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Grand Rapids organization expanding initiative aimed at promoting local artists, businesses

Posted at 10:28 PM, Aug 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-30 22:28:58-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  — One mural at at time, art is connecting neighbors throughout Grand Rapids while creating economic development and equity.

“The whole goal of this is to promote mobility, art equity, to be able to activate the community, to be able to give people something to do,” said Hannah Berry, owner Lions and Rabbits.

Last year, Berry organized “Creston. After Dark.”

Artists living in the city’s northeast side neighborhood painted eight murals then threw a party, promoting the muralists and local businesses while raining money for the district’s improvement.

Berry said it results in four businesses moving into the area and helped create a trash program.

“All these neighbors start to really see who is living, working, and doing things in their neighborhoods actively,” said Berry.

This year the project is expanding to four other neighborhoods, Southtown, West Side, Michigan Street, and Downtown.

Work started on August 15 with 44 artists each installing their own pieces.

“You get to see all of these artists do extremely different things that’s really unique to themselves,” said Berry.

On September 12 “QR codes” will be added to the works allowing users to play an interactive, Grand Rapids-themed board game aimed at getting people to complete tasks in each neighborhood.

“There’s 50 free things to do, which would be take a picture at this mural, and there’s 50 things to do for money, so it’d be get a bonus point and get something from Long Road,” said Berry.

Berry hopes people not only learn more about each area’s history, but see the big picture along the way.

“It’s all about the community,” said Berry. “It’s economically developing the business, it’s also economically developing the artists, it’s getting all these people out in the community, it’s getting these artists the recognition they need to be bale to make art in different cities and be able to be an artist full time.”

After Dark is still crowdfunding for this year’s project. To make a donation, click here.