The Rapidian Home

Beerhorst family to welcome community into home

The Beerhorst family Christmas art show has evolved over the course of 22 years.
Rick Beerhorst painting in studio

Rick Beerhorst painting in studio /Eric Tank

Underwriting support from:

Go over the threshold

"Scrape up your courage and go over the threshold."

-Rick Beerhorst

Who: Beerhorst Family

What: Christmas art show

When: December 13-15, 10 a.m. - 8 p.m. all three days

Where: 106 Fuller Avenue SE

Pearl Beerhorst models sister Rose's hand crafted scarf

Pearl Beerhorst models sister Rose's hand crafted scarf /Rick Beerhorst

Rain Beerhorst

Rain Beerhorst /Rick Beerhorst

From December 13-15 the Beerhorst family will be opening the doors of their home to the public for their annual family art show.

Rick Beerhorst, a local veteran artist, musician and activist, and his wife Brenda live in the East Hills neighborhood with five of their six children.

This year Rick Beerhorst will have a new series of wood block prints exploring images of people printed on multiple paper fragments and a dual color scheme. He has archived and curated his son Shepherd's collection of drawings that will be available for purchase as well. Shepherd Beerhorst has exhibited at the Con Artist Crew Gallery on Godfrey Street.

Fiber artist Brenda Beerhorst makes hooked rugs and will be featuring new non-objective paintings on panel.

Rose Beerhorst makes rag rugs from reclaimed fabric which are currently featured in the window display at the UICA. Most recently she has begun working on patchwork scarves. She operates under the moniker Brave Hand Textiles.

Pearl Beerhorst has been developing her drawing and painting technique and over the past year has accumulated a substantial collection of illustrations. Her work is inspired by classical fairytales and children's storybooks, many of which are on display at Rowster Coffee.

"To watch Pearl become more public and share her work, that's really interesting to me," says Rick Beerhorst.

 Younger sister Grace Beerhorst is an avid drawer and also makes stuffies, fabric figurines that will be for sale.

Rick and Brenda Beerhorst hosted their first house show 22 years ago when the newlyweds were living above Economy Heating on the corner of Eastern Avenue and Wealthy Street. Rick Beerhorst was signed to the Ann Nathan Gallery in Chicago at the time and found that his ever increasing experiments with different media such as wood block printing just didn't meet the price point of a contemporary art gallery such as Nathan's. His new art needed a venue and his apartment fit the bill.

Before long the couple's first child was born and the house shows took a hiatus as typical child rearing concerns eclipsed business as usual. It wasn't until a few years down the road and a new apartment at 320 Hollister Street when the Beerhorsts decided to revive the December art show. With two daughters that were making their own drawings that delighted friends and family, Rick Beerhorst quickly began to recognize the familial dynamic that would come to shape the clan's image.

"When people come into this place where things are being made... it's a family knit together, working together, living together. There's something really dynamic. It's contagious in a way. It's how people learn from each other," says Rick Beerhorst.

For a brief time in the nineties the Beerhorst family said farewell to Grand Rapids and held their last house show before migrating to Brooklyn New York. It was wildly successful: many friends, acquaintances and others from the community attended.

While in Brooklyn, the Beerhorsts hosted two more shows, one that to this day relationships are still maintained. For various reasons the family was to relocate back to Grand Rapids. It was at this juncture where methods and organization started to coalesce and the intentionality became fervent.

Over two decades have passed since the first Beerhorst family art show. Maturing children, personal growth, artistic refining, community interaction and a host of other organic variables have all played their part in what the art show offers today.

"That's just what happens when you do something year after year. Part of it is just keeping it interesting," says Rick Beerhorst. Many folks have been there, done that so to speak. For many more it's become a tradition. And for others it is an entirely new experience.

The Beerhorst Family Christmas Art Show is more than just about selling artwork. It takes a different mindset to open one's home to strangers. For that matter it takes a different kind of person that will walk into a stranger's home. One not only is perusing displayed artwork, but catching a glimpse into the life the artists.

"A big part of the family art show is not just the things that are purchased but the relationships. People coming into your home is much more intimate than if we're doing a show at the LaFontsee Gallery for instance. When people come into your home there's a whole different sense of, 'wow this is where you live, where you have your arguments and make up,'" says Rick Beerhorst. "I think for some people it takes a lot of courage to go through the threshold. Because in our culture our dwellings, our homes are private places and for some people that's a lot more intense than others. And for some people, frankly their home environments that they grew up in were maybe tumultuous or fret with hardship. So going over the threshold may not always be safe."

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.