Michigan’s Good News from MLive.com and MLiveMediaGroup.com

Category: Community

Project 1 opening weekend and beyond: Don’t miss these events

Project 1 logo

Dancers rappelling off a rooftop to perform intricate routines 100 feet above street level on the side of a building in downtown Grand Rapids.

A cellist who creates a blend of hip-hop, folk, soul and classical music like has never been heard before in a Southeast Side park.

The U.S. debut of drag queens and kings living with Down Syndrome and expressing themselves on stage.

The artists and their mediums challenge the status quo.

And that’s exactly what the founders of Project 1 – the brainchild of ArtPrize organizers who are launching the public art exhibition’s new biennial structure on Sept. 7 – want to do. It’s part of the intentional effort to confront boundaries, both visible and invisible, that affect a sense of belonging.

“These artists are crossing lines of their genres and putting on a performance that people have never seen,” said Derek Call, ArtPrize’s director of operations and production. “We want people to be comfortable experiencing something new, and we are shining a spotlight on Grand Rapids as the place to go for art that opens your eyes to more than what is normally part of your life.

“The entire exhibition and the events we’ve curated around them will have people asking themselves ‘Will I ever witness anything like this again?’”

Project 1 bases five artists’ works at three sites around Grand Rapids. The artists – Amanda Browder, Heather Hart, Olalekan Jeyifous, Paul Amenta and Ted Lott and Rafael Lozano-Hemmer – were carefully selected, and the locations in downtown, at Martin Luther King Jr. Park and at a former manufacturing plant, were chosen to bring art to the people. It also is designed to take people to places in the city they may not have visited before.

Although the exhibition is primarily a self-guided exploration, there are free event-based performances and programming around artists’ installations. Project 1 leaders have structured the opening weekend with performances at each site. After that, the exhibition will highlight one location per weekend.

Here’s the itinerary for the free events and when to get a first glimpse of the art when it is amplified:

Opening Day, Sept. 7

The first Project 1 opens at noon at Rosa Parks Circle with a celebratory ribbon-cutting, the amazing elevated choreography of BANDALOOP as well as

Courtesy BANDALOOP/Jessica Swanson

Courtesy BANDALOOP/Jessica Swanson

dancers from the Grand Rapids Ballet performing on one half of Hart’s The Oracle of the Soulmates, a rooftop sculptures that will have an installation component in Martin Luther King Jr. Park. At 1 p.m., Rafael Lozano-Hemmer will take part in an artist discussion.

The day progresses to the park, where the second half of Hart’s installation will be available for viewing along with Amanda Browder’s largest work in Kaleidoscopic. Browder’s vibrant fabric creation will be draped over the exterior of a community center building. The park will also be the setting for cellist Jordan Hamilton’s musical fusion at 2 p.m., and an artist conversation with Hart and Browder.

The final part of the opening ceremonies takes art explorers to Tanglefoot, a former flypaper manufacturing campus that is now home to urban artist studios. Artists Paul Amenta and Ted Lott, who created Critical Infrastructure to focus on issues of accessibility, will have a 6 p.m. conversation with collaborators Chris Smit and Jill Vyn of DisArt.

DisArt will later host the Underground Drag show at a location to be determined.

Call said Project 1 staff hope to form a caravan of sorts with people flowing from site to site and taking in the installations as the opening weekend energy builds.

“It’s going to be a really great day with some moments visitors won’t want to miss,” he said. “We’re giving people an opportunity to interact with the art and the artists. We plan to carry that on throughout the event.”

Saturday, Sept. 14

The focal point of Project 1’s second weekend turns to the Blue Bridge over the Grand River and to the city’s West Side, which is hosting its annual street fair. The bridge is home to Lozano-Hemmer’s Voice Bridge, an installation on the iconic span’s handrails that allow participants to record a message and then experience it as it plays back on a loop while jumping from speaker to speaker.

Project 1 has enlisted Dan Deacon, a nationally recognized composer and performer, to take control of the interactive piece that is part architecture and

Dan Deacon: Courtesy Paradigm Talent Agency

Dan Deacon: Courtesy Paradigm Talent Agency

part performance art. Deacon, who has worked with artists ranging from Miley Cyrus to The Flaming Lips, will use the sound system and 400+ lights for a one-of-a-kind electronic music show.

The show begins at 8 p.m. as night sets in on Grand Rapids and the light displays will sync to the beat of the performance.

“Dan’s amazing and it’s going to be so cool to have him perform and have the lights responding to the music and the vibration,” Call said. “The Blue Bridge has never seen anything like this, that’s for sure.”

Saturday, Sept. 21

It’s time for a city-wide slow roll bicycle ride that takes art lovers to all three Project 1 locations and builds community by bringing together visitors and area residents. The ride is open to all skill levels and is not a timed event, Call said.

“This is a nice and easy ride, and it’s a really unique way to see the installations and meet new people along the way,” Call said.

The guided tour, which is approximately eight miles and will be roughly an hour of ride time, starts downtown at 8:30 a.m., features a group yoga warm-up and then makes stops at each site after taking off at 10 a.m. There is an extended stop at MLK Park, where Grand Rapids’ annual African American Art & Music Festival is taking place. Registration is required for the ride for logistical reasons and allocation of safety resources.

Organizers expect the tour to take approximately 2½ hours and the final route will bring riders past Olaleka Jeyifous’ The Boom and the Bust, a 25-foot sculpture at the corner of Louis Street and Monroe Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids. The installation juxtaposes massive downtown development alongside foreclosure and displacement.

“It’s going to be a cool way to explore art and explore the city’s neighborhoods from a different vantage point,” Call said. “You won’t be rushing by in a car or thinking about something else. You’re slowing down and seeing what’s around you. That’s something we as a whole don’t do enough of, finding out more about the community that we live in.”

Saturday, Sept. 28

The last themed weekend of events returns to the Tanglefoot site with Project 1 collaborator DisArt presenting a first-person multimedia project a la the non-profit StoryCorps. Titled Voices, the project gathers and visualizes stories of alienation from disabled community members and visitors to the site. The groundbreaking and instructive piece is open from noon to 10 p.m. and is set among the installations at the site.

“One thing we’re trying to do is give people a sense of belonging and a feeling that they’re welcome anywhere in the city,” Call said. “No one should be excluded because they don’t live somewhere or they don’t look a certain way. We all have our own story.”

The final month

Project 1 leaders believe visiting the installation sites during planned performances and then on a return self-guided visit will lead to different experiences. Pieces might strike a contrasting chord or be viewed in a different light. Perhaps guests will be more informed or more focused on the art.

“There will be moments that if you miss them, you’ll miss them and the interactivity can’t be recreated,” ArtPrize Artistic Director Kevin Buist said. “We think that will draw audiences and excite and inspire the visitors to gather together. And then people will want to go and get another unique look at the installations.

“That’s what we want people to do, to challenge themselves to see more.”

Visit the Project 1 website to learn more about the public art exhibition.

Learning through play: Grand Rapids Children’s Museum program gets preschoolers ready for kindergarten

Grand Rapids Children’s Museum and Grand Rapids Public Schools are teaming up to get more preschoolers ready for kindergarten through the growing ‘Purposefully Playing Toward Kindergarten’ program.

On one side of the classroom, a few children gathered around a sewing machine and put buttons on clothes. Three kids worked on puzzles at a table nearby. A lone boy cut out paper dolls with scissors. A girl painted at an easel.

On a play mat with pictures of roads and buildings, four boys driving matchbox cars led a teacher around town to the school and then to the supermarket.

“Where are we going to go now?” the teacher asked.

Hmm, maybe to the bin of blocks in the corner, or the play kitchen against the wall, or to a sensory table with pieces of colored macaroni.

Welcome to “Purposefully Playing Toward Kindergarten” (PPTK), a growing summer program that emphasizes open-ended play to get preschoolers ready for kindergarten.

“It looks different for each child,” said Onalee Melton, a site coordinator at Buchanan Elementary School, one of four campuses where PPTK is taking place this summer. “We have the blessing with this program to guide kids into whatever they’re excited about.”

About half of incoming kindergarteners these days are not prepared to succeed in school. In some cases, the children are lagging behind in their understanding of basic math concepts or their use of language. In other cases, they’re not quite ready socially or emotionally.

PPTK aims to build all of those kindergarten-readiness skills through a unique partnership involving the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) and donors including the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and Delta Dental. In the program, GRPS teachers and paraprofessionals are teaming with “play facilitators” from the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum to immerse students in four hours of open-ended play time Mondays through Thursdays for five weeks.

It’s the same kind of open-ended play the children would experience if they were to visit the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum downtown. Only the PPTK program is right at their local neighborhood school.

‘There are so many barriers for our kids in these neighborhoods to get to the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum that we’re not going to just stay inside our four walls anymore,” said Maggie Lancaster, the museum’s CEO. ‘We’re going to come to you and provide this wonderful open-ended play where you are.’

‘There are so many barriers for our kids in these neighborhoods to get to the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum that we’re not going to just stay inside our four walls anymore,” said Maggie Lancaster, the museum’s CEO. ‘We’re going to come to you and provide this wonderful open-ended play where you are.’

The children at each of the four sites eat breakfast and brush their teeth each morning and get lunch before they go home. In between, they enjoy about an hour-and-a-half of indoor exploration – building things out of magnetic tiles, for example, or making bead necklaces or figuring out how the sewing machine works. They also get about an hour of outdoor exploration.

In other words, they learn through play – even if they don’t realize that they’re learning.

“When they play with bubbles, when they play with Legos, when they play with slime, that open-ended play is a critical part of brain development,” said Maggie Lancaster, CEO of the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. “That’s where we come in. If you go into our museum you’ll never see signs. There’s no way that we’re ever going to tell anybody how to play with something or where to go or what to do. It has to be child-led. GRPS has provided that opportunity in this summer program as well.”

PPTK is a free program that began two summers ago with 25 children and now involves 205 children at four GRPS schools – Buchanan, Kent Hills, Martin Luther King and Sibley. Partners plan to expand the program even more in 2020.

Grand Rapids Children's Museum PPTKMany families can’t afford preschool, so PPTK fills the gap by exposing them to play-based learning in a structured environment with a high adult-to-child ratio. Having a safe space with the opportunity for open-ended play helps the children build confidence and a sense of autonomy, said Lauren Greer, director of education for the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum.

“The best parts are the tiny stories that come out of each day, where maybe one child who isn’t very verbal one day had a lot to stay about something, or some child has a breakthrough and discovers that they love painting and they paint all day,” Greer said.

“That’s how you know this is really valuable. The space that we’re providing these children for their social and emotional growth is most important.”

The growth of the program alone is evidence that parents find value in PPTK. But the program also is proving to be successful at preparing kids for kindergarten. By the end of the summer, 90 percent of parents feel that their children are ready for school, said Yazeed Moore, program officer with the Kellogg Foundation.

Plus, each child in PPTK gets a free Grand Rapids Children’s Museum membership for a year so they can experience even more open-ended play.

The bottom line is that through play, more children are having fun and getting ready to hit the ground running on their first day of kindergarten – which is critical to their chances of long-term academic success.

“Kindergarten readiness is so critical,” said Kate Lara, GRPS director of early childhood. “To be able to learn the academic skills of kindergarten, you need to have those social skills as your basis first. Right now (through PPTK), they’re learning how school works. GRCM PPTKThey’re learning that it’s a safe space. They’re learning that there’s expectations and that they can follow those expectations. They’re learning what a classroom is, how to function in school and how to function with their peers.

“We’re going to have 205 kids who are much more ready for kindergarten than they sure would have been without this program.”

Project 1 by ArtPrize: A complete guide on what to know before the public art exhibit debuts

Project 1 logo

As the artistic director for ArtPrize, Kevin Buist didn’t know what to expect 10 years ago when the public art exhibition with the world’s largest financial prize debuted in Grand Rapids.

Buist is in similar unknown territory this fall with the launch of Project 1 by ArtPrize.

The organization’s new vision of an interactive art exhibition is carefully curated with five intentionally selected artists who will launch the concept with their work at three sites in and near the city’s downtown.

“Project 1 flips ArtPrize on its head,” Buist said recently. “We’re taking our resources and investing them in a smaller number of commissioned pieces with no competition. ArtPrize was very experimental, and it became, and will continue to be, a great success.

“For Project 1, we had to be willing to make a shift to breathe new life into the community and ask new questions. The artists are crafting massive public and interactive pieces that couldn’t exist in a competition format. It’s an exciting step in continuing to make Grand Rapids the pre-eminent location for remarkable art in the fall.”

And Buist has no doubt that will be the case. The experience will be different, but it will be just as memorable for visitors, he believes.

“These are going to be big, beautiful projects that people will want to explore. They’ll want to photograph them,” Buist said. “This is serious art that has a ‘Gee, Whiz,’ factor. There’s still going to be a huge art exhibit, and I think people will understand and appreciate the change after they witness it.”

The evolution to a biennial structure, ArtPrize will return in 2020, also allowed the ArtPrize team to deepen the significance of art by creating a theme that serves as an inspiration for the pieces while also examining critical issues. Project 1 selected “Crossed Lines” to look at how boundaries, both visible and invisible, affect a sense of belonging that can unite or divide the city.

“Art can deal with difficult topics and reveal histories that are uncomfortable or contemporary practices that may not be widely known,” Buist said. “This is not prescriptive or didactic. We’re not looking for a particular outcome. Art is open to interpretation, and ultimately, we hope to expand people’s views about life and empower them to think critically.”

When is Project 1 being held?

The first Project 1 will run from Sept. 7 to Oct. 27, a much longer event than ArtPrize, which typically lasts about two weeks. Project 1 will still be a self-guided exploration, but there will be more event-based performances and programming around artists’ installations. The plan is to kickoff the opening weekend with a burst of activity at each site and then highlight one particular location per weekend in a rotation.

Where will the art be located?

There are three primary sites:

  • Downtown Grand Rapids, which will feature a walkable experience with installations by four of the five commissioned artists. Exact locations of the art will be revealed shortly before the opening of Project 1.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Southeast Grand Rapids, where one artist will locate a piece that visitors can walk and climb on, as well as venture inside. The piece will also be a stage for local music, dance and spoken word. Another artist will use the park’s community lodge as a centerpiece.
  • Tanglefoot is a former flypaper manufacturing campus that is now home to urban artist studios, on the city’s near Southwest side. Here artists will build spaces for use by other artists and encourage audiences and performers to occupy a courtyard space at 314 Straight St. SW.

 

The artists and their Project 1 plans:

Amanda BrowderAmanda Browder: Browder creates large-scale, vibrant fabric installations and transforms building exteriors into multi-colored sculptures. The largest and most ambitious section of Kaleidoscopic will be draped over the exterior of a community center building in Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Southeast Grand Rapids. Browder will also wrap four skywalks which link buildings in the heart of downtown. The final section will cover the facade of a building at the Tanglefoot site on the southwest side of the city.

Heather Hart

Heather Hart: Hart creates submerged rooftops, complete with shingles and dormer windows, that look like they were dropped from the sky. The rooftops refer to home, stability or shelter. Hart speaks about the rooftops as thresholds between public and private space. Combined with family and oral histories, and activated by performance, her work explores the power these thresholds have in our lives. Hart will create The Oracle of the Soulmates — twin rooftop sculptures, one in the center of Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids, the other on the lawn in MLK Park. Climb on the rooftops and venture inside the attics.

 

O Jeyifous

Olalekan Jeyifous: Jeyifous’ work in public art and installation explores the past and potential futures of urban environments. He will create The Boom and the Bust — a sculpture referencing the historic and contemporary challenges of housing discrimination and the inequities of urban life. This abstracted multi-story building form will rise 25-feet from the ground at the corner of Louis Street and Monroe Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids. The sculpture arises from the artist’s research into the recent history of housing in Grand Rapids. By combining references to skyscrapers and single-family houses, it juxtaposes massive downtown development alongside foreclosure and displacement.

Amenta Lott

Paul Amenta and Ted Lott: Amenta and Lott, known for their history of wide-ranging collaborative artistic productions with SiTE:LAB, will present Critical Infrastructure — a site-specific architectural intervention at the landmarkTanglefoot Building. In collaboration with DisArt, an arts and culture organization that focuses on creating public art events that cultivate and communicate a disabled culture, the intervention will create an environment that addresses issues of accessibility in both form and function. The project will reimagine the site by temporarily transforming a private space into a fully accessible public space, through a series of ramps and landings which welcome visitors and a wide variety of performances and interventions by other artists.

Lozano Hemmer

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Lozano-Hemmer develops interactive installations that live at the intersection of architecture and performance art. He will create a new site-specific installation called Voice Bridge. Along the handrails of Grand Rapids’ iconic Blue Bridge — a pedestrian bridge which connects the East and West sides ofdowntown over the Grand River — you’ll find speakers and 400 lights that shine on the footpath of the bridge. You’ll control the intensity of each light by speaking into the intercoms at each end of the bridge and recording a message. Once recorded, your message will play back as a loop — jumping from speaker to speaker across the bridge as more messages are recorded.

 

What is the expectation?

Project 1 leaders believe the installation sites will have contrasting experiences, ephemeral but enduring. Visiting while the location is activated with planned performances will be different than when guests return and challenge themselves to see the art in another light.

“There will be moments that if you miss them, you’ll miss them and the interactivity can’t be recreated,” Buist said. “We think that will draw audiences and excite and inspire the visitors to gather together. And then people will want to go and get another unique look at the installations.

“People will be surprised and challenged and engaged, but, yeah, it’s a bit of an unknown right now. That’s a fine place for us to be in because we want to see the reaction to something that, again, is totally new.”

Learn more about Project 1 by visiting the art exhibition’s website.

The HAP Crim Festival of Races: ‘It’s a celebration’ that will change the way you look at Flint

As the race director for the Crim Festival of Races, Andy Younger witnesses the excitement of runners crossing the finish line and the incredible spirit of the community supporters, but every year there are moments that provide waves of satisfaction that have little to do with running.

“Without fail, every year, I hear people say, ‘Wow, I didn’t know that Flint was this nice,’” Younger said. “And that’s what the Crim is really about. It’s not just a race, it’s a celebration that shows off the best of Flint and changes the way people look at our city.

“Flint is roaring back and people may not realize all of the positive things that are happening downtown. Restaurants are thriving and new ones are opening all the time. Businesses are succeeding, and we’re growing by leaps and bounds. It’s completely different from what people picture.”

The 43rd annual Crim races and surrounding community events are set to highlight Flint on Aug. 23-24. In addition to the 10-mile, 5-mile and 5K races on Saturday, Aug. 24, the city will host the Michigan Mile and a free “Rock the Block Crimstock,” concert on the evening of Aug. 23. The post-race celebration will feature more live music and a festive atmosphere.

Each year the Crim welcomes up to 15,000 runners and as many as 50,000 spectators. It is among the five largest 10-mile races in the U.S. and attracts many of the country’s top runners, including an appearance by Parker Stinson this year. Stinson holds the American record in the 25K, and it’s possible he’ll challenge the 1983 U.S. 10-mile record held by Michigan native Greg Meyer.

The 10-mile race began in August 1977 by Michigan House Speaker Bobby Crim, and the ensuing years have seen it develop into an institution in Michigan running circles. The Crim Fitness Foundation, which organizes race day, focuses its year-round efforts on improving the community’s health and quality of life.

“The entire weekend totally transforms downtown,” Younger said. “There are just people everywhere and you can feel the energy of the city and the shared experience that people are feeding off.”

The race courses wind through Flint’s downtown, with the signature 10-mile event taking runners through the scenic University of Michigan-Flint campus and toward Kettering University, one of the best engineering schools in the country. Each university is involved in the race and in a deep commitment to the community, Younger said.

Participants will then head through the Mott Park neighborhood, a region of the city marked by green space and public parks, before hitting the storied “Bradley Hills,” Flint’s version of the Boston Marathon’s Heartbreak Hill.

“The Bradley Hills are a nice feature that make the Crim challenging for runners of all abilities,” Younger said. “It’s kind of that midway point, and once you’re done, you know you’re on your way in to the finish.”

Next comes the city’s southwest side and a visit to the Woodcroft Estates subdivision, where historic homes feature a look at Flint’s past in the structures that date to the 1920s. The neighborhood, Younger said, generally hosts the greatest concentration of race support outside of downtown.

“It’s legendary what they do out there for the runners and there’s never a dull moment,” Younger said. “There are crowds of people and bands and ‘unofficial aid stations’ handing out all sorts of refreshments to keep people going. There are a lot of good distractions in Woodcroft, and the residents really get into it.”

The final mile of the Crim leads runners through the American Mile, where veterans, active military and their supporters cheer and distribute hand-held flags to participants. It’s a show of national pride and spirit, and a way for people to give back to each other, Younger said.

“It’s that final extra burst of energy, and it’s cool,” he said. “It gives runners a chance to show their appreciation to the armed forces, and it’s a fun thing for them to do for the community.”

Visit the Crim website to learn more and register for your next race.

 

Animals, Autos and Altruism – Suburban Collection Sponsors Pet Adoption Day

Why community connections are a priority for Suburban Collection dealerships

Jenna and Zachary Kanfer woke up early to score the first spot in line at the annual “Meet Your Best Friend at the Zoo” pet adoption event that has helped more than 25,000 dogs, cats and rabbits find new homes in the last 26 years.

At the ages of 10 and 12, respectively, the children of Rachel and Darin Kanfer have been anxious to add a new pet to their Royal Oak household for months. The Detroit Zoo’s adoption drive – one of the largest off-site adoption events in the country – served as ideal location for the Kanfers to find an animal to love.

“They really want a puppy, and adoption is very important to us,” Rachel Kanfer said as she stood in a line of about 100 people awaiting the opening of the zoo’s grounds. “We believe in rescuing animals because there are so many that need a warm and caring home.

“That’s why this is such a great event and a great option for people who are looking to make a connection with animals.”

The Suburban Collection is among a host of backers who underwrite and help pull the event together every year, bringing dozens of Southeast Michigan animal welfare organizations together. In addition to its sponsorship, Suburban Collection President & COO David Fischer Jr., presented Detroit Zoological Society and Michigan Humane Society leaders with a $37,511 donation raised during Subaru’s Share the Love sales drive.

“Part of our core DNA is helping solve problems,” Fischer said. “We want to make the communities where we do business better for the people who are our neighbors, and that’s why we support more than 100 local charities every year.”

Fischer said Suburban places a primary focus on education, children’s welfare, cancer research and providing for families’ basic needs.

“We are very passionate about this as a Michigan company made up of people who care,” Fischer said.

The Suburban Collection has a long history in Metro Detroit, dating to 1948 when Richard “Dick” Fischer opened Suburban Motors in Birmingham. It has since grown, continually Michigan-based and under family ownership, to employ more than 3,000 people under 35 auto brands and 53 locations, including collision centers and auto parts stores.

Detroit Zoo CEO Ron Kagan said the Suburban Collection’s support of the adoption event is emblematic of its commitment to help Michigan move forward.

“We are very appreciative of what Suburban does for the zoo, but I’ve seen what they do around the community and it goes well beyond one organization,” Kagan said. “They’re really a model corporate supporter that looks to make life better for people in Michigan.

“(The Detroit Zoo and I) have been lucky to have a long relationship with the Fischer family. They are awesome people, and I hope what they do inspires all of our corporate citizens to action to be the best they can be.”

Visit the Suburban Collection website to learn more about the company’s 70-year history of serving Michigan residents.

World-famous muralist and 5 more “can’t miss” highlights at the 2019 Lakeshore Art Festival

In April, muralist Kelsey Montague collaborated with Taylor Swift to launch the pop sensation’s newest single. 

Come July, Montague, who has built an international following with large scale winged mural pieces, will drive excitement around the Lakeshore Art Festival, centered in Downtown Muskegon on July 5-6, by creating a must-see piece for visitors to enjoy. 

Kelsey Montague created a one-of-a-kind mural representing Muskegon County, located on the Frauenthal Center in Downtown Muskegon.
Pose in front of the butterfly, snap a photo and hashtag #ThisIsMuskegon and #WhatLiftsYou!

“We are thrilled and elated that she is going to be here and become a permanent part of our community,” said Carla Flanders, the art festival’s director. “We’ve been so impressed with her work and how intentional and interactive it is. Her pieces are inspirational, inclusive and uplifting. It’s a great message and a great fit for the Lakeshore Art Festival and for Muskegon.”

The colorful mural and its intricate design will dominate the East side of the Frauenthal Center, becoming an attraction that continues Muskegon’s metamorphosis and its thriving downtown, Flanders said.  

Montague’s artwork will join only 77 other works around the world, including one in Ann Arbor and another in Detroit. The pieces appeal to people looking for bright art images and are a favorite of social media users. 

It’s really exciting to have Kelsey be a part of the Lakeshore Art Festival. Her butterfly-wing mural is not only breathtaking, but it is symbolic for the many changes our community has gone through and the beautiful downtown it is today Flanders said. “This new permanent piece, coupled with the hundreds of artists at the Lakeshore Art Festival, sets the stage for another stellar year of artful engagement!” 

The art festival is a summer tradition, drawing artists and visitors from around the country, leading to it earning honors as the best contemporary and classic art show in Michigan and the 11th best in the nation by Sunshine Artist Magazine. The weekend also serves as an economic engine for the Lakeshore community, with research showing the festival has had a $5.6 million impact since 2013. Annual attendance reaches 60,000 people, Flanders said. 

“People are drawn here by the quality of art and the hospitality of the community,” said Flanders. “It’s an honor when people are excited to come back and spread the word about how incredible this festival is to attend.” 

Here are five more must-see highlights for 2019: 

Shopper’s Paradise 

The festival’s jury committee creates a marketplace for unique fine art and handcrafted goods by jurying more than 450 artists who apply for entry. The team then invites the art entrepreneurs to share their talents and one-of-a-kind wares in Hackley Park and throughout the vibrant downtown surrounding streets.  

“You can find something for everyone here,” said Flanders. “It’s truly an artisan’s market with pieces you won’t find anywhere else. We have a beautiful setting with handcrafted art that is truly remarkable.” 

There are more than 380 booths, with roughly 120 fine art exhibitors creating art with distinctive styles and various mediums including handblown glass, paintings, sculptures, photography, fibers and more. 

Wine and Beer Garden 

If shopping isn’t your top choice among things to do – or you just need to drop off a partner where they’ll be entertained – the festival hosts a wine and beer garden in Hackley Park and it is the perfect place to unwind. Visitors can grab a glass of wine or a craft brew and stroll through the fine art in the park or take a break from patrolling the booths and enjoy the stage entertainment. 

“It was a natural fit and a great way to enhance the festival experience,” Flanders said. “It’s such a beautiful setting that you can sit back, relax and enjoy everything that is going on around you.” 

Children’s Lane 

The Lakeshore Arts Festival opens the door for children to experience beauty through different visions and presents an opportunity to expose them as budding artists through interactive activities.

Kids can watch a stage performance, make personalized paintings and participate in theatrical games, all captivating, enriching and educational by nature. This year’s theme, the butterfly, is right in line with not only the new Kelsey Montague mural, but also the butterfly scavenger hunt, butterfly educational booth and butterfly interactive dance.    

“It’s everything artful and engaging and getting kids to think outside of the box,” Flanders said. “Each area has something new and interesting for children to do.” 

The Food 

Come for the art, and then let your taste buds take over during a culinary timeout from your shopping adventures. The streets are lined with vendors who offer everything from classic fair foods to tasty sandwiches, BBQ, sirloin beef tips, desserts and much more 

“There’s African-style food,  Mediterranean cuisine, and of course festival food favorites like soft pretzels, elephant ears and fresh squeezed lemonade. Really, there is something for every foodie to enjoy,” Flanders said. 

Flanders doesn’t like to play favorites – and suggests that visitors follow their own cravings – but at least once every year she’ll make her way to the Ice Box Brand Ice Cream Bars truck for a locally-made treat from the Whitehall-based business. 

“They’re heavenly,” she said. 

Authors’ Tent and Interactive Art 

Find Michigan’s next great writer among 20 Mitten-centric authors who will be at the show in the Emerging Author’s tent. The authors are available for one-on-one discussions and to provide signed copies of their books that will likely be next on your summer reading list. 

“This is a great chance for some exposure and to get the word out about their writings,” Flanders said. “We want to support creative expression of all kinds at our show.” 

The festival even gives visitors the chance to participate in creating their own art with Chalk The Walk and the Community Interactive Art ProjectOn July 5 from 4-6pm chalk will be set out for guests to take sidewalk art to the streets of Western Avenue. If chalk isn’t your style, then the Community Interactive Art Project will allow you to create a masterpiece of art with paint on canvas! Each year thousands of people bring new excitement and their own touch of creativity to the event. 

“It’s always really cool to see what people come up with,” Flanders said. “Everyone from kids and their parents, to art students and grandparents, get out there and get creative.” 

Visit the Lakeshore Art Festival’s website to discover more about the exciting weekend in Muskegon. 

 

 

Sharing Michigan’s Best News for stronger communities. Brought to you by MLive.com and MLive Media Group.

Use of and/or registration on any portion of this site constitutes acceptance of our User Agreement (updated 5/25/18) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated 5/25/18).
© 2018 Advance Local Media LLC. All rights reserved (About Us).
The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Advance Local.
Your California Privacy Rights.