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Community updates: Thursday, July 15

Grand Rapids Urban League selected to lead Cure Violence in Grand Rapids; UICA reopens in new downtown location.
Picnic shelter at Garfield Park in Grand Rapids.

Picnic shelter at Garfield Park in Grand Rapids. /City of Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids Urban League selected to lead Cure Violence in Grand Rapids

The Grand Rapids Urban League (GRUL) has been unanimously selected by the Grand Rapids City Commission to lead the Cure Violence program in the city, the City of Grand Rapids announced Tuesday.

Through the city’s initial one-year $125,000 professional services agreement, the GRUL will begin working immediately with Cure Violence Global to detect and interrupt potential violent conflicts and shooting events across Grand Rapids.

According to the City of Grand Rapids, the GRUL will carry out its work by assembling a team of violence interrupters and outreach workers who have the community rapport and knowledge to identify and work with individuals and groups at highest risk for involvement in shootings and killings. It will also engage the community in changing behavioral norms and distribute public education materials promoting the use of nonviolence in resolving conflicts.

Implementation of the program comes after 38 homicides across the city last year, as reported by the Grand Rapids Police Department. It has reported eight homicides to date for 2021.

Having served the Grand Rapids community for 78 years, the Urban League is an ideal community partner to serve as lead agency to help us Cure Violence in Grand Rapids,” said Brandon Davis, the city’s Director of Oversight and Public Accountability (OPA).

“The Urban League has strong community ties, a demonstrated presence within the city’s neighborhoods, and commitment to utilize individuals that influence those at highest risk of committing shootings or perpetuating other violent acts, by building trusting relationships through their own lived experiences,” he added.

The City of Grand Rapids has committed to supporting Cure Violence operations by investing $75,000 annually for three years. Spectrum Health has also provided $300,000 in philanthropic support toward its implementation in Grand Rapids.

More details about the Cure Violence program in Grand Rapids are available on the city’s website.


UICA reopens in new downtown location

The Urban Institute for Contemporary Art (UICA) reopened its doors to the public on Thursday. New doors – at a new downtown Grand Rapids location.

Located on the campus of Kendall College of Art and Design, in its Woodbridge N. Ferris Building at 17 Pearl St. NW, the UICA’s reopening comes after being closed since March 2020 because of the pandemic. Its move from its previous Fulton St. W space comes as a result of pandemic-related strains and the continued cost of maintaining that facility, according to the UICA.

“Come check out the new indoor and outdoor spaces, explore our opening exhibitions, and peruse the new shopUICA,” the UICA said in a Thursday newsletter. “Please keep in mind this is a soft opening, which means a few of the pieces are still coming together.”

Among opening exhibitions at the UICA is The Way Forward, featuring Grand Rapids-based artist Eliza Fernand and other artists. The other exhibitions are Whereabouts: The Influence of Place and Space and Other World.

Admission is free for the UICA, with current hours subject to change. Current hours are noon to 5pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, and noon to 7pm on Thursday.

The UICA’s Grand Reopening Celebration will take place on Sept. 9 from 5-7pm. More info will be made available through its website.


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