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The Avenue for the Arts provides a platform for the Grand Rapids art community to collaborate and support each other. Large scale events like Art.Downtown. become a catalyst for dialog and collaboration between Grand Rapids artists. During Art.Downtown. curators, artists and sites will work together to create an experience that is diverse, well crafted and thought provoking. In 2014 sites continue to reach out to neighboring locations to help generate excitement, and create meaningful discussions around each other’s shows.
Emily Veldman is curating a show at Craft House located at 40 S Division that highlights the importance of collaboration amongst local artists. Her exhibition, Co=Efficient will showcase art collectives in the Grand Rapids area including Heartside Gallery, Creative Divide, The West Michigan Photography Collective, Con Artists Crew and more. Local cooperative, The Hot Spot will be creating live metals work that will be passed out to visitors. There will also be various musical performances throughout the night. During Art.Downtown, Craft House will become a lively space that embodies the spirit of ‘community’.
Just across the street from Craft House is Republic Located at 45 S. Divison. Hosting a show curated by Grand Valley Student, Megan Gurisko. Megan creates colorful, abstract paintings and she carried her fascination with abstraction into her Art.Downtown exhibition, Natural Selection. She has reached out to artists in Grand Rapids that are thinking about abstraction in an experimental and process based way. The space she is working with in Republic is a single, but expansive, wall. The result will be an intimate survey of abstract works where visitors of Art.Downtown. and diners at Republic, can spend time with the work and consider each piece.
Recently we sat down with both curators to discuss Megan's show, Emily asked about her interest in abstract work,“My favorite thing about abstract works is that it asks so much from the viewer and can be so rewarding if given the time to look.” Gurisko added,“I’m sure viewers will have enough time to let the work sink in as they dine at the Republic.”
Last year Megan curated the show Windows and Walls for another Avenue for the Arts event, Free Radical. Megan found photographer, Jessica Page, on the Avenue for the Arts website and invited her to be in the 2014 show, Natural Selection, to exhibit her new work. When asked to describe her process for selecting artists, Megan refered to her previous curatorial experiences as well as, identified new artists. “Thinking about abstraction in my own work and using my surroundings as inspiration, I was instantly interested in all of these artists and wanted to showcase the different ways abstract art is being done in West Michigan.” Megan will also be showing work by Rory Miller, Sally Jenks, Nicole Granger and her own work. In addition, a selection of Megan's thesis work is included in Beyond Abstraction hosted in the Harris Building at 111 South Divsion
"Over the last few months of planning Art.Downtown. conversations between artists and curators, curators and sites have been shaping the shows you will see on Friday, April 11th. We hope that visitors will see the benifit of discussion, planning, and curiosity, as well as, jump into the dialogue."
Visit all three shows and see the curatorial work of both Emily and Megan during Art.Downtown. on April 11th from 6-11.
The Avenue for the Arts is a neighborhood title for the South Division commercial corridor. We are residential, commercial and nonprofit groups working together in a creative community. We are residents in Heartside, and active participants in shaping change in our neighborhood. In 2005, we choose the Avenue for the Arts as a title to represent our commercial corridor and the projects and events that we create. Because the Avenue is powered by volunteers guest writers create our Rapidian content. Special thanks to Leah Burke and Emily Veldman, Avenue members and writers for their coverage of "Co=efficient" and "Natural Selection"