GR residents face the cold for World of Winter


GVL / Sabrina Edwards

Sabrina Edwards, Arts and Entertainment Editor

The familiar lights of World of Winter are back in Downtown Grand Rapids this year. However, in addition to those returning from last year, there are new installations.

World of Winter is an annual event, spread out through Grand Rapids that features over 40 art installations and over 50 ice sculptures. Some sculptures have already been put up, with more being installed this upcoming week. Sculptures have been brought in from artists around the globe including from Spain, Australia, the United Kingdom and Germany.

Currently, there are three featured sculptures up for attendees to see. All of the installations will remain until March 6 and have been put up already or will be installed on Jan. 14.

The Light Maze is a hexagon-shaped neon-lit acrylic maze, in partnership with the Xiemenez Group from Spain. The exhibit is located at 555 Monroe and offers attendees an immersive experience.

GVL / Sabrina Edwards

The other interactive piece that is already up is titled “Submergence,” which is a walk-through exhibit created by SquidSoup. This piece is on the Gillett Bridge, featuring hanging lights that attendees can walk under.

Giant inflatable bunnies have taken over the lawn at Ab-Nab-Awen Park. “Bunnies of Intrude,” from Parer Studio in Australia has two stories behind their piece. Rabbits are a species that has been introduced to Australia and since have caused an imbalance to the counties ecosystem. However, Parer does mention on the World of Winter website that this piece is also a contradiction. Normally rabbits represent animals from their childhood but in this piece they also promote an environmental message.

“As someone who works downtown seeing the exhibitions after I get off work is really cool,” said Shawna Mullenix, a World of Winter attendee. “I work at the GRAM so it’s fun to see a different type of art.”

Two more featured installations will be put up on Jan. 14, both are in partnership with Amigo & Amigo from Australia. The Trumpet Flowers will be at Ab-Nab-Awen Park. Each individual trumpet will have interactive keys that allows the user to play them, turning the flowers into a musical instrument.

The other Jan. 14 installation is another interactive piece, which will be outside of the Grand Rapids Public Museum; the Crank Zappa Jellyfish, a giant sculpture made out of plastic waste. 1,000 plastic bags, straws and 800 bottles went into making the jellyfish, which lights up and animates when touched, it also works to educate the public on plastic waste.

GVL / Sabrina Edwards

“I was most excited to see the jellyfish, but we didn’t look at the dates before we came down so I will definitely be coming back to see that,” said Marcus Eckert, a World of Winter attendee.

While the art exhibits are a main event to World of Winter many are drawn to smaller events that are put on during this festival of frozen fun. There are events for people of all ages, whether that be drag shows, ice sculpture tours, silent discos or ice skating.

“I didn’t even know this event was a thing because I don’t come downtown a lot,” said Nina Wolterstorff, a first-time attendee. “I was looking at all the events and I was surprised to see how many events there are. I’m most excited to check out the drag show.”

This festival celebrates different cultures and has many events about the new Chinese Zodiac Year of the Tiger. All of these events are free to the public and will last until March. Those who are interested can view for dates and times of every event.