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Introducing art collective "We Live in Piles"

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Meet the local artists in this new art collective at a community event on Sept 16 at San Chez Bistro.
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Kick off the Artprize season in style!

San Chez Bistro presents A Lot of Art! Featuring 11 Artprize artists and their installations, and an art market with over 20 local artists including We Live in Piles.

We Live in Piles is Grand Rapids’ newest up and coming artist collective. The members are: Annie DeYoung, Stephanie Voelck, Danielle Dunn, Meghan Kelly, Katie Meyer and Jessica Shelton. Between the six lovely ladies, there is a slew of creative talent representing the genres of photography, ceramics, jewelry, book binding, and other fine art and crafts.  With their piles combined, they are a creative force to be reckoned with.

The title We Live in Piles was decided upon in an interesting way. All of the girls were roommates throughout college, living and working together for about three years. “As part of Katie Meyer’s final project for Kendall College of Art and Design, she asked all of us roommates to keep journals. One conclusion after the project was the idea that we literally lived in each others piles. As artists we are constantly moving things from place to place, rearranging and attempting to re-inspire. In that process, all of the materials tend to pile up,” explains Danielle Dunn.

The members of the group have been taking many steps recently to become professional artists in the local community. For example, Jessica Shelton is currently teaching a class at the UICA, Stephanie Voelck exhibited in a recent show at Dinderbeck studio and a few of the members exhibited in Art.Downtown this past April. It has also been a busy year for Annie DeYoung who has been head of the Artprize curatorial commitee for San Chez Bistro, with Danielle Dunn as her sidekick. The collective as a whole participated for their first time in the Market presented by the Avenue for the Arts earlier this summer. Their vendor booth exemplified some of Grand Rapids’ best handmade items and was a highlight for many guests of the event. The group looks forward to continued involvement with the Avenue for the Arts as well as additional festivals and art markets. 

Danielle speaks for everyone, “We are excited to be able to team up with the Avenue for the Arts and show our support for a community that is all about handmade things.” These artists are all about the idea of handmade things, and helping the handmade movement grow in the area.  Danielle elaborates, “Buying local and handmade gives us the ability to have control over our belongings, our community and our economy. Making local, handmade purchases can ensure us that the things we own, give and receive are ethical.”

This month, We Live in Piles will display their artwork and handmade items for the community in two different exciting events. The event, San Chez Bistro presents A Lot of Art, was created by DeYoung and Dunn as part of San Chez Bistro’s Artprize committee. The event promises to kickoff Artprize in style on Sept. 16, from 4-9 p.m. at 38 W Fulton. The installations of 11 Artprize artists will be celebrated, including the unveiling of a new mural by Phanie-Mills Behning. The event will feature live performances throughout the evening, appetizers provided by San Chez, a cash bar and more. In the parking lot behind the restaurant, there will be over 20 artists in an outdoor artisan market, with a variety of handmade goods available for purchase. As part of the market, We Live in Piles will be showcasing their newest handcrafted items ranging from jewelry to fine art photography. With the generous support of San Chez Bistro General Manager Cindy Schneider, all proceeds raised from this event will benefit the Avenue for the Arts. Tickets will be available in advance by calling 774-TAPA.

Another opportunity to view and purchase the work of We Live in Piles and many other local artists will be offered to the public Sept. 21, 22 and 23. Artshop will be an Artprize event along the Avenue for the Arts. The parking lot at 106 S. Division will be transformed into an outdoor style art market with more than 15 vendor booths. This will be a chance to celebrate the joy of things made by hand and all of the amazing creative talent that exists here in Grand Rapids.



article submitted by Jessica Hacker


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