Art Bash for Creston

Courtesy / GRNow

Courtesy / GRNow

Allison Rafferty

On Friday, May 2, the Creston Neighborhood Association hosted its 14th annual Art Bash for Creston. The event, which lasted from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., included a plethora of art, food and activities provided by local artists, restaurants and businesses. All proceeds went to the Creston Neighborhood Association, and the event served to bring the community together and celebrate Creston’s growing presence of art and culture. 

The Creston Neighborhood Association is a non-profit organization committed to supporting the over 25,000 Creston residents and enriching a diverse community where all neighbors thrive. 

“The event raises meaningful dollars for our community building work, so that residents may access their power to impact economic investments and public resources, as well as work together to build social networks so that all neighbors may feel safe and welcome,” said Creston Neighborhood Association Executive Director Megan Kruis.

The event was also hosted by Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss and Rapid Growth Media’s publisher Tommy Allen. Previously titled Art Battle for Creston, the event included twelve featured artists, all of whom showed off their skills by creating their artwork live in front of those in attendance. The experience of creating live artwork is one of the main factors that keeps drawing artists back to perform each year. 

Featured artist Kelly Allen has been performing at Art Bash for Creston for many years, and said that performing her artwork live is her favorite part of the event. Allen said that she enjoys this part of the event because she never has prearranged plans on what she intends to create and this allows her to fully immerse herself in creating artwork.

“I really enjoy the process of discovery and the series of problem-solving strategies that is part of the art-making process,” Allen said. 

Returning artist Nick Nortier explained that since the process of creating art is typically a solitary one, it can be tough for some artists to create in front of an audience, but both artists agree that the results are very rewarding. 

Nortier has been performing his artwork at Art Bash for four years, but has been in attendance for a few years prior. He first attended the event seven years ago and dreamed of being able to perform at it. 

“A couple years worth of networking and making art on a regular basis and I was asked to be in it,” Nortier said.

Allen has lived in the Creston neighborhood for quite some time and is very excited about its newfound art and culture scene.

“This neighborhood has been a very sleepy one until recently, and it’s always been a wish for me to see new life moving into the neighborhood as it is finally now happening,” Allen said. “Nothing can grow without attention, effort and a vision.”

Allen said she is very proud of the people of Creston and the Creston Neighborhood Association for putting in the work to help the neighborhood grow into the thriving community that it has become, and is thrilled to be a part of it.  

“Having local artists perform at these events builds community amongst artists and people who love art,” Nortier said. “So many connections are made during it, which can lead to opportunities down the road.” 

Kruis said that Art Bash is ultimately an opportunity for Creston to reflect on itself through art.

“Our local creatives reflect, interpret and clarify who we are and our moment in time,” Kruis said. “Taken as a whole, I think the pieces created at Art Bash demonstrate the joy, resourcefulness, pride and thoughtfulness present in our community.”

Not only has the Art Bash for Creston brought in funds for the Creston Neighborhood Association, but it has brought the community together to celebrate their shared love of art and has helped put Creston on the map when it comes to art and culture.