A&E Briefs 9/27

Mary Dupuis

Confluence Festival comes to ArtPrize 2021

Confluence is a free, multi-day festival that was brought to ArtPrize 2021 to explore the conversion of art, music, science and technology. 

The free, multisensory festival took place on Sept. 24 and 25 at the Calder Plaza in downtown Grand Rapids. 

The goal of the festival was to explore current issues the country is facing (energy, employment, transportation, equity, healthcare, etc.) and the way the region’s largest corporations and startup communities are focused on tackling them. 

The festival offered a “Music Showcase” presented by Founders Brewing Co., and a “Thought Series” focused around healthcare and wellness in collaboration with technology and innovation. 

An “Innovation Showcase” was also held, with high-tech startups from traditionally under-represented communities. A “Maker Expo” showcased the area’s DIY community, and a “Future Innovators Zone” offered STEM-based projects for kids. 

On top of all of this, there was a 360 degree multisensory “Art Takeover.” 

Downtown Grand Rapids holds Global Water Fest

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. recently held the city’s first-ever Global Water Fest, a family-friendly event taking place on the Grand River and in Canal Park.

The free festival took place on Sept. 25 and featured Dragon Boat Races, free paddle boarding lessons, professional water jet demonstrations, and a globally themed variety of artisan booths, live music, food vendors, and entertainment. 

The events continued from 10:00 a.m. through 11:00 p.m. and celebrated water in all capacities, whether it be to support the community, fill our lakes and rivers, or facilitate fun. 

Frederik Meijer Gardens hosts glowing fall garden

The Frederik Meijer Gardens have taken their Gwen Frostic Woodland Shade Garden and created an Autumn Glow Garden for guests to enjoy. 

On Sept. 28 and Oct. 5 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. the public is invited to view artfully carved pumpkin displays by Grand Rapids printmaker Alynn Guerra. In addition to the pumpkins, there are decorative lanterns, glowing trees, and log lights. 

Fees to visit the garden are included with admission. 

If guests are interested in similar displays, they can be found at Michigan’s Farm Garden during Tuesdays at the Farm.

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. mural wins ArtPrize award 

Brian Whitfield, a Lansing-based artist, recently finished his new mural titled, “Planted by the Sacred Streams of Grace” at 1020 Monroe Ave. NW. 

The project was organized by Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) in partnership with the Monroe Community Church in Grand Rapids and made a possibility by the “Activate This Place” placemaking grant. 

Due in part to the mural, the church is launching a three-week ArtPrize sermon series: Meet the (a)Artist to learn from artists and their perspective on their artwork. 

Whitfield recently won the Contemporary Black Artist Award for ArtPrize 2021.