Within the past two years, six galleries have opened in the Grand Rapids area. Each are finding new ways to support their missions and build appreciation for the arts. Learn more about them here:

As soon as you walk into Lions & Rabbits, you're surrounded by colorful, impactful art.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids

Lions & Rabbits

Address: 1264 Plainfield Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49504 + Pop-up location within the Downtown Market  is open November 2018 to January 2019
Hours: Sunday to Tuesday: Closed; Wednesday to Thursday: 11 AM - 4 PM; Friday: Noon - 6 PM; Saturday: 11 AM - 3 PM

Hannah Berry, owner of art gallery and event space Lions & Rabbits, is on a mission to gain appreciation and respect for artists. When people come into Lions & Rabbits for an event, they’re surrounded by art and are given a rightful chance to understand it.

“Here’s art—now look at it,” Berry winks, when explaining how she introduces new customers to the value of art.

Berry, in addition to other gallerists in Grand Rapids, is seeking experiences for customers, such as events, classes, and even furniture and interior design as ways to help the community connect and appreciate art.

In addition to a pop-up location within the Downtown Market  that's open November 2018 to January 2019, you can visit Lions & Rabbits' permanent location on Plainfield Road. The gallery's hours are: Sunday to Tuesday: Closed; Wednesday to Thursday: 11 AM - 4 PM; Friday: Noon - 6 PM; Saturday: 11 AM - 3 PM.

Light Gallery & Studio regularly offers workshops for artists of all skill levels.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids

Light Gallery + Studio

Address: 317 Division Ave S, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Hours: Sunday to Monday: Closed; Tuesday to Friday: 11 AM - 7 PM; Saturday: 11 AM - 3 PM

“We wanted to give artists an approachable platform for showing work and handmade goods, and in turn, create an approachable space for the public,” says Erika Townsley of Light Gallery + Studio. “We’re a shop for the collector-in-training…an opportunity for people to have artwork in their home that’s made by people who live in our community.”

Townsley and her partner Matthew Provoast are focusing on the “Studio” part of the gallery, with a large section of the space designed for workshops to help connect professional artists and non-artists, rather than emphasize their differences. Light Gallery + Studio currently offers painting, weaving, and brush lettering workshops.

Along with art, Townsley and Provoast have filled their space with handmade goods, mid-century furniture, vintage items, and plants.

“When we first opened, the first thing we did was buy a plant,” says Townsley. Her business partner went on to say, “The idea was to make [the space] feel comforting. There’s such a psychology behind plants and caring and nurturing,” says Provoast.

Rodolfo Gonzales Interior Design

Address: 40 Monroe Center St NW #105, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Hours: Hours vary. Please visit the shop's Facebook page for more details.

As co-owners of Rodolfo Gonzales Interior Design, the city’s latest gallery, Rodolfo Gonzales and Robert Gross can’t imagine their storefront without art to complete the space.

“You can have the most beautiful room, but if you don’t have art in the room, it falls short of good  design,” explains Gonzales. “When people come in looking for interior design, they may not know our brands that we offer [in furniture]; they may not know about the art. But it’s this symbiotic thing: they come in and say I need interior design help, and then they’ll see the furniture. And then see the art.”

Gonzales, originally from Holland, is returning to West Michigan after building his interior design business with shops in Raleigh, North Carolina and Chicago, Illinois.

“When we travel, we scope out the local talent wherever we travel to,” says Gonzales. “There’s so much beautiful art and wonderful talent all over the world. So what we’re trying to do is bring it all together.”

Visit the Rodolfo Gonzales Interior Design​'s Facebook page to stay up to date on its varying hours.

Longtime gallerist, Richard App, opened NOMAD Gallery, a continuously traveling studio space.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids

NOMAD Gallery by Richard App

Address: 72 Monroe Center St. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Hours: Hours vary. Please visit the gallery's Facebook page for more details.

NOMAD Gallery, a continuously traveling studio space by long-time gallerist, Richard App, is activating unfinished urban space on Monroe Center in downtown Grand Rapids near Rosa Parks Circle. The gallery fills the main floor atrium and basement with art, most of which is for sale. Due to its nomadic ways, NOMAD Gallery by Richard App has varying hours that frequently change. To stay updated on its hours of operations, or to reserve the space for an upcoming event, visit NOMAD Gallery by Richard App's Facebook page

Bend Gallery

Address: 40 Division Ave. S, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Hours: Open every First Friday  of the month from 6 to 9 PM

Bend Gallery, a small, artist-run contemporary art gallery, opened in July 2017 on Division Avenue in Grand Rapids' Heartside neighborhood. Founded by artist Madison May, Bend Gallery is a traditional gallery space that hosts non-traditional works of art. The gallery is open for Avenue for the Arts' monthly First Fridays event, which takes place the first Friday of every month from 6 to 9 PM. The gallery is also open by appointment. 

Muse GR is owned by husband and wife duo, Stephen and Taylor Smith.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids

Muse GR

Address: 727 Leonard Street NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Hours: Monday to Friday: 11 AM - 3 PM; Saturday: Noon - 8 PM; Sunday: 3 PM - 5 PM

Muse GR, opening just a few months prior Rodolfo Gonzales Interior Design, was named the Top 5 Shortlist finalist for Best Venue in ArtPrize10, and is already focusing on events and classes to create experiences around art and creativity.

“This place is more about creativity, and unlocking creativity,” says Stephen Smith, with his wife, Taylor, nodding in agreement.

The Smiths look to educate and reconnect people to the importance of art and creativity in their lives.

“We want this to be an interactive gallery,” explains Taylor Smith. “We want it to be more than people just coming and looking at the art, but we want to facilitate ways for people to interact with artists and experience something creative.”

They kicked off those experiences with their first event, “Summer Vibes,” a hip-hop themed event complete with graffiti, breakdancing, and artwork to match the studio’s atmosphere. A giant flamingo, blow-up palm trees, and ice cream and popsicles for guests upped the fun and the inspiration.

The husband and wife duo agree: Inspiration—what a muse provides, after all—is important.

There are plenty of museums, store fronts, and establishments within Grand Rapids to ponder and appreciate all kinds of art.

What’s your favorite place in town to boost your creativity and admire works of art? Let us know in the comments!

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