Four Ways to Experience Arts and Culture in Grand Rapids

If you’re looking for unique arts and culture events, a visit to Grand Rapids is in order. From LiveArts, an extraordinary, collaborative stage production, to the amazing beauty of the new Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, you’ll want to catch everything that’s happening in Grand Rapids this spring.

Here are four ways to experience the arts on Michigan’s west side from Experience Grand Rapids. 

1. LiveArts

Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 1.27.00 PMFor starters, you won’t want to miss LiveArts, a multi-media extravaganza about the vital role arts plays in our lives. LiveArts takes place at Van Andel Arena on April 24 and is a unique collaboration between the Grand Rapids Symphony, Symphony Chorus, Grand Rapids Symphony Youth Chorus, Grand Rapids Youth Symphony and Classical Orchestra, Grand Rapids Ballet, Opera Grand Rapids, and Broadway Grand Rapids.

The performance will include 1,500 performers and feature highlights from familiar music, like Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera” and Beethoven’s “Choral” Symphony No. 9, as well as dancing, visual effects, and more.

As you watch and listen, you’ll be drawn into the story of a young boy who discovers his passion for the cello and follow his journey as he attempts to master the instrument. Instead of taking place entirely on a traditional stage, LiveArts is creatively using multiple levels in the production.

Another unique component, says Roger Nelson, Vice President and COO for the Symphony, is the addition of visual elements. “In an ordinary concert presentation of the symphony, we ask people to use their imagination,” he says. “This show is different because in addition to hearing the music and watching the performers, people will see coordinated lighting, graphical images, and larger-than-life images of the performers.”

You can click here to read more about LiveArts in our first post on the event. Or, click here to buy tickets for LiveArts.

2. DisArt Festival

For 2 weeks, from April 10 – April 25, venues throughout Grand Rapids will host an international exhibition of artwork by artists with disabilities for the DisArt Festival. The 16-day festival will feature innovative work by over 35 international artists, with the aim of changing public perceptions about disability and connecting people through art.

DisArt logo[1]Head to the GRAM at 6PM on April 10th to hear the Curator Talk that kicks off the DisArt Festival, then join the fun at other kick-off events that will take place throughout the evening at a number of venues around Grand Rapids. During the festival, you’ll have the opportunity to view a film festival, a fashion show, several cultural education events, and dance performances as well as more traditional art exhibits. Check here for a complete list of DisArt Festival events.

When you visit the DisArts Festival you’ll also have the opportunity to see the U.S. premiere of Art of the Lived Experiment, which will be on display at three downtown locations: the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM), Kendall College of Art and Design, and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art (UICA). Art of the Lived Experiment was curated by artist Aaron Williamson for the U.K’s DaDaFest International 2014 and includes a range of artworks, from sculpture and painting to photography and ceramics, by artists from around the world. The collection will remain in Grand Rapids through July 31st

Another exhibition you can see both during and post-festival is artist Riva Lehrer’s The Risk Pictures. Lehrer’s work has been displayed at the United Nations and the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, among other locations. Visitors to Grand Rapids can see The Risk Pictures at The Richard App Gallery from April 11 – through June 30th. M

For more information, visit the DisArts Festival website.

3. The Discovery of King Tut Exhibit

For an entirely different kind of experience, check out the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s super cool exhibit, The Discovery of King Tut, which opens May 16 and runs through January 2016.

Photo courtesy of the Grand Rapids Public Museum

Photo courtesy of the Grand Rapids Public Museum

King Tut (short for Tutankhamen) became pharaoh when he was only 8-years old and died mysteriously about 11 years later. For unknown reasons, his name was erased from Egyptian monuments and he was all but forgotten until British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered his tomb in 1922.

Two parts comprise the exhibition at the Grand Rapids Public Museum: First, you’ll be transported, via media, thousands of years back in time to the world that existed when King Tut ruled. Next, you’ll learn how Howard Carter discovered his tomb all those years later.

The second part of the exhibition is a reproduction of the three incredible burial chambers discovered by Carter. The exhibit uses scientifically produced reconstructions of the chambers and their contents, so you’ll essentially see what Howard Carter saw when he made the discovery.

You can read more details and find ticket information on the GRPM website.

4. The Grand Opening of The Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden at Frederik Meijer Gardens

Photo courtesy of Dean Van Dis

Photo courtesy of Dean Van Dis

If you’ve been to beautiful Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, you’re not alone. With more than 550,000 visitors annually, it’s a destination that attracts people from all over the world to see sculptures by artists like Rodin and Moore, explore the latest gallery exhibits, play in the magnificent children’s gardens, enjoy Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory (wonderful anytime of year but especially nice to visit in the winter), take in a summer concert, or stroll through the bountiful outdoor gardens and—one of my kids favorites—Michigan’s Farm Garden.

Beginning June 13, 2015 visitors can add the 8 ½ acre Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden to their list of must-see exhibits.

The Japanese garden represents the culmination of 3+ years of hard work, begun in 2012 following the initial idea proposed by Fred Meijer in 2009. Designed by Hoichi Kurisu, president and founder of Kurisu International, Inc., the Japanese garden is in an ideal setting that includes elevation changes in addition to a variety of horticultural elements, including scenic bridges and waterfalls. As you walk through and explore the new Japanese garden, you can expect to find tranquility and simplicity in its beauty.

Photo courtesy of Dean Van Dis

Photo courtesy of Dean Van Dis

In a departure from traditional Japanese gardens, the Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden will also contain sculptures, in keeping with Frederik Meijer Gardens’ dual mission of horticulture and sculpture. To honor the essence of the Japanese garden tradition and philosophy, these contemporary sculptures will offer thoughtful and thought-providing aesthetics amidst the naturally peaceful setting.

For more information on the grand opening of The Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden, click here.

So many events, all in one place: it’s time to experience Grand Rapids!

By The Numbers: Nine Facts About Detroit Tigers Opening Day

OpeningDay

Photo via @tigers on Instagram

It’s another Detroit Tigers Opening Day in Pure Michigan, signaling the start of spring and the beginning of another season of Motor City Kitties baseball. For generations, Tigers fans would excitedly listen to the late Ernie Harwell recite “The Song of the Turtle” before each opening Day, and prepare for another season with the “boys of summer”.

To celebrate Opening Day in Detroit, considered by many as an unofficial holiday in Michigan, we rounded up nine Tigers opening day statistics. Make sure to check out our April Events Roundup for everything else happening in April in Pure Michigan.

.553 – The Tigers’ winning percentage for Opening Day games since 1901. The Tigers own a 63-50 record for opening day, including both home and away games. All time, the Tigers own a .508 winning percentage with a 9011-8719 record.

4 – Four Tops, the legendary Motown group, will sing the national anthem before the Tigers take the field against the Minnesota Twins. As part of the festivities, Michigan native J.K. Simmons will throw the first pitch.

ComericaParkfront

Photo via @stevewisey on Instagram

8 – Times the Tigers have opened the season at Comerica Park since its opening in 2000. Before Comerica Park, the Tigers played at Tiger Stadium (formerly Navin Field and Briggs Stadium) from 1912-1999.

10 – The number of opening day games pitcher Justin Verlander has spent with the Tigers. Verlander, who is currently the longest-tenured player with the team at ten years, famously won the American League Most Valuable Player and Cy Young awards in 2011.

11 – The numbers of new faces on the 2015 Opening Day roster compared to last season. These include: David Price, Joakim Soria, Hernan Perez, James McCann, Shane Greene, Alfredo Simon, Anthony Gose, Tom Gorzelanny, Yoenis Cespedes, J.D. Martinez and Angel Nesbitt.

20 – The most runs scored by a Tigers team during an opening day game. This record was set on April 13, 1993 vs. the Oakland Athletics.

Photo courtesy of Michelle Forte

Photo courtesy of Michelle Forte

23 – The number of Opening Day games the Tigers have played under the ownership of Mike and Marian Ilitch. Along with the Tigers, the Ilitch family also owns the Detroit Red Wings and Little Caesars Pizza.

30,000 – The average number of hot dogs sold at a Detroit Tigers home game. Pass the mustard!

45,068 – Fans that attended Opening Day in Detroit in 2014, setting a franchise record for attendance.

If you couldn’t make it downtown for the festivities, here’s a quick look at how Tigers fans spent the day.

What are your favorite Detroit Tigers opening day memories? Tell us below!

Michigan’s Oldest Irish Pub and Other Ways To Embrace the Emerald Isle

It’s time once again to put on your favorite green attire, cook up some corned beef and cabbage and embrace your inner Irish spirit! Our friends at the Awesome Mitten gathered up some ways that Michiganders are celebrating St. Patrick’s Day across the state. 

Though Michigan may be thousands of miles away from Ireland, the Mitten State knows how to embrace the spirit of the Emerald Isle. From parades and pub crawls, to beer-filled 5K’s, to visiting what is speculated as “Michigan’s Oldest Irish Pub,” there is a way to celebrate this lucky day in every region of the Great Lakes State.

Irish Pubs and Eateries

The Murphy – St. Clair
It is nearly impossible to say which Irish Pub in Michigan is the very oldest, but The Murphy is a strong contender. It was originally built to be a boarding house in 1836, however, is now a quaint inn with a sneaky, wild Irish Pub downstairs. There are seven guest rooms with private baths available; the perfect place to rest your head if festivities get out of hand downstairs. If you are in Southeast Michigan for the holiday, stop by The Murphy for a traditional Irish beverage and a historical tour of the inn. Staff swear that the dwelling is haunted, so be sure to ask for their best stories.

Photo via The Daily Meal.

Photo via The Daily Meal.

Fenian’s – Conklin
Fenian’s is widely considered the one of the best Irish pubs in Michigan, and for good reason. In fact, it was named to The Daily Meal’s list of 18 Most Authentic Irish Pubs in America.  After the town’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, everyone ends up here (free of charge) for live Celtic music, food, and of course, plenty of drink.

Metro Detroit
Detroit may not have a green river, but there are countless ways to fuel up at one of Metro Detroit’s Irish pubs and eateries. Here are just a few to get you started.

Old Shillelagh, Detroit
- Foran’s Grand Trunk Pub, Detroit
- The Blarney Stone Pub, Berkley
- Dick O’Dows Irish Pub, Birmingham
- Rosie O’Grady’s, Ferndale
- Sean O’Callaghan’s, Plymouth
- O’Connor’s Public House, Rochester
- O’Tooles, Royal Oak

Parades and Parties

Photo courtesy of Katy Batdorff Photography

Photo courtesy of Katy Batdorff Photography

Many places got the party started this past weekend with parades, festivals and other gatherings. But the fun doesn’t end on March 17th! There are events planned throughout the entire month of March. Check out michigan.org to see how other Michigan cities celebrate the day.

Irish on Ionia – Grand Rapids
This  event is for the hearty and the rowdy. Festivities got going on Ionia Street as early as 7am on Saturday, March 14th and continued deep into the night. 2015 marked the 5th annual event of Irish on Ionia. DJs and live music entertained the crowds all day, while many participating restaurants served up their favorite Irish concoctions.  Check out this photo gallery from the event to get you geared up for the holiday tomorrow!

Leapin’ Leprechaun 5K and Saint Patrick’s Day Parade – Traverse City
Runners rose early on Saturday, March 14th and donned their greenest running attire. The Leapin’ Leprechaun 5K mixed a morning workout with free beer, live entertainment and a smashing post-race party at the Inside Out Gallery.  The State Street Grill welcomed parade-goers before and after the annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade presented by the Ancient Order of the Hibernians.

St. Patrick’s Day Party – Bessemer
As Michiganders know, the snow we accumulate throughout the winter lingers far into March. St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect time to get some spring skiing in. Big Powderhorn Mountain in the Western Upper Peninsula is featuring a tremendous St. Patrick’s Day party at Caribou Lodge with live music being played all day. Leprechaun costumes are encouraged and the Irish beverages will be abundant.

Krazy Daze at Boyne Highlands

Krazy Daze at Boyne Highlands

Krazy Daze – Boyne Highlands
While Krazy Daze takes place after St. Patrick’s Day (March 20th-21st), it’s the perfect opportunity to keep the festivities going with green costumes and games galore. Whether you’re a face-painted kid taking a pass at the Silly Slalom, or a kid at heart warming up for the Ski Over the Pond competition at a tailgate party, you’ll find fun and laughter to keep you smiling all weekend long.

For Michiganders, St. Patrick’s Day is another sign that spring is near. So bundle up, raise your glass, celebrate the end of the bitter cold, and salute the hearty Irish at one of the hundreds of events Michigan has to offer.

How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day? 

pmphotoJennifer Hamilton has lived in various cities around the great state of Michigan and presently resides in Traverse City. When not drinking, examining, and researching the great craft beers offered in this region, Jennifer can be found trying to balance her marathon training schedule, day job, MSW course load, and three rambunctious dogs