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GRDadof3

Time for a true Grand Rapids Arts Fair?

Is Grand Rapids overdue and capable of having its own Arts Festival   32 members have voted

  1. 1. Time for an Arts Festival separate from Festival?

    • Yes, Festival is not a "true" Arts Festival
      27
    • No, the small art exhibits at Festival are enough
      4
    • No, there are enough other art festivals around the State
      1

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20 posts in this topic

Grand Rapids Magazine has an interesting article regarding the lack of a true Arts Festival in Grand Rapids, similar to Arts Fairs in Ann Arbor and East Lansing. Is Grand Rapids overdue?

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Ann Arbor Art Fair

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I agree with the article.

I would love to have local artists' work displayed in my home

and it would be nice to have the choices that you can get at a

good art festival.

The one in Saugatuck is pretty good, but always really packed.

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Grand Rapids Magazine has an interesting article regarding the lack of a true Arts Festival in Grand Rapids, similar to Arts Fairs in Ann Arbor and East Lansing. Is Grand Rapids overdue?

street.jpg

Ann Arbor Art Fair

possibl yblock off division by the new artisits lofts... that would bring business to that area and make it more of an "art center"

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I would say, instead of a new art fair, make Festival a real art fair.

In fact, take it a step further and create something smaller, but akin to Art Basel in Switzerland and Miami, or a show like the Whitney Biennial.

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Fantastic idea! I love the art fair in E. Lansing and would love to see something like that in GR. In fact, I'm somewhat surprised it has not already happened.

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What i think would be great is to have festival going on DT and have an arts fair going on around the UICA/Avenue of the Arts/Heartside.

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Let Festival be what it is, people like it. As far as developing a high end, international arts festival I am all in favor and would be willing to help organize it. GR has done it before, albeit thirty or so years ago, a little thing called

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[Art Minor Speaking] But what is art? Some would say a parking lot is an art gallery offering a myriad of hue and medium, sleek lines, and graceful curves. Others would say that they are cars. [/Art Minor Speaking]

I am a huge fan of public art. I think that it would be terrific.

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I'm in. Leave Festival be, people love it. But start an Art Festival - maybe close Monroe North of Sixth Street and use the street and the sidewalks and the river walk. It'd be beautiful. If anyone is serious about this, I'd love to be involved. It's a huge undertaking but I think the time has come and it could be done.

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I'm in. Leave Festival be, people love it. But start an Art Festival - maybe close Monroe North of Sixth Street and use the street and the sidewalks and the river walk. It'd be beautiful. If anyone is serious about this, I'd love to be involved. It's a huge undertaking but I think the time has come and it could be done.

What about the one day art festival at Monroe and Sixth Street, the Riverside Arts and Crafts Fair/Jam on the Grand/Riverstock Folk Festival in August? I've been to it before and it's a start, but it could definitely use some expanding and an increase in the quality of the work being sold.

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Funny you should ask.

The genesis of the Festivals was an art fair held, I believe, in John Ball Park starting in the early 1960s. It was expanded in 1970 to be a Festival including musical events, visual arts, cinema and food after the Calder was installed. I was fortunate enough to perform at the first Festival in the GR Symphony and GR Youth Symphony, though I do not recall with pleasure trying to swat away bugs or dodge raindrops on the outdoor stage that encircled the Calder. (I understand that the music events are now done inside.)

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I attended what I was told was the first 'Festival' held behind the Art Museum

when it was housed in the Fulton street building. This was in 1969, and I was

13. Lots of art on clothesline, interesting people, very heady for a budding

artist - felt like I'd found my tribe! There was talk then about next year being

bigger and better and in a different location. Don't know if that was the

beginning, but certainly part of the genesis.

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The issue with holding a separate, serious art fair is that there isn't enough

support for it. Sure, people will walk through, but not enough people

make serious purchases. There's a core group that actually collects certain

artists, as well as corporate buys of art, but not enough. Small things sell,

but not enough to really financially support artists. Many artists whose work

is of a higher caliber don't bother with sidewalk shows because of this.

When art is moving out of the galleries faster and artists are able to be

more self supporting through sales of their work, then maybe it would be

reasonable to have a separate event like what we're talking about here.

Festival is a fun, family event, but it stopped being an "Art Festival" long

ago, because art still isn't receiving enough support in this area on it's own.

Artists in other cities are faring better, but it is really tough here.

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What about the one day art festival at Monroe and Sixth Street, the Riverside Arts and Crafts Fair/Jam on the Grand/Riverstock Folk Festival in August? I've been to it before and it's a start, but it could definitely use some expanding and an increase in the quality of the work being sold.

I'm confused - is that one thing or three things? I've heard of the Riverside Fair but not the others.

I wonder if the LaFontsees have an opinion on this.

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I'm confused - is that one thing or three things? I've heard of the Riverside Fair but not the others.

I wonder if the LaFontsees have an opinion on this.

It's three different festivals downtown on the same day I think. The galleries on Monroe, including LaFontsee, are open with extended hours and have kind of a sidewalk sale.

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I'm a huge fan of Festival, I love being downtown with all the booths and hundreds of thousands of people, GR is a really cool town, and things like festival showcase it.

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I attended what I was told was the first 'Festival' held behind the Art Museum

when it was housed in the Fulton street building. This was in 1969, and I was

13. Lots of art on clothesline, interesting people, very heady for a budding

artist - felt like I'd found my tribe! There was talk then about next year being

bigger and better and in a different location. Don't know if that was the

beginning, but certainly part of the genesis.

Oldtimers (believe or not, people older than I) told me that the festivals actually started before that, in the early 1960s, in John Ball Park. They may have moved to the old Art Museum later. My family was in the music, not the art, scene, so that wasn't part of my upbringing. Nice to know that you were part of the art scene and hopefully, still are.

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There is a huge difference between an art fair and an art festival and whatever Festival is. Grand Rapids has a great history of supporting contemporary art, unfortunately much of it has been left to history. Nonetheless there still exists the potential to create something big that would attract a different crowd than Festival. It could be something beyond meat on a stick and elephant ears. We have a few excellent resources, Meijer Gardens being the primary one. We can do something that will attract the attention of the international art world. It isn't about attracting families from suburbia, it is about attracting creative and intellectual types from other cities.

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We can do something that will attract the attention of the international art world. It isn't about attracting families from suburbia, it is about attracting creative and intellectual types from other cities.

Uh oh, what will we tell the creative artistic people who LIVE in the suburbs who want to attend or show? Or even those who live in the country, on farms! :o Although I like your spirit, I don't think an Art Fair that alienates people will be successful in the long run.

But I do agree that you don't need the meat-on-a-stick or elephant ears.

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The good thing about that article is it gives us a chance to prove it wrong. As one of the main organizers of the new(ish) Avenue for the Arts Market I would like to invite all of you to come and see what we've got going on the second saturday of each month this summer, starting on June 10th.

Each event will run from 5 to 9pm and will have a different theme- June 10th is Revamp, a vintage, do-it-yourself, rock-n-roll type atmosphere, July 8th is Mind, Body and Soul, August 12th is Art Exposed, and September 9th is Spectacle- a carnival type event.

We are working hard to make this an authentic, fun atmosphere combining the artistic energies of Heartside's emerging businesses with local art and music.

So, come down on June 10th, and/or any of the other dates and challenge the assertion that Grand Rapids has no art festivals!!

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