This fall, from September 7 – October 27, Grand Rapids welcomes a brand-new multi-site public art exhibition, Project 1: Crossed Lines, which comes from the minds behind the now biennial art competition, ArtPrize. The exhibition’s theme will explore the lines that unite and divide us, how those boundaries affect our sense of belonging, and how art can help transform cities into places where everyone belongs.

For this first year, Project 1 has commissioned exhibits by five local and international artists whose work will be installed in three Grand Rapids sites: Martin Luther King Jr. Park (MLK Park), the Tanglefoot building, and several spots throughout downtown Grand Rapids. The exhibition will also include an array of performances and community events. 

Find more details about locations and artists on the Project 1 page. 

As with ArtPrize, thousands of visitors are expected to visit Grand Rapids for Project 1. While you’re in town for it, you’ll want to take advantage of Grand Rapids’ numerous fun, cultural activities.

For the easiest and most cost-effective way to experience Grand Rapids’ vibrant art and culture scene, consider purchasing the Culture Pass GR. The three-day pass gives you free admission to some of Grand Rapids most sought-after attractions, most within close proximity to each other. 

Many Culture Pass GR attractions are also near Project 1 sites, making it easy to check them out while you're in town.

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in Grand Rapids, MI, offers plenty to explore, both inside and out.

During Project 1, don't miss out on the Ford Museum's exhibit, "Extraordinary Circumstances," which showcases photographs of President Ford taken by his White House photographer, David Hume Kennerly.

Photo Credit: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum


Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum is in close proximity to multiple Project 1 exhibits:

  • One mile from the Blue Bridge (Rafael Lozano-Hemmer); Amway walkway (one of four by Amanda Browder);  Louis St./Monroe St. (Olalekan Jeyifous); and Rosa Parks Circle (artist Heather Hart) 
  • Two miles from Tanglefoot (artists Paul Amenta & Ted Lott and Amanda Browder)
  • Four miles from MLK Park (artists Amanda Browder and Heather Hart)

Informative, entertaining, and reflective, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum invites visitors to experience highlights from the former President and First Lady’s lives. 

The permanent exhibit includes fascinating facts from President Ford’s childhood through his post-presidential years that bring history alive. You can see the original Watergate burglary tools, step into a replica of the Oval Office, and so much more. Be sure to check into the museum’s family-friendly events and lectures to see if any coincide with your visit.

The museum regularly hosts temporary exhibits to supplement and enhance the permanent exhibit. This year, through November 3, 2019, the temporary exhibit is a beautiful photography exhibition portraying President Ford's humanity, Extraordinary Circumstances. The images in the collection were taken and chosen by David Hume Kennerly, President Gerald Ford's personal White House photographer.

Visitors can also stroll by the burial sites of President Ford and Betty B. Ford, who are buried on the grounds of the museum.

Works by local artists and interesting historical records, documents, and objects fill the walls and shelves at the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives.

Works by local artists and interesting historical records, documents, and objects fill the walls and shelves at the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids


Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives (GRAAMA)

The GRAAMA is in close proximity to multiple Project 1 exhibits:

  • Half a mile from the Blue Bridge (Rafael Lozano-Hemmer); Louis St./Monroe St. (Olalekan Jeyifous); Amway walkway (one of four by Amanda Browder); and Rosa Parks Circle (artist Heather Hart)
  • 1.5 miles from Tanglefoot (artists Paul Amenta & Ted Lott and Amanda Browder)
  • 2.5 miles from Martin Luther King Jr. Park (artists Amanda Browder and Heather Hart)

Works by local artists and interesting historical records, documents, and objects fill the walls and shelves at the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives

GRAAMA’s stated mission is “to promote, preserve, display, collect and honor the lives, culture, history, and accomplishments of Africans, African Americans and connected peoples in the greater Grand Rapids community.” It does so through recorded oral histories, memorabilia, exhibits, and more.

As the museum honors the history of the local black community, its acronym also pays homage to the role women, specifically grandmothers, have played in the community. Although males were typically responsible for passing down verbal history in African culture, it’s primarily been the grandmother, or GRAAMA, who’s held that role in America.

While you're downtown for Project 1, be sure to visit the GRAM, which houses a permanent collection of more than 6,000 works of art.

While you're downtown for Project 1, be sure to visit the GRAM, which houses a permanent collection of more than 6,000 works of art.

Photo Credit: Brian Craig for Experience Grand Rapids


Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) 

The GRAM is in close proximity to multiple Project 1 exhibits:

  • A quarter-mile from Amway walkway (one of four by Amanda Browder) and Rosa Parks Circle (artist Heather Hart)
  • Half mile from the Blue Bridge (Rafael Lozano-Hemmer)
  • One mile from Louis St./Monroe St. (Olalekan Jeyifous)
  • 1.5 miles from Tanglefoot (artists Paul Amenta & Ted Lott and Amanda Browder)  and Martin Luther King Jr. Park (artists Amanda Browder and Heather Hart)

As the first LEED Gold Certified Art Museum in the world, when the current Grand Rapids Art Museum facility was built in 2007, Newsweek promptly named it one of the best buildings of the year. With a history dating to 1910, the GRAM houses a permanent collection of more than 6,000 works of art, which is constantly growing and changing.

Curators select from the collection of paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, decorative arts, sculpture, and design and modern craft works to refresh the galleries every quarter. Collections range from Renaissance to Modern Art, with a special focus on 19th and 20th century European and American art.

In addition to its impressive permanent collection, GRAM hosts a variety of visiting exhibits. During Project 1, you’ll be able to see two visiting exhibits. The first is Billy Mayer: The Shape of Things. The exhibit, which features the large and small-scale sculptures of artist Billy Mayer, is anchored by an installation of more than four hundred handcrafted, small clay skulls. The skulls and everyday images and objects they’re topped with are meant to represent the artists’ thoughts and memories.

A second visiting exhibit you’ll be able to enjoy during part of Project 1, is David Wiesner & The Art of Wordless Storytelling. Opening October 12, 2019, the exhibition displays 70 original watercolors from some of Wiesner’s most famous books, including three Caldecott Medal winners.

The museum is also home to a Welcome Center for visitors and locals, with helpful staff to greet you, answer questions, and provide free maps, brochures, and more. For those visiting during the week, the museum is free to visit all day on Tuesdays and during the evening on Thursdays.

Visit the Grand Rapids Children's Museum to put your children's creativity and imagination to the test.

Grand Rapids Children’s Museum encourages kids to design, build, and experience creative play through hands-on exploration.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids


Grand Rapids Children’s Museum (GRCM)

The GRCM is in close proximity to multiple Project 1 exhibits:

  • Half mile from the Blue Bridge (Rafael Lozano-Hemmer); Louis St./Monroe St.  (Olalekan Jeyifous); Amway walkway (one of four by Amanda Browder) and Rosa Parks Circle (artist Heather Hart)
  • 1.5 miles from Tanglefoot (artists Paul Amenta & Ted Lott and Amanda Browder)
  • 2.5 miles from MLK Park (artists Amanda Browder and Heather Hart)

Imagination reigns at the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, where kids are encouraged to design, build, and experience creative play through hands-on exploration. The self-directed play environment seeks to build young minds and inspire learning – all while kids (and, let’s face it, adults) have fun.

With 18 permanent and continuously rotating temporary exhibits, kids can try their hand at a variety of types of play. Kids can create whatever their minds conjure with oversized blocks, piping, planks, pulleys, nuts, bolts and rope in the Think Tank Exhibit. From viewing X-rays in the Diagnosis: Fun exhibit, which features toy medical equipment, to donning a hard hat and tool belt in the Kidstruction Zone, the GRCM has something for every child. The Bubbles exhibit remains a timeless favorite – it’s tough for any child or adult to resist stepping inside a giant bubble!

The new limited-time exhibit Amazing Dinosaurs! will be available during Project 1. Kids can explore the habitats and behaviors of these amazing creatures, while they get hands-on with giant, lifelike dinosaur re-creations. They can also play the role of paleontologist, digging for hatchlings and fossils, making dinosaur tracks, and more.

If you have a child with sensory needs, ask for a sensory bag front desk, which contains helpful headphones, a card to help children identify emotions, and more. Look for sensory-friendly signage throughout the museum, as well.

Grand Rapids Public Museum Tour
Visitors to the Grand Rapids Public Museum

The GRPM will host an official Project 1 piece created by Grand Rapids Public Schools' fourth graders.

Photo Credit: Mod Bettie for Experience Grand Rapids


Grand Rapids Public Museum (GRPM) 

GRPM is in close proximity to multiple Project 1 exhibits:

  • A quarter-mile from Amway walkway (one of four by Amanda Browder) 
  • Half mile from the Blue Bridge (Rafael Lozano-Hemmer); Louis St./Monroe St. (Olalekan Jeyifous); and Rosa Parks Circle (artist Heather Hart) 
  • 1.5 miles from Tanglefoot (artists Paul Amenta & Ted Lott and Amanda Browder)
  • 3.5 miles from MLK Park (artists Amanda Browder and Heather Hart)

The world-class exhibits at the Grand Rapids Public Museum include a fascinating combination of permanent and temporary collections. The exhibits focus on history, nature, and cultural heritage, preserving the treasures of the past and present to help visitors learn more about the people and places of Grand Rapids (and beyond).

Founded in 1845, the museum’s permanent history exhibits include Streets of Old Grand Rapids, where visitors can walk through a detailed recreation of an 1890s streetscape, experiencing what Grand Rapids was like way back when; Anishnabek: The People of This Place, a gallery and collection that explores Native American contributions to West Michigan; Habitats, which transports visitors through the natural environments of Michigan; and much more.

During Project 1, the GRPM will be featuring the temporary exhibit, Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863, and the March on Washington, 1963 (through October 13, 2019). The exhibit is included with general admission and examines the relationship and connections between The Emancipation Proclamation (1862) and the March on Washington (1963).

There will also be an official Project 1 exhibit in the museum's front lawn by Grand Rapids Public School Fourth Graders, called Flexible Fences.

The GRPM houses the Chaffee Planetarium, a 146-seat theater with a 50-foot dome that features a variety of shows daily. It also features the working 1928 Spillman Carousel, whose 44 hand-carved, jeweled animals, lights, and music charm visitors from around the globe.

Similar to John Ball Zoo, the GRPM offers sensory kits, signage for headphone zones and quiet areas, and other features to help those with sensory sensitivities enjoy their experience. 

Pointing at an animal exhibit at the John Ball Zoo.

From its 600-foot Zipline and four-story Ropes Adventure course, to camel rides and toucans, John Ball Zoo provides fun for all ages.

Photo Credit: Experience Grand Rapids


John Ball Zoo

John Ball Zoo is in close proximity to multiple Project 1 exhibits:

Visitors have enjoyed the animals at John Ball Zoo since 1891. Today, with tigers, grizzly bears, snow leopards, otters, and so much more, John Ball Zoo provides a wonderful experience for both kids and adults.

Scenic paths with lots of greenery take you through a variety of exhibits, which include plenty of indoor and outdoor viewing. Be sure to stop by and see the colorful new exhibit: Toco Toucans.

In addition to exciting exhibits, John Ball Zoo also features a 600-foot Zipline, four-story Ropes Adventure course, and camel rides.

As you plan your visit, consider taking the Funicular (tram) when you start, especially if you have a child in a stroller. The Funicular takes you from near the entrance to the highest point of the zoo, so you can enjoy all the exhibits as you walk downhill.

If you walk through the zoo from the regular entrance, you can also take the funicular once you reach the top of the Forest Realm Trail to return you to the front entrance at the bottom of the hill.

John Ball Zoo offers sensory-friendly amenities, such as sensory kits and signage for headphone zones and quiet areas. Learn more in this recent blog about sensory-friendly experiences in Grand Rapids. 

Concessions are available in the zoo.

Visitors will find a variety of creative experiences at UICA, including contemporary visual art, music, film, literature, dance, and performance art.

Visitors will find a variety of creative experiences at UICA, including contemporary visual art, music, film, literature, dance, and performance art.

Photo Credit: Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts


Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts (UICA)

UICA is in close proximity to multiple Project 1 exhibits:

  • A quarter-mile from Louis St./Monroe St. (Olalekan Jeyifous)
  • Half mile from the Blue Bridge (Rafael Lozano-Hemmer); Amway walkway (one of four by Amanda Browder); and Rosa Parks Circle (artist Heather Hart)
  • 1.5 miles from Tanglefoot (artists Paul Amenta & Ted Lott and Amanda Browder)
  • 2.5 miles from MLK Park (artists Amanda Browder and Heather Hart)

Michigan’s largest multidisciplinary contemporary arts center, the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts desires to spark thought and dialogue through a wide variety of creative experiences, including contemporary visual art, music, film, literature, dance, and performance art.

In addition to thought-provoking exhibitions, the UICA hosts concerts, performance art, gallery talks, and more. Six days a week you can also catch independent movies (and more) in its theater.

During Project 1, beginning September 6 and running through December 20, 2019, the UICA will host the SPECTRA exhibit, which will display a diverse group of contemporary, non-representational artwork, each of which has a foundation in abstract art theories

There’s More

In addition to three days of access to some of Grand Rapids most popular cultural venues, the Culture Pass GR also includes exclusive discounts at dozens of other venues and activities, including Civic Theatre, Opera Grand Rapids, and much more!

The passes are easy to buy and use – they’re delivered instantly to your phone and can be used immediately. Download your passes and be sure to let us know your favorite spots. Need help navigating your way around? Our map of Project 1 locations and cultural attractions can help.

 

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