The Rapidian

ArtPrize Off The Beaten Path: The Mitten Brewing Company

The microbrewery and pizzeria attracts ArtPrize visitors to the West Side with a dozen artworks, craft beer and ArtPies.

ArtPrize venue: The Mitten Brewing Company

The Mitten Brewing Company, curated by Shannon Andrus, is host to 12 ArtPrize entries:

 

Location: 527 Leonard Street NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49504

 

Hours: Mon-Thurs: 11:30 – midnight
Fri-Sat: 11:30 – midnight
Sunday: Noon

 

Free public bathroom
Free public parking
Handicap accessible

The Mitten Brewing Company, located in the historic Engine House No. 9, is host to 12 ArtPrize entries.

The Mitten Brewing Company, located in the historic Engine House No. 9, is host to 12 ArtPrize entries. /Ana Olvera

The Mitten Brewing Company offers an opportunity to simultaneously appreciate two fast-growing interests in the Grand Rapids community: craft beer and art. The microbrewery hosts 12 artworks, eight on the main floor and four on the recently-opened second floor.

“You can come, have a beer and walk around a little if you want,” says Pat Evans, director of content and sales, about the venue’s atmosphere. “But you can also sit at a table, eat dinner and see the pieces. It’s for people to come, hang out and see the art and appreciate art for what it is – it’s somebody’s awesome creative output.”

Mitten Brewing was an ArtPrize venue for the first time last year. Deciding to be an ArtPrize venue again was a no-brainer, says Evans.

“We want to help build the West Side,” says Evans. “[Being an ArtPrize venue,] it’s mostly to be a part of the community and make people realize that the West Side is a place of culture and that people should come and check us out too.”

Most of the ArtPrize entries displayed at Mitten Brewing are two-dimensional, but that’s where their similarities end. Each artwork provides a different theme and as visitors walk through the building – craft beer in hand – their eyes are stimulated by a switch of color or medium. Mediums used in the artworks include oak, dirt, watercolor and mixed media.

Some of the artworks look right at home in the vintage baseball-themed brewery, such as Daniel Coonfield’s oil on canvas painting “Athletes” and Jessica Darling’s photo series “Handcrafted.” Other works catch your eye because they look almost out of place or are particularly striking.

Emily Journey’s “The Sound of Silence,” made of semi-translucent white acrylic, is a two-dimensional piece but has become interactive as visitors enjoy turning on and off the light that illuminates it. When the artwork’s light is off, a carved imaged of President John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy is seen. When the light is on, the carving looks like a more detailed photograph.

A Dragon Trophy” by John Andrews, a two-time top 25 ArtPrize finisher, is the only three-dimensional ArtPrize entry hosted at The Mitten Brewing Company. The sculpture is just over three feet wide and four feet tall. It features a dragon’s head with 2,100 hand cut scales and 86 handcrafted teeth, as well as the Dragon Slayer sword.

If visitors get hungry they can sit at a table and enjoy one of the ArtPies, pizza specials running until the end of ArtPrize. The first ArtPie debuted was the Barn Stormer, a barbeque porkbelly pizza made with Michigan apples and cherries. 

Other ArtPrize venues along the Leonard corridor are Brann’s Steakhouse and Grille and Arnie’s.

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