GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — It's no secret - Grand Rapids has a thriving arts community, that includes, yet goes beyond the theatre, ballet, symphony and art museum.
By lifting up our creative community, we all win. Lions & Rabbits Center for the Arts is one organization that’s doing that in so many different ways.
It is impossible to travel around the city of Grand Rapids and not experience public art. From larger-than-life murals to storm drains to electrical boxes, "I think the amount of art that's getting out into the city is not only pushing people to recognize the artists in the city, but it's really pushing the boundaries of artists and creatives in the city to see what they can do next.”
That is one of the driving forces behind the ever-growing exhibit, Hannah Berry, the founder and executive director of Lions & Rabbits Center for the Arts.
The organization started as a business to create her own art, and it’s evolved more than she could have ever expected. "We have changed our mission statement probably 10 times, it's now just about celebrating creative innovation and how do we get artists to a point where they are freely innovating.”
Today it’s a thriving non-profit that’s growing piece by piece across the sprawling city. "There's just much need for individual artists care, entrepreneurship, development for artists, and there's many people striving to do these things but there needs to be people in each neighborhood doing them.”
Beyond providing opportunity, Lions & Rabbits helps artists with all the things besides creativity. "They want more hands-on development, they want help with their budgeting, their artist statements, their understanding of how you run and operate a scissor lift, so it's all of these things that you need to feed out to different fields. We're almost becoming a communication point for people as well as an arts organization for people.”
Then there's the exposure, during signature events like After Dark, the public is able to experience art, support the artist and watch the face of their communities change.
Starting in May, keep an eye out for Second Saturdays. "They’re fundraising events, so we'll have a liquor license in that designated area, and we have about 100 artists that we're trying to shoot from - from entrepreneurs to small businesses they can come and vend at these markets. It’s just a celebration of arts and culture.”
All the money raised during those events goes back into public art projects. “It's really a way for the community to come experience, have fun see all of the things that have happened, pre-Covid, out of Covid, and really come celebrate the community.”
This is just a fraction of what Lions & Rabbits is doing. You can support them through donations, volunteering and attending events.
Coming up on April 9th, there will be an event with Kingma’s Market in Creston at 2225 Plainfield Ave NE from 11:00 am-4:00 pm. There will be food samples, interactive art, quality crafts, and more. You can also rent their space - buy art and more.
Head to https://www.lionsandrabbits.com/ to learn all about them.