The Rapidian

Art.Downtown. to highlight hundreds of local artists at one night event

This spring's Art.Downtown. will feature 400 different artists in 30 venues, displaying their work or performing everywhere from U-Haul trailers to the Grand Rapids Art Museum.
An Art.Downtown. attendee looks at the works displayed at Heartside Gallery.

An Art.Downtown. attendee looks at the works displayed at Heartside Gallery. /Courtesy of Avenue for the Arts

Underwriting support from:


Friday, April 10, 6-11 p.m.

List of locations. Maps will also be available on-site.

Street parking is free after 5 p.m., and parking is free in the Cathedral Square Parking ramp that night (enter off Goodrich or Wealthy).

Artist Abbey Blodgett works on a piece.

Artist Abbey Blodgett works on a piece. /Courtesy of Avenue for the Arts

Three artists display their print.

Three artists display their print. /Courtesy of Avenue for the Arts

This year's Art.Downtown. event will feature 400 different artists displaying their work in 38 venues across the city. The event looks to highlight local artists and musicians and help build a sustainable creative community in downtown Grand Rapids.

Art.Downtown. extends from the Avenue for the Arts corridor (South Division between Fulton and Wealthy) in the Heartside Neighborhood to Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD) and DeVos Place in central downtown, with many venues in between. 

"Here’s some of what to expect, rain or shine: artists and musicians exhibiting and performing at a variety of unexpected locations from U-haul trailers, the art museum, parking lots and private studios," says Art.Downtown. promotions coordinator Dustin Coon. "Come early and stay late, for a night on the town with family and friends."

In addition to more traditional art viewing at the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts (UICA) and KCAD, curated galleries will feature pieces adhering to different themes. Have Company will feature portraits, masks and faces and demonstrate a cross section of memory, hope, anxiety, fascination and obsession. Vertigo Music will feature an exhibit based around found objects.

"Local artists, curators and documenters get the opportunity to gain experience and showcase their work through an enriching resource, while businesses and shop owners are able to engage with the community and generate local revenue," Coon says. "Avenue for the Arts continues its dedication to creating accessible community events like Art.Downtown. that feature the vibrancy of the businesses, art and culture in Grand Rapids."

The yearly event is coordinated through Avenue for the Arts, which started in 2005 as a project of Dwelling Place, used for both affordable housing and neighborhood revitalization tactics. With this, many live/work spaces along the Avenue started hosting art shows regularly. When those grew and a few shows opened up on the same night, they decided to collaborate in a market-style art event. This event officially gained the title Art.Downtown. in April 2008.

Art.Downtown. coincides with the opening of this year's new DisArt Festival, a multi-venue disability arts festival that runs from April 10-25. Through several world-renowned exhibits of Disability Arts from all over the world, DisArt will challenge its audiences to reconsider the importance of community, identity and difference.

Art.Downtown. takes place Friday, April 10 from 6-11 p.m. Free trolleys will transport attendees to all of the major areas of Art.Downtown., and volunteers will be available to help guide them to various sites, restaurants and parking locations.

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