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Habitat for Humanity, SiTE:LAB unite in Roosevelt Park

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

SiTE:LAB will be joining Habitat for Humanity of Kent County for new projects in the Roosevelt neighborhood in 2015. A cookout July 19 kicks off the partnership.

/Grant Carmichael

On Saturday, July 19, from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Habitat for Humanity of Kent County will host the Grandville Avenue Arts Cookout in partnership with SiTE:LAB and Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities. The event will celebrate a new partnership between Habitat and SiTE:LAB surrounding Habitat-owned property on Rumsey Street between Grandville Avenue and Century Avenue. Nearly all of the properties on that block have been acquired by Habitat as part of a neighborhood redevelopment initiative. Before it begins construction, Habitat is making the property, including the former St. Joseph the Worker church and adjacent rectory, available to SiTE:LAB to conduct a series of art projects in 2015.  

SiTE:LAB is a nomadic arts organization, choosing to conduct its activities in changing spaces rather than tie itself to a fixed location. While most of its projects have taken place in vacant downtown buildings, the Rumsey property presents a new and exciting challenge according to founder and curator Paul Amenta.

“Ultimately all of our projects are about using site-specific installations to change the way that people occupy and experience a space,” he says. “When you are dealing with a largely outdoor space, you have to use entirely different strategies than you would with an old building. But the enormous amount of space available opens up the possibility of projects we couldn’t do anywhere else.”

“Habitat is thrilled about this partnership and eager to see how the SiTE:LAB projects influence the ultimate development of Rumsey Street,” says Habitat Kent Executive Director Mary Buikema. “From the moment we started discussing this over a beer at the Cottage Bar, I knew we had to make this partnership a reality. SiTE:LAB has the ability to help people see the potential in an underutilized space by creating unexpected experiences.”

Paul Amenta agrees.

“We know that many of our projects have had an impact on the ultimate development of the buildings in which they took place,” he said. “But in the case of Rumsey Street, Habitat is presenting us with the opportunity to be more purposeful – to choose projects that will have an impact on how Habitat and the neighborhood arrive at decisions about the ultimate development of the property,” he says.  

The Grandville Avenue Arts Cookout will take place at 333 Rumsey SW and will feature free food, local art, t-shirt printing, pottery, live performances and more. For more information contact Ben Johnson by email or 616-588-5237.

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