The story of Grand Rapids cannot be told without acknowledging the tremendous contributions of women from the area and beyond. We honor them every day but especially throughout Women’s History Month, the annual spring observance that highlights the role of women in events in history and contemporary society. Here are some great ways to celebrate female empowerment this March.

Special Events

Join the International Women’s Day Celebration at Rosa Parks Circle on March 8. It kicks off with a brief presentation from local women leaders, after which you are invited to follow a one-mile celebration march through downtown. Noon-1:30pm.

Attend the Sneaker Soiree for appetizers, drinks, live music, a fashion show and more to benefit girls in need across West Michigan. At Comstock Park’s The Gilmore March 14.

Explore ideas and products for female health, home, style, shopping and fun at the West Michigan’s Women Expo, coming to DeVos Place March 15-17.

Discover the ultimate sanctuary for mental wellness and overall well-being at the Worthy of Wellness Women’s Summit, March 16 at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

Grand Rapids Running Tours is conducting FREE guided walking tours exploring local organizations and causes founded or inspired by women: Grand Rapids Lady Legends Part 1 (March 5) and Grand Rapids Lady Legends Part 2 (March 6).

The Art of Women

Take the self-guided Women Legends Walking Tour and Legacy Landmarks Walking Tour of downtown Grand Rapids. The former visits six bronze sculptures of prominent women and the latter guides you to 16 historical landmarks significant to women’s history.

See artistic tributes to 26 amazing women on the self-guided Rad Women Electrical Box Tour of downtown GR. All portraits were painted by local female-identifying artists.

Experience four immersive “Women’s Way” murals in downtown GR alleyways:

  • Angeline Kelsey “Naw Kay o say” Yob Way, named for a local educator, community activist and citizen of the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians, is located just north of the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum on Sheldon Blvd. NE.
  • Harriet Woods Hill Way, dedicated to the first Black woman officer in the Grand Rapids Police Department, is situated at the northwest corner of GRPD headquarters.
  • Maurilia Ortiz Blakeley Way, just west of San Chez Bistro, includes a 50-foot high mural of the woman who created the local Hispanic Institute.
  • Ethel B. Coe Way, a tribute to the local community activist, musician, actor and civil rights actor, is just north of GLC Live at 20 Monroe on Monroe Ave.

Grand Rapids Running Tours is offering FREE guided walking tours of Women’s Way Murals on March 1 and RAD American Women A-Z on March 25.

Drop into the Grand Rapids Art Museum for Gallery Chat: Women in Art and explore the backgrounds and unique perspectives of women artists and subjects throughout GRAM’s collection. March 12 from 1pm-2:30pm.

See an original installation by internationally exhibited artist Jennifer Angus at Meijer Gardens. Flying Jewels & Other Lofty Insects takes the iridescent green wings of the Jewel Beetle as its starting point. Opens March 29.

Women & Film

Meet a female filmmaker at Wealthy Theatre as the Grand Rapids Film Society kicks off its Artist Showcase series with Narrative Agency: Films by Kate Levy. Levy has worked on projects related to water, education, police violence, immigration, and environmental and economic justice. March 1.

Wealthy Theatre also presents a collection of films with female protagonists throughout March:

  • Clara Sola, about a Costa Rican woman in a remote village, March 3.
  • Legally Blonde, the Reese Witherspoon comedy classic, March 5.
  • Frances Ha, starring Barbie director & screenwriter Greta Gerwig, March 12.
  • This is Not a Burial, It’s a Resurrection, a Lesotho (Africa) film about a courageous 80-year-old woman, March 17.
  • Aliens, featuring a ferocious star turn by Sigourney Weaver, March 19.
  • Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai Du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles, a slice-of-life depiction of a widowed Belgian housewife, March 24.
  • Death Becomes Her, a hilarious black comedy with Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep, March 26.

Funny Women

Laugh along with accomplished female comedians at LaughFest, our annual community-wide festival of funny:

  • Stand-up comedian, TV host and actress Tammy Pescatelli (March 7 & 8).
  • Nationally acclaimed comedians Tina Friml and Nancy Norton, part of the Clean Comedy Showcase (March 7, 8 & 9), Anything Goes Show (March 8) and Virtual Reality Showcase (March 9).
  • Michigan comedians Alexa Stanton and Camila Ballario, who will participate in The Dirty Show (March 9).
  • Chef Jenna Arcidiacono and comedian Kristin Hirsch in Cooking & Comedy (March 10).

LaughFest benefits Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids, an emotional health support community for anyone dealing with cancer, which was founded by three local women. You can help further the organization’s mission by attending its Red Door Gala, featuring dinner and a show from Netflix stand-up comedy star Tom Papa, at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park March 14.

More funny females to enjoy:

  • Fast-rising comedian Erin Jackson at Dr. Grins Comedy Club, March 1-2.
  • New York City-based comic Kerryn Feehan comes to Midtown March 2.
  • Nikki Glaser: The Good Girl Tour comes to GLC Live at 20 Monroe March 15.
  • Internationally touring comedian Jessica Michelle Singleton at Dr. Grins March 21-23.

Musical Women

Singer/songwriter Chelsea Cutler kicks off the month at GLC Live at 20 Monroe. March 1.

Join local musicologist Camellia Adams and Opera Grand Rapids performers for Opera is Lit, which will explore the relationship between ancient Greek stories and the modern world of opera. At CityFlatsHotel March 14.

Experience the magic of fiddle virtuoso Eileen Ivers, as she presents Celtic Landscapes with the Grand Rapids Symphony. At DeVos Performance Hall March 15 & 16.

All-female instrumental surfing group The Sufrajettes play Tip Top Deluxe Bar & Grill March 16.

The Kalhaven String Quartet performs Candlelight: A Tribute to Adele at John Ball Zoo’s Bissell Tree House, March 21. 

Local singer Sarena Rae plays a Concert Under the Stars at Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium March 21 & 22.

Queen of the Night: A Tribute to Whitney Houston features vocalists and a live band recreating the sensational singer’s smash hits. March 21 at GLC Live at 20 Monroe.

Grammy Award-winning jazz singer Samara Joy appears at St. Cecilia Music Center March 26.

Multi-genre singer/songwriter Samantha Fish plays The Intersection March 28.

Downtown GR’s Midtown hosts a series of distinctive female voices throughout the month:

  • Crys Matthews, hailed as “the next Woody Guthrie,” on March 5.
  • Country-folk artist Dori Freeman on March 21.
  • Singer-songwriter Andrea von Kampen on March 22.
  • Folk artist (and Big Rapids native) May Erlewine on March 23.
  • Susan Werner, musical “empress of the unexpected” on March 29.

Women On the Stage

See playwright Peggy Aultman’s Best Kept Secrets, a suspense drama about four middle-aged female friends, at LowellArts March 1-3 & 8-10.

Take a flight into fancy with the Jewish Theatre Grand Rapids production of The Hatmaker’s Wife, a modern-day fable in which a young woman discovers the secrets of her past with the help of a talking wall. March 2, 3, 7, 9 & 10 at Spectrum Theater.

Experience the tragedies and triumphs of mother-and-daughter Cosette and Fantine, part of the sprawling cast of characters in Les Miserables, a Broadway Grand Rapids touring production at DeVos Performance Hall. March 5-10.

See Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park, a slice of ‘60s newlywed life, at Master Arts Theatre, March 7-9, 14-16 & 21-23.

Women on the Page

Meet and ask questions of successful female authors:

  • Lynn Austin, whose newest book is “All My Secrets,” appears at Baker Book House March 7. Romantic thriller writers Pepper Basham and Jamie Jo Wright come to Baker for A Night of Smooches and Stabs March 22.
  • Schuler Books welcomes “Murder at the Blarney Bash” author Darci Hannah on March 14, “The Blue Pickup” author Natasha Triplett March 15 and “The Warsaw Sisters” author Amanda Barratt March 26.
  • Author and historian Brooke Barbier discusses her non-fiction work “King Hancock: The Radical Influence of a Moderate Founding Father” on March 14 at Grand Valley State University’s downtown campus.

Women in Sports

Cheer on the Grand Rapids Rise pro volleyball team, West Michigan’s first female major-league sports team, as it continues its debut season at Van Andel Arena, March 9 and 17.

Attend the home opener of Grand Raggidy Roller Derby, one of 30 founding member leagues of the WFTDA (Women’s Flat Track Derby Association). Grand Raggidy as two teams – All Stars and Attack – and both play their first home game of the season on March 9 at JAM Sports.

Women & Beer (& Wine & Spirits)

Raise a glass to Women’s History Month at the breweries, wineries and distilleries led by Women Crafting the Beverage Industry in Grand Rapids.

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