The Rapidian

Sustainable Entertainment Part 2: GRAM Conversations

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Jewly admires the art at the GRAM

Jewly admires the art at the GRAM /Scott Warren

 The Grand Rapids Art Museum has an ongoing series of events called "Friday Night Conversations" that feature a new theme each week. For a modest $5, you can visit the GRAM, participate in different events, and view great art in your own city. They also have a cash bar for those interested. You may find local musicians, dj's, or actors in live performance. An upcoming night features a panel discussion with experts in jewelry making. The opportunity to partake in a bistro-style meal and  ballroom dancing in a modern art museum is another one of the events in the listed on the GRAM website.

 
Our recent experience with GRAM Conversations was an event called "The Art Plays", where visitors to the GRAM voted for  their choice of 4 pieces on display to have a short play written about them. The following week the plays were written, rehearsed, and ready to perform in front of eager audiences. 
 
Each play was 15 minutes in length, and was performed in front of the art that inspired it. Throughout the evening, each play was performed 4 times. With short intervals between each showtime, visitors were encouraged to explore the galleries as they navigated their way from one performance to the next.
 
Alexander Calder's "The Jealous Husband" was the inspiration for the first play that Jewly and I watched. trio of actors unravelled the story inside of a group of art patrons gathered in a large circle surrounding the Calder Jewelry Exhibit. Some of us stood on our toes trying to peer over the shoulders of others in the tightly packed ring as the sounds of african drums accompanied the actress dancing wildly in the middle of the circle. The reactions of the crowd were as intriguing to me as the play unfolding in front of us. To see the people reacting with amusement at the jokes, and to see their faces light up at the spectacle of the drums and dancing was an equally important part of the overall experience. The plays were minimalist in their construction, but people didn't feel that anything was missing from the experience. The act of using one's imagination only enhanced the event.
 
Friday Night Conversations at the GRAM offers the community a valuable opportunity to be closer to great art, and to be a part of the dialogue. What makes great art? What is happening in the art world locally? How can I be a part of it? Go to the GRAM and find out for yourself!

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