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[Eat & Drink ArtPrize 2010] Pub 43

A well-stocked bar

A well-stocked bar /George Wietor

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Additional Information

Price: $
ArtPrize Hours: Open every day from noon to 2am.

Daily Specials:

  • Sunday:
    50¢ off all beer
    $1.00 off all Smirnoff products
  • Monday:
    Happy hour prices all night
  • Tuesday
    $1.00 off all top shef liquor
  • Wednesday
    Free pool all day
    $2.00 off all pitchers (we're talking $5.00 pitchers of PBR y'all)
    $1.00 off all Schapp's products
  • Thursday
    $1.00 off all bottled beer
    $1.00 off all tequila shots

To plan other stops along your ArtPrize eatery hop, refer to The Rapidian's eat and drink guide.

Artist Jesus Solis with his 2009 ArtPrize submission at Pub 43

Artist Jesus Solis with his 2009 ArtPrize submission at Pub 43 /Terry Johnston

A landmark establishment in Heartside’s Avenue for the Arts, Pub 43 (43 S. Division) has been the drinking establishment of choice for many of the art district’s longstanding organizers, residents and other insiders. Many a gallery exhibition, performance and publication have been concocted over a cheap pitcher within the walls of “the Pub,” as it is often affectionately referred to by those in the know

The staff of the pub, for their part, is enthusiastic about ArtPrize.

“It’s been great for business, great for the city, great all the way around,” said manager John Kommer. “We definitely had a pick-up in business, and even though people didn’t stay and eat or drink during it, we’ve had a lot of return business. We’ve gotten some new regulars out of it – so that’s a good thing. It brought a lot of people, not just for us, into this area. It’s brought a lot of awareness to the Heartside-area for a lot of Grand Rapids residents.”

The self-described “friendly neighborhood pub” features a full bar and a flush menu of traditional bar food served daily until 1:30 a.m.  A menu highlight is the heaping portion of sweet potato fries, an option with any basket meal or alone for $3.50.

While it will have no specific ArtPrize specials, Kommer has assured that “happy hours will be extended because we are opening at noon rather than 3 p.m., and daily specials every day.“ Happy Hour specials include $1 off all liquor, 75¢ off bottled beer, and 50¢ off drafts. Daily specials, which are in effect Sunday-Thursday from 7 p.m. - 2 a.m. are included in the sidebar to the right.

Pub 43 will be celebrating its five-year anniversary over the Sept. 17-18 weekend. Staffer Troy Stouten's abstract oil paintings will be on display in the pub until about a week before ArtPrize.

The ArtPrize Art You’ll See

Pub 43 featured a whopping 17 artists last year, but will only host 13 artists this year. “We downsized a little bit,” Kommer said. “Just because it was a little too much [last year].”

Of the 13 artists showing at Pub 43, only Jesus Solis, a Grand Rapids-resident and regular at the pub, is showing at the venue again. Last year, Solis displayed a series of digital photographs of flowers but is showing some large-scale oil paintings with a similar motif this year. The oeuvre of legendary feminist artist Georgia O’keefe offers a clear reference point for Solis’ Painted Florals, which features brightly colored close-ups of the reproductive organs of flowers. 

In addition to Solis, Pub 43 features the work of both emerging and established artists alike. The former category includes recent Kendall College of Art and Design graduate Emily Johnston, whose mixed-media installation Psychedelic Ceiling promises to molt paper “feathers” in response to the liveliness of the pub’s atmosphere. Other works by emerging artists are Community, a 58-by-68-inch collection of colorful cartoonish portraits by Gabriel Garcia–Fraire, a Chicago-based student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and Thinking of Reosseau, an impossibly chromatic photomicrograph (a large scale photograph of an object in a high-power microscope) by Richland, Mich. chemical microscropist Scott Aldrich.

Despite Kommer’s insistence that they “just kind of winged” the curation of this year’s exhibit, it is worth mentioning that several of the works on display explore the theme of flight. These works include the digital painting Strange Flight (two years in the making!) by Muskegon artist Matt Nesbary, The steam punk-influenced mixed media work Flight of the Eleanor by Wyoming-based Jess Keeney, and the large-scale abstract oil painting Flight by Ann Arbor’s Ruth Gilmore Langs.

Other works on display include: Midnight Pears, a watercolor by Grand Rapids-based Donna Lutz VanderPlas; The Chess Players, an oil painting by Muskegon-based Taylor Overbey; Fingerprints, a pastel drawing by Grand Rapids-based Joseph Rose; Soul Migration a 24’ long piece that incorporates a variety of painting techniques, including acrylic and spraypaint by Saginaw’s Paolo Pedini; White Ceders of Manistee, an oil painting by Newaygo artist John Altyn; and the delightfully titled Garbage Shawl, by Wayland-based fiber artist Gail Hollinger. Hollinger's piece is a full sized shawl weaved from plastic bags.

For more information, check out Pub 43's venue profile on the ArtPrize website.

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