Avenue for the Arts is home to a creative community actively transforming a blighted stretch along South Division Ave. into a destination with profitable businesses, attractions and imaginative events. Curators from three Avenue galleries shed light on what their galleries do for artists and the community.
A friend on social media recently indicated that dating in Grand Rapids is an unhappy prospect because there’s a pretty good chance you’ll run into an ex. Indeed, everyone seems to know everyone, which is why I was surprised that I hadn’t met Keemo. Soon after my first encounter with Keemo’s art I purchased one of his mixed-media works, a stylized portrait in his signature red, turquoise, lime and cadmium yellow — with an enigmatic morsel of text framed within the face.
Salvador Jiménez-Flores says his work is inspired by his multiculturalism and the need to communicate — two pivotal aspects of the artist’s life. Since moving to the United States in 2000 from Jalisco, Mexico he has created several socially-conscious installations as well as studio-based and public art. His work can be seen at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, Casa De La Cultura in Texas, Koehnline Museum of Art in Illinois, and locally at the Grand Rapids Art Museum and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art.
Gallery-goers this month have an opportunity to once again engage with one of Grand Rapids’ most contemporary, vital and forward-looking art collectives as the DAAC takes over The Fed Galleries at KCAD.
Kinky Boots seems to have it all. It’s got Broadway dazzle with a modern edge, joyous drag queens and outrageous footwear — it also champions a message of hope and acceptance.
The production, a six-time Tony Award-winner, centers on protagonist Charlie Price as he inherits a floundering shoe factory after his father’s death. The cause seems hopeless until Charlie runs into drag queen Lola and her glamorous backup troupe, the Angels. The queens introduce Charlie to the niche market of drag boots and create a fabulous new line.
But how did it all begin? We take a look back. Also: a run-down of other summer art events.
Strangers to opera might say it’s about singing, but anyone who has actually watched one will tell you it’s about so much more. The piercingly high notes and booming bass tones take audiences on a journey — both to a specific time and place and to the particular emotions of individuals.
May in Holland, Mich. is best known for the Tulip Time Festival. While the beautiful spectacle of colors is a must-see, the Holland Museum is also thriving. The permanent galleries celebrate the Dutch heritage that’s contributed to the community’s sense of identity. At the same time, the museum continues to document and celebrate the city’s diverse growth over the years — while keeping things fresh with temporary exhibits that link to Holland through striking photography.
Artists have a way of presenting a physical form from concepts that are abstract and theoretical. Paint, pencil, clay and other materials take on new meaning when guided by a creative mind. It provides a bridge for us all to use a tangible object to help connect and share deeper ideas about a subject. Now add a layer to that and consider the conversation around art that involves disability.
From its thunderous opening chords to its plummeting chandelier, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera doesn’t run short on spectacle. Dazzling stage effects, sensuous costumes and an imposing score have made this the longest-running Broadway musical.
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