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Avenue's Annual Arts Conference Holds Final Session This Thursday

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Break It Down | Make It Better holds "State of the Art: GR" panel discussion on March 25 to reflect the present and future of art in Grand Rapids
Panelists at Break It Down | Make It Better in 2020

Panelists at Break It Down | Make It Better in 2020 /Little Space Studio

Break It Down | Make It Better Info

Register and learn more at

A roundtable discussion at Break It Down | Make It Better in 2020

A roundtable discussion at Break It Down | Make It Better in 2020 /Little Space Studio

State of the Arts: GR

State of the Arts: GR /Avenue for the Arts

In 1969, the National Endowment of the Arts funded the installation of the Calder, spurring an arts boom within Grand Rapids. The Festival of the Arts followed one year later, along with many public art exhibitions for locals to interact with and enjoy. Since those days, Grand Rapids has strived to be a destination for artists and art enthusiasts. Of course, achieving this goal is easier said than done. There are many elements necessary for artists to take root and flourish. Artists need encouragement from one another, the opportunity to share in each other’s knowledge and skills, and support from the city around them. Attention from local media and community buy-in are crucial for the growing of the arts. Like any community, artists are stronger together than they are apart, but with the rise of COVID-19, gathering to form those key connections has been more difficult than ever. Break It Down | Make It Better, a free virtual arts program, is a chance to change that. 

The past year has sparked a longing for change in Grand Rapids, one influenced heavily by the economic challenges brought by COVID-19. Break It Down | Make It Better will allow creatives to gather safely over Zoom to inspect the artist’s role in key issues facing the city. This Thursday the three-week educational series will close out with "State of the Art: GR" which will feature members of the local art community like Michele Bosak, curator of the UICA; Steffanie Rosalez, CEO of Grandville Avenue Arts and Humanities; and Adrian Butler, designer, musician, and DJ. The six-member panel discussion will focus on defining the present moment in the arts in Grand Rapids as well as imagining its future. It follows two lively sessions which ran earlier in the month, "Striving and Thriving in the Pandemic" and "Reinvigorating Local Arts Journalism." This week's session runs from 7-8:30pm on Thursday, March 25th. It is a chance to come together and ask what we can do to better ourselves and our city.

For six years, Break It Down | Make It Better has aimed to connect artists to the community around them. One previous attendee said “This was the most inspiring event I have attended in a long time.” Another praised the event for its “well-informed panelists and moderators who love what they do and love Grand Rapids.” Through the weekly discussions, artists will have the opportunity to connect and build relationships in such a way that they can become resources for one another. In forming strong connections, artists and art enthusiasts can actively support their communities and the individuals in them. 

“This program comes after a year of withdrawal from life as we knew it,” says Zachary Trebellas of the Avenue for the Arts. “People have had a lot of time to pull back and reflect, so I think with the possibility of post-pandemic life in 2021, Break It Down | Make It Better will help people take that next step toward the ideas they’ve been developing.” 

For the first time, admission to Break It Down | Make It Better is free to the public. Following each session, attendees are invited to a free virtual happy hour hosted on the web platform High Fidelity. Here, the conversations and connections can continue, and guests can reflect together on their experiences with series. 

For more information, please visit Register today!

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