Art.Downtown. 2017

by Chiara Licari

Art enthusiasts and creative connoisseurs, mark your calendars for this year’s Avenue for the Arts’ celebration, Art.Downtown., on April 8. The annual event presents Grand Rapids as a canvas colored with all of the things it specializes in­—small business, delicious coffee, craft beer, unique food and of course, one-of-a-kind art. Spend your Saturday fully immersed in local craft as you peruse every exciting portion of the event.

Whether you visit impactful exhibitions such as DisArt’s Symposium: Disability Arts Now!, attend live performances or admire masterpieces in the city’s favorite hot spots, Art.Downtown. offers you the opportunity to cultivate a conversation with local artists and curators. This year, 400 artists will be showcased in more than 30 locations, 20 of which are lined up on the Avenue for the Arts corridor on South Division.

Trolleys will be transporting visitors to and from major locations around town, including: Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD), the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM), Site:Lab on Rumsey Street, Two Beards Deli and Founder’s. These free trolley rides eliminate the hassle of finding a parking place, allowing you to see everything the event has to offer.

Event coordinator Ian Thompson emphasizes how important it is to showcasing art in the city.

“The great thing about the Avenue for the Arts and our programming is that we focus on supporting local residents, artist and businesses while also being a bridge of connection,” Thompson explained.

Art.Downtown welcomes people of all ages, offering venues geared toward kids as well as pit stops for beer-lovers. All participating restaurants are within walking distance of trolley stops, and maps written in both English and Spanish will guide visitors along the way.

“Art comes in many different forms and can have a powerful effect on individuals and our community,” Thompson pointed out. “Sparking dialogue, generating ideas, expanding and challenging ones own perception are, in my opinion, all positive effects art has in our community.”

If you’re looking to get involved with Art.Downtown. or Avenue for the Arts, you can register to volunteer on the Avenue for the Arts website.

Keep up with the conversation generated by this art-fueled event or make comments of your own by using the hash tags #artdowntown2017 and #artiststakeover on Twitter and Instagram, and don’t forget to follow Avenue for the Arts at @AveForTheArtsGR.

What: Art Downtown
Where: Avenue for the Arts, 307 S. Division Ave and throughout Downtown Grand Rapids
When: Saturday, April 8, 12pm-9pm

Full schedule at

Chiara Licari is a Writing and Advertising/Public Relations double major at GVSU venturing out in West Michigan and getting a taste of the writing life.  



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