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"Honest and Unrefined: Art Outside the Academy"
Tuesday, October 26, 2021, 05:00pm - 08:00pm
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August 27 – November 5, 2021.  

Opening Reception: September 30, 2021. 5:00 – 8:00 p.m. RSVP

GVSU Art Gallery, Haas Center for the Performing Arts 

Artists that live on the margins and reject the constraints of the art world have always been difficult to categorize. Their appeal resides in how they ignore convention and experiment with materials to produce authentic, challenging, and inspiring works of art. In 2005, the GVSU Art Gallery hosted Raw Art: Division Avenue Artists, which took a candid look at a local group of mostly self-taught artists who lived and worked in the Heartside neighborhood of downtown Grand Rapids. Since then, Grand Valley has committed to acquire art from outside the mainstream and incorporate it into its collection. 

Sixteen years later, Honest and Unrefined: Art Outside the Academy dives deeper into the realm of art that includes self-taught, folk, outsider, raw and naïve artists. Drawn from GVSU’s collection, as well as artists and collectors from around West Michigan, this exhibition brings together more than 50 compelling works of art. These pieces often include bright colors, repetitive patterns, and found materials, and are driven by each artist’s desire to create or communicate a deeply personal and sometimes provocative message. 

Join us for exhibition programming; Unpacking the Exhibition Conversation Series. A lunch-time series of virtual and in-person conversations featuring professionals from a variety of backgrounds unpacking big ideas present in the exhibition. For more information and to RSVP visit

Location: GVSU Art Gallery, Haas Center for the Performing Arts

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