge is an old railroad bridge converted to a pedestrian crossing and community gathering space.
A bright red rooster adorns the logo of this sustainably minded craft brewery located in a refurbished historic funeral home.
Local family farms (and tractor-riding farmers) supply area restaurants with fresh ingredients, contributing to our ranking as America’s #25 Foodie City.
A retro station wagon bearing a canoe is the illustration used for All Day IPA, one of the most popular selections from the city’s largest and oldest craft brewery.
A replica of Leonardo’s Horse, a da Vinci sculpture, is one of countless man-made and natural dazzlers at one of the world’s 100 most visited art museums.
More than 60% of all Michigan apples – and a whole bunch of other fruits and vegetables – are grown atop this land feature carved out by ancient glaciers.
A plane soars above the image of this airport, which serves more than three million passengers each year with award-winning hospitality.
An astronaut sculpture stands in front of this tribute to the life and times of our 38th President, who was raised in Grand Rapids and is buried on the museum grounds.
Michigan’s only professional ballet company is perhaps best known for its annual presentation of The Nutcracker, reimagined for a new generation.
A bubble table is one of many fun, interactive exhibits at this museum that promotes childhood learning through play.
A hockey stick and puck represent this professional hockey team, an AHL affiliate of the Detroit Red Wings, which plays in downtown’s Van Andel Arena.
Our Grammy-nominated symphony was established in 1930 and presents more than 400 performances each year.
Look closely at the carousel floor – you’ll see the Grand River that flows through downtown and contributes to our ranking as America’s #6 Fishing City.
A tiger is one of more than 2,000 animals at this classic urban zoo, the 4th most attended cultural facility in Michigan.
Sailboats are a fixture of this massive lake, which features some of the best beaches in North America – all as close as 30 minutes from downtown GR.
Grand Rapids boasts more than 100 live music venues showcasing all genres of music – including guitar-fueled rock.
An outdoor amphitheater – looking something like a jukebox here – hosts the biggest names in music each summer.
Dragon’s Milk is the signature beer brewed by New Holland Brewing - The Knickerbocker, a cornerstone of the Bridge Street entertainment district.
We were named “Furniture City” in the 19th century for our fine wood furniture – today, we’re the global leader in workplace furniture. (Look for the office chair.)
Hiking, fishing and canoeing are just a few of the activities you can pursue in the Grand Outdoors – a vast natural playground surrounding the city.
This Class A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers presents professional baseball, family fun and outrageous food in beautiful Fifth Third Ballpark.