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Grand Rapids Zine Fest to showcase work of 60 local self-publishers

The fourth annual Grand Rapids Zine Fest is from 12-6 p.m. this Saturday, July 16 at Kendall College's Fed Galleries.
Attendees at Grand Rapids Zine Fest

Attendees at Grand Rapids Zine Fest /Elice Davey

Underwriting support from:
Grand Rapids Zine Festival sign

Grand Rapids Zine Festival sign /Elice Davey

Granda Rapids Zine Fest poster

Granda Rapids Zine Fest poster / Rayne Klar

Get ready, writers, artists, self-publishers, and those that love all things handmade…the 4th Annual Grand Rapids Zine Fest (GRZF) is taking place this weekend, and the event is shaping up to be the biggest and best one yet.

For those that are new to the terminology, “zines” are self-published works, usually produced with photo-copier and printer. They often deal with topics that are too controversial or niche for mainstream publishers.

Held downtown again this year at Kendall College of Art and Design (KCAD)’s Fed Galleries at 17 Pearl Street NW, the event will be showcasing the work of more than 60 local self-publishers, and several local businesses and organizations that support them, including Vault of Midnight, Creative Youth Center, Issue Press, The Bandit Zine/Grand Rapids Feminist Film Festival, Have Company and Bombadil Books.

A free workshop on pricing and marketing your self-published works and several readings will take place throughout the day.

Organizers Sara Chittenden and Drew Damron share that they have seen the event grow steadily over the past few years. Since 2012, Chittenden and Damron have been passionately and inclusively supporting the work of local self-publishers, and have relied on donations, tabling fees, and talented friends who volunteer their time and skills to make the zine fest a reality. The event sold out of booth space early this year.  

"Grand Rapids Zine Fest has grown the DIY culture in Grand Rapids tremendously and has started a trend of self-publishing, which we couldn't be happier about,” Lydia VanHoven, driving force behind The Bandit Zine and Grand Rapids Feminist Film Festival says. "GRZF is so important for artists, writers and makers in Grand Rapids, and West Michigan. The zine culture is something we treasure, an inclusive group of amazingly talented, forward-thinking people. We couldn't be happier to be a part of it."

The allure of the event also lies in its commitment to being radically inclusive. The organization’s website includes a “Safer Spaces” policy, stating:

Grand Rapids Zine Fest is organized to create and uphold a space that is not ruled by commercial interests, publishing giants, sexist, racist, ageist, ableist, and/or trans/homophobic individuals. It is a collectively shared and generative space wherein all peoples involved are respected and cared for.

Marlee Grace, local dancer, owner of Have Company, and tabler at the event shares: “Going to Chicago’s zine fest in 2010 completely changed my life…I knew right then I wanted to somehow dedicate my life to zines 365 days a year: to selling them, to reading them, to making them, to going to readings, to watching other people make zines. I found zines about sobriety and mental health and self care and survival. I’m so happy that Grand Rapids now has its own event to bring this kind of accessible change to the folks who live here.”

Admission is free and open to the public, and the event runs from 12:00-6:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 16, 2016. Attendees are encouraged to bring cash, as many zinesters will not be set up to take alternate forms of payment.

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