Local business owner and force of nature Tami Vandenberg has never been one to be shy about the issues that matter most to her, which are often of a controversial nature. The co-owner of Grand Rapids’ much loved Meanwhile Bar and The Pyramid Scheme, Tami is also the Executive Director of Well House, a nonprofit organization which provides housing to the homeless using a “housing first” model.
ArtPrize’s leadership team announced several big changes in their 2016 Annual Report Breakfast this morning. While most of the morning’s announcements presented exciting opportunities for both ArtPrize and Grand Rapids - expanded grants for artists and curators, extended “Preview Week” ArtPrize hours, growing profits and shrinking debt - their implications could dramatically shift the tone, and face, of ArtPrize as we’ve known it.
Maddie Steele and Ani Bechiri play together on the Blue Bridge- substitute for their mothers, who prefer to be behind the scenes
The Martha’s family of businesses have had their roots in Midtown as long as most of the neighborhood can remember, and when you see their latest expansion, it’s not hard to see why. Martha’s Vineyard, a wine and deli market at the corner of Lyon and Union, has expanded yet again by removing the wall between Martha’s and its Pizza Shop next door. The expansion has created more space for traffic flow inside the popular market, but more importantly, it’s brought a wider grocery selection.
Setting up shop on Ionia’s bustling bar district downtown is all about community to Mario Cascante, owner of Tacos el Cuñado in Heartside’s Downtown Market and of Luna, the new upscale “taqueria y cocina” at 64 Ionia Avenue.
Earlier this week, I watched three well established, well respected art curators trip over themselves to avoid saying what they really thought about one public voted ArtPrize finalist. They sailed past the entry evoking Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream” quote with quips like, “WTF, WTF!?” and “it looks like a prop from an Indiana Jones movie prop,” and they critiqued the juried finalist “Native Kids Ride Bikes” for its lack of kinesthetic movement and evidence of collaboration with urban Native youth.
What elements make a participatory work…work? What makes magic? And why on earth was that death row prisoner given spaghetti instead of spaghettios?
Monika Wuhrer is the least egomaniacal person you could meet. Quite the opposite: the quiet, unassuming artist not only radiates warmth and enthusiasm, but has built her career as an artist on creating collaborative spaces where others can assemble, dialogue and showcase their own works.
This week the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM) released a sneak peek of their Nature/Nurture exhibit for this year’s ArtPrize. The collection includes work from 15 artists from across the country, ranging from 10’ diameter oil on canvas to custom bicycles and fingerpaintings. Notably, for the second year the GRAM’s exhibit includes a local Grand Rapidian, Monroe Aki O’Bryant, with his dramatic photo essay exploring racism and economic inequality in our own backyard.
The battle to bring women into the boardroom is a long one, and although we’ve made significant progress in recent years, it’s far from over. It’s not an obvious battle with clear sides, like the racism that’s raging in city streets across the country. It’s not endlessly documented in YouTube videos and Anonymous leaks. It happens subtly, in the form of well meant advice, encouragement withheld and even in misguided attempts to empower girls.
When certified yoga instructors Ashley Yost and Mali Jane left the studio where they were teaching to start their own community, they had no master plan. The two yogis had one goal in mind: to teach in a community of people who come as they are.
The northeast corner of Union and Lyon got a little brighter and busier last Saturday, on opening day for Lyon Street Cafe. The latest venture by Kameel Chamelly, who also owns Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket Baking Company, Lyon Street Cafe expands a slowly growing footprint.
This year saw the second annual Grand Rapids Comic Con come to the Deltaplex. Last year, the locally organized convention saw 4,000 attendees (with another 3,000 turned away). With as many as 50,000 attendees estimated for this year and the center at capacity both main days, it looks like they’re on target for an even bigger third year.
For those interested in learning more about the building’s history, local historian Jim Winslow will be holding historical tours through the space throughout ArtPrize.