After Dark GR uses art-scavenger hunt to encourage community activation


Courtesy / After Dark

Chavala Ymker

Lions and Rabbits hopes to address mobility, equity and accessibility with their city-wide art-based scavenger hunt, After Dark GR.

Beginning only last year as an art activation in Grand Rapids’ Creston neighborhood, this year After Dark GR expanded to include five different communities including Creston, Downtown, Michigan Street, Southtown and Westside.

Forty-four artists, all represented in some way by Lions and Rabbits, have painted murals on local businesses across the city. Each neighborhood was painted by artists who live in that community.   

Each group of artists is led by an artist liaison, supported by Lions and Rabbits to network with their community, locating interested businesses and coordinating the artistic collaboration.

 “There’s no problem finding artists of all nationalities and backgrounds,” Hannah Berry, owner of Lions and Rabbits said. “There are more issues in finding a purpose and the funding to pull them together.”

The project is supported by multi-level community investment. Funding is primarily driven by crowdfunding, which is matched by the state. Each community’s Corridor Improvement Authority also donated as much funding as they were able. 

Berry points out that the project is extremely important for the artists involved, as they are funding them during a pandemic. But not only does it support artistic livelihoods, After Dark GR is economic development for small businesses through art.

Dayna Walton, who painted at Ananda Ice, knew that her mural couldn’t just be what she wanted to paint.

“The mural has to make sense for the business,” Walton said. “What will help them?”

Last year, After Dark GR ended with a party in the Creston neighborhood with all funds going to the Improvement Authority. Once the After Dark team realized parties weren’t going to be happening this year, they shifted toward a game format that would still bring business to the neighborhoods.

The games took the shape of both a board game and an Instagram scavenger hunt. The board game is modeled after the Game of Life and set in Grand Rapids. For example, a space may prompt you to “plant a tree for the mayor’s green initiative.”

You can buy the After Dark Board Game at

You can also sign up for the scavenger hunt on their website, where you will find a list of “tasks.” When you’re done, make an Instagram highlight reel documenting your journey. Each task equates to one raffle ticket toward a prize. You have until Nov. 1 to complete as many tasks as possible. 

Whether you are finding a mural in Creston or buying a drink at the Lyon St. Cafe, you are a part of After Dark GR’s art activation. Murals make art accessible to all of us, especially during a time when indoor spaces are often closed. 

Berry hopes that the project helps visitors start to see Grand Rapids as a whole rather than a collection of separate neighborhoods where some get all the attention and others get ignored.

“Together, we can create what everyone wants to create,” Berry said.