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Curator spotlight: Falling for fiber arts

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

A familiar face in the Grand Rapids art community has fallen for fiber arts and brings a new exhibition for a show at Open Source Studio.

Find out more about Fiber Arts this week!

Friday April 10 from 6 - 11 p.m. you are invited to visit “Weft, Chain & Stitch,” at 235 S. Division Avenue #112 during Art.Downtown. 

Artwork by Pearl Beerhorst, photo by Pearl Beerhorst

Artwork by Pearl Beerhorst, photo by Pearl Beerhorst

Artist Ama Wertz's hands working on tapestry photo by Melanie Jones Photography

Artist Ama Wertz's hands working on tapestry photo by Melanie Jones Photography

Curator Liz Hertl

Curator Liz Hertl

Curator Liz Hertl, a familiar face in the Grand Rapids art community has “really been falling for fiber arts.” She has organized an exhibition of 11 artists celebrating the variety of contemporary practices.From weaving to crotchet, felting and embroidery Liz has gathered broad range of works. The show includes hand-stitched journals, quilts, rugs, felted hats, embroidered drawings, performance and installation. Participating artist Jess Hacker has created an interactive loom for visitors to collaborate on a weaving.

“I really wanted to focus on a show I hadn’t seen before or in a while, on the Avenue, specifically with fiber work. I had seen a couple but I wanted to see more,”  Liz explains. Open Source Studio a live/work space will harbor this one-night event. This domestic setting adds a contextual layer that helps Liz deliver her message that fiber arts are woven into our everyday existence.

Creativity has always been important to Liz. As a child she loved drawing, making things with legos and learning to knit. In high school Liz made sure to always have an art or music class in her schedule. At Aquinas College, Liz took a painting class and was drawn to study color and composition. In 2010 she received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in painting and sculpture. Not sure what to do for a job after graduating, Liz was referred by her mentor to work as an assistant curator for the Arch Diocese. For four year she organized ArtPrize exhibitions at the Cathedral Square venue. Liz also worked in guest services at the Grand Rapids Art Museum. “Being part of that secret club getting to actually touch the work and hold it in my hands. That was a really special connection I had.”

These experiences inspired Liz to get involved with other arts organizations in the community. Out of curiosity she volunteered for the Avenue for the Arts Market one summer. This lead her to get involved with the Avenue for the Arts Advisory Board, a group that oversees events and evaluates opportunities for community engagement. Last year Liz participated in the Avenue for the Arts Learning Lab, acting as the Event Coordinator for Art.Downtown 2014. This internship along with her curatorial background was the perfect preparation for producing “Weft, Chain & Stitch.”

“So I just decided to jump in and at that time I was really getting into making my own fiber art.” A self-professed fiber art nerd, Liz recently started learning to use an ankle loom and attending meetings of the Woodland Weavers and Spinners Guild. “It was kind of like a quilting bee,” Liz recalls. “We weren’t necessarily working on the same project but it was nice to just sit around the table and talk about fiber or things distantly related.” 

Seeking out opportunities to connect to community, Liz is on an enriching path as an artist, curator, and Grand Rapids citizen. Gain more insight into her passion for fiber arts this Friday April 10 from 6 - 11 p.m. visit “Weft, Chain & Stitch,” at 235 S. Division Avenue #112 during Art.Downtown.


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 chose 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 artist, curator and community member Kate Lewis for her time and talent interviewing Liz for this Curator Spotlight. See Kate's work in person during Art.Downtown. as a part of Weft, Chain and Stitch.

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