The Rapidian

Festival of the Arts to celebrate creativity, community

The 2013 Festival of the Arts presents new delights to the city with some new acts and participants in tow.

Event Hours

Thursday, June 7 : 12 - 10 p.m.

Friday, June 8 : 10 - 10 p.m.

Saturday, June 9 : 10 - 7 p.m.



/Emilie Pichot

/courtesy of the Grand Rapids Arts Festival, poster design by Abigail Bradley

The Festival of the Arts provides plenty of opportunities for gazing at local intriguing works of art while listening to local live music with locally made food in hand. This year some new and exciting things are put into the mix.

The Circle Stage at Rosa Parks Circle has been expanded to give space to larger performances. The opening ceremony will include performances by the drumming group WaZoBia, circus act Knotty Bits Sideshow and Glen Danles singing his tribute to Rikk David, co-chair of the festival in 1987.

A few new food booths are joining in on the fun. Families Through Adoption is providing Ethiopian cuisine with lentils and Injera bread among other options. The Islamic Foundation of West Michigan is preparing Pakistani, Middle Eastern and Indian food. Next Generation is serving an assortment of sweet and salty snacks while the Girl’s Choral Academy is serving burgers and chips. Finally, Thrive has Calas and Beignets from Africa on the menu.

Familiar sounds and acts will be heard and seen this year with performances by Mid Life Crisis, Ralston Bowles, Outer Vibe, Grand Rapids Symphonic Band, Debra Perry and Majestic Praise, Mustang, Mr. Whooha and Left Hand Daisy among others.

“Although there are always new tweaks to Festival each year, the familiar tradition of it seems to be what draws people downtown. I think having a chance to celebrate the kick-off to the summer season with the food, music and art is what inspires the crowds to join the fun,” says Lori Harrison-Smith, co-chair of the Festival with Carlos Aguilar.

The Regional Arts Exhibition will be held in the UICA this year. Visitors will be able to view that exhibition along with the UICA’s very own ‘Chroma’ until Aug. 18, 2013. Admission is free.

“The UICA venue will be a great opportunity for Festival...The UICA is a destination in itself, and we think this year's RAE (Regional Arts Exhibition) will be one of the best,” says Harrison-Smith.

Like the brightly colored poster for Festival? Be sure to also check out Abigail Bradley, the artist behind the poster, at the Art Sales tents for the first time.

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