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Professional development for local artists returns with full day event

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From building new communities through technology to inspiring social change through art, artists are shaping Grand Rapids and challenging how the community views art.
Break It Down Make It Better

Break It Down Make It Better /Courtesy of Avenue for the Arts

Underwriting support from:

Registration deadline is drawing near

For more information about the event or Avenue for the Arts, please contact Callie Cherry at [email protected], or at (616) 238-3907. Registration is limited and open until February 17, so register today at

To follow the conversation, connect with the Avenue for the Arts (@Ave4theArts) on Twitter and follow the hashtags #breakitdown and #avenueforthearts on Twitter and Instagram. 

Break It Down Make It Better

Break It Down Make It Better /Courtesy of Avenue for the Arts

Break It Down Make It Better

Break It Down Make It Better /Courtesy of Avenue for the Arts

Each year, Avenue for the Arts provides several Break it Down. Make it Better. events, including an annual full day event, this year happening on February 20. While the growth of the arts community in Grand Rapids is evident, it’s important that those in our community come together to utilize each other’s strengths to continue growth and development of their craft.

Break it Down. Make it Better. is an educational event sponsored by the Avenue for the Arts, the UICA and ArtPrize that encourages connections and conversation among creative professionals. The day-long discussion series covers how we build new communities through technology, inspire social change through art and the future of artists in Grand Rapids and beyond. The event welcomes artists, curators and documenters of all experience levels to participate and join in the dialogue.

Throughout the year, there are also smaller Break it Down classes at the Avenue for the Arts 307 [Work] Space, taking place weekly and including topics ranging from marketing 101 to trade secrets and doing business. These classes are open to community members, business owners and artists.

The full day event will differ from last year in that it will feature panels all day as well as six workshops and round tables, rather than one panel in the morning and workshops all afternoon. Attendees from last year’s event have expressed how impactful the conversation was, describing it as a great opportunity that made them “feel more confident in taking part in the Grand Rapids art community.”

Break it Down. Make it Better. is highly beneficial to creative professionals, including artists, curators and documenters. Providing an opportunity to network, the day creates a greater discussion of examining the role of artists and organizations as they interpret communities, start conversations and engage in public space. The full day allows the arts community to be fully immersed in progressive dialogue and engagement.

The Feb. 20 event will cover topics ranging from placemaking, social media, fundraising and marketing. These topics are beneficial to artists and creators of any age in Grand Rapids as it equips them with skills that will cultivate more success in their creative work.

Keynote panelists will share a statewide discussion about the implications of creating art as placemaking to discuss the artist and organizational role in interpreting communities, start conversations and working in public space.

Artists will also engage in discussions on building a brand and how marketing and design professionals create awareness of products as makers as well as creating a strong social media presence and building their audience. 

Registration for Break it Down. Make it Better closes on Wednesday, February 17 so there's still time to get involved in the action as a community member, artist or even as a group. This event is free to Avenue for the Arts members, UICA members and Artprize 2016 Venue representatives and artists; the non-member fee is $35. ArtPrize members and venues can receive their discount code by contacting [email protected] . UICA members can receive their discount code by contacting Katherine Williams at [email protected].

Don't miss out on engaging with our arts community, hearing successes and advice from locally and nationally renowned speakers and networking to create stronger roots in the community. Registration can be completed here.

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What a great program. Good luck!