Annual art event moves through downtown GR

Courtesy Photo / Jenn Schaub 
Art Downtown showcases the work of artists from West Michigan, featuring  300 artists work and 30 different venues.

Courtesy photo

Courtesy Photo / Jenn Schaub Art Downtown showcases the work of artists from West Michigan, featuring 300 artists’ work and 30 different venues.

Chris LaFoy

Grand Rapids art fans will have a unique opportunity to see 300 artists’ work in 30 different
venues in a single evening — all with provided stylish transportation.

Art.Downtown. is an annual art show that helps introduce artists from West Michigan to art-appreciating communities. The venues are dispersed throughout downtown so patrons can ride on the Grand Rapids Trolley with guides to get from spot to spot.

“Art.Downtown. is a smaller version of ArtPrize focused in a smaller location and for only one night,” said Amber Stout, a Grand Valley State University art and design major and contributor to Art.Downtown. “The artists featured are mostly local and the whole event really has a focus on the community.”

Stout will be displaying her art individually and as a part of a 12-person GVSU senior thesis show titled REACT. The group piece will be on display in a vacant office building located at 144 E. Fulton.

Stout’s individual offering will be printed materials such as pamphlets and postcards that focus on the Heritage Hill neighborhood in Grand Rapids.

“As a civic-minded designer, I find ways to organize and navigate the city I live in by referencing the past in order to appreciate the present,” Stout said. “I believe that by understanding the history of Grand Rapids, we gain a sense of civic pride that makes our time spend in this city more fulfilling and meaningful.”

GVSU and Kendall College of Art and Design are among the sponsors for the event.

This will be the fourth year of the event under the title of Art.Downtown., previously known as Spring for the Arts.

Art.Downtown. is organized and run by the downtown community are organization Avenue for the Arts. This collection of residential, commercial and non-profit groups has helped energize the art community downtown.

“Avenue of the Arts uses events like Art.Downtown. to help show off the community’s artists,” said Taylor Greenfield, Avenue for the Arts intern and Grand Rapids-based artist. “Through this event, we get to put local artists in many unique locations.”

Greenfield will be displaying her own drawings as a part of Friday’s event.

“Art.Downtown. has all kinds of art for all types of people,” Greenfield said. “And it’s all downtown.”

Stout’s relationship with Avenue for the Arts extends past this event.

“I interned for the Avenue for the Arts Market in 2010 and ran the summer street market,” Stout said. “I continued volunteering throughout the year for different Avenue for the Arts events. I’ve volunteered as a gallery attendant, a way-finder, and even as a trolley guide during Art Downtown.”

Art.Downtown. will begin Friday at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Visit for directions and more information.

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