Art Connections

Over the course of 2020 and 2021, we have been partnering with many organizations to keep art alive in West Michigan. We want to thank and highlight this group of arts leaders in our community.

  • Grand Rapids Ballet:

    Celebrating our 50th anniversary in 2022, Michigan’s only professional ballet company is committed to lifting the human spirit through the art of dance under the current leadership of James Sofranko as artistic director, Glenn Del Vecchio as executive director, and Attila Mosolygo as director of Grand Rapids Ballet School and its Junior Company.

    A proud recipient of the ArtServe Michigan Governor’s Arts Award for Outstanding Cultural Organization, Grand Rapids Ballet has a rich history marked by steady growth, a commitment to excellence, and strong community support

  • Grand Rapids Civic Theatre:
    • Organizational Description: Established in 1925, the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre and School of Theatre Arts is one of the oldest and largest community theatres in the nation.
      Our Mission: We are committed to enhance the cultural life of West Michigan by creating opportunities for people to enjoy live theatre performances using community artists, and to provide access to a comprehensive theatre arts education program for all ages.

Our Vision: We are continually working to ensure that the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre remains one of the great community theatres in the nation, through the passionate delivery of high-quality live performance, innovative and comprehensive education, enriching volunteer participation, and a superior customer experience.

  • Cecilia Music Center:
    • Organizational Description: Since 1883, the mission of St. Cecilia Music Center (SCMC) has been to promote the appreciation, study, and performance of music in order to enrich the human spirit and enhance the quality of life for the residents of West Michigan. As the oldest performing arts organization in the region, SCMC has had a profound impact on the cultural life of the community. It continues to uphold the original mission by presenting three concert series which feature world-renowned jazz, folk, and chamber musicians; providing premium music education every year through the School of Music to hundreds of students; and preserving and maintaining its restored historic building in downtown Grand Rapids, which houses most of SCMC’s activities and offers space for community events.
    • Links:
  • DisArt:
    • Organizational Description: DisArt believes that expressions of a disability culture can transform communities from awareness, to understanding, to belonging, ensuring the full and equitable participation of all disabled people.
      Working as a production company, consulting group, and community developer, DisArt has established and maintained a recognizable presence in the global understanding of Disability Art and Culture. With unprecedented success in artistic programming and community impact, DisArt has positively shaped and influenced the cultural and aesthetic rendering of physical and mental differences in Grand Rapids.
  • Grand Rapids Art Museum:
    • Organizational Description: As a beacon of the arts in an art-loving city, GRAM is more than a world-class museum. We believe art is essential for everyone. It connects and inspires. It gives us a greater understanding of different perspectives and experiences. It helps us reflect on current issues. And it expresses universal themes that help us see each other as one human community. Our exhibitions, events, and educational programming span topics, mediums, and genres to connect with and invite a wide variety of audiences. We are an arts venue, resource, and educational institution for the entire Grand Rapids community, the State of Michigan, and beyond. Welcome to your art museum.
  •  Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park:
    • Organizational Description: Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, located at 1000 East Beltline N.E. in Grand Rapids, MI, opened to the public in April of 1995. One of the nation’s most significant sculpture and botanic experiences, Meijer Gardens includes Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory; five indoor theme gardens; outdoor gardens, nature trails and boardwalk; sculpture galleries and permanent sculpture collection; library; café; gift shop; education center; and meeting rooms. Both indoors and outdoors, the 158-acre main campus is barrier free and handicap accessible. Our 2009 building upgrade was awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver status by the USGBC (U.S Green Building Council). Since it opened, Meijer Gardens has attracted more than twelve million visitors.
  • Ebony Road Players:
    • Organizational Description: Ebony Road Players is a Grand Rapids theater company whose mission is to inspire, educate and engage cultures of our community with high-quality theater productions focused on the Black experience. We strive to bring together all facets of the Grand Rapids community through theater arts education, producing plays by renowned Black playwrights, and community-based works.
    • Links:
  • Opera Grand Rapids:
    • Organizational Description: Opera Grand Rapids enriches our West Michigan community through the creativity and excellence of this timeless art form. Opera is a unique, powerful experience that moves people. Opera is also an occasion–a night out filled with music, vocal athleticism, drama, and a story with an emotional appeal that brings people back time after time.
  • Grand Rapids African American Museum & Archives:
    • Organizational Description: Oral history, in African culture, was performed by the griots or storytellers. They kept the history and traditions of the family, tribe and nation, but was generally considered a masculine job. When Africans were brought to the Americas, that duty shifted to our womenfolk. In recent times that person was a grandmother, granny, nana, grandma or GRAAMA. Our acronym describes much about our mission: collecting and retelling the rich, colorful stories which composes the historic African American tapestry of living in Grand Rapids.
  • Creative Youth Center:
    • Organizational Description: The Creative Youth Center’s mission is to prepare kids for life’s adventures by supporting their writing and amplifying their voices. At the CYC, kids become published authors, leading to a strong sense of identity and an enthusiasm for learning. While the CYC has not been running in-person programming since 2020, you can stay up-to-date on upcoming CYC events by following us on social media and checking out our website. The CYC runs on community support and is always looking for volunteers who reflect our diverse community!
  • Actors’ Theatre Grand Rapids:
    • Organizational Description: Actors’ Theatre is committed to bringing West Michigan the best in entertaining, innovative, challenging and thought-provoking theatre. We believe in the inclusion of all.
      What we do:
      • We believe in the inclusion of all and are dedicated to making a difference in our community
      • Actors’ Theatre provides over 55 Michigan artists jobs each season
      • Every year Actors’ Theatre involves over 50 new volunteer performers from our community
      • Actors’ Theatre is the only community theatre in Grand Rapids that pays our actors for performances
      • We produce high quality, innovative works that due to content or size, are not seen on any other stage in Grand Rapids
  • Grand Rapids Women’s Chorus:
    • Organizational Description: The GRWC is a diverse, non-profit, volunteer group of more than 70 women who are passionately devoted to musical excellence and using the power of music to delight, to uplift, and to advance the cause of social justice. For 26 years we have been dedicated to placing a spotlight on issues that are often difficult to discuss as a community. We have been successful in highlighting the need for equity, unity and justice for all people through performance and community activism. Each year we donate 10% of proceeds from our Spring Concert to a West Michigan organization fighting for social justice.


  • Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts:
    • Organizational Description: UICA presents innovative art, events, and educational programs that represent our world today. Our programs foster belonging by sharing perspectives that grow an equitable, thriving culture and community.
      UICA exhibits contemporary artwork from regional, national and international artists throughout the year. UICA hosts a range of events including docent-led tours, performance art, artist receptions, and gallery talks. UICA is an auxiliary enterprise within Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University.

      Through compelling exhibitions, events, community programs, public art, and youth development, we actively challenge both artists and audiences to new levels of dialogue, creative pursuit, and reflection.
  • Avenue for the Arts:
    • Organizational description: Avenue for the Arts supports Grand Rapids creatives by offering resources, exhibition opportunities, and professional development that enable them to experiment, grow, and flourish. Expanding from its origins as Grand Rapids’ downtown creative business district, the Avenue is an organization empowering artists throughout our city.
  • Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities:
    • Organizational Description: Grandville Avenue Arts and Humanities (GAAH) operates the Cook Arts Center and the Cook Library Center—two facilities that exist for neighbors who live on the southwest side of Grand Rapids. Populated by a racially and ethnically diverse group of neighbors, it is also the area of Grand Rapids that has the highest population density of youth.
      • Links:
      1. Girls Rock Grand Rapids Showcase was virtual this year.
      2. Animation made by students in the animation class.
      3. few fun pictures from recent programming.
  • Grand Rapids Public Museum:
    • Organizational Description: The Grand Rapids Public Museum is a publicly-owned institution, located in downtown Grand Rapids, MI. It is a place of never-ending inspiration and discovery, with a focus on science, history and culture. The GRPM is the oldest and one of the largest museums in Michigan, with a collection of over 250,000 artifacts and specimens, many of which are accessible via org. The Museum’s main public facility, the Van Andel Museum Center, hosts three floors of educational exhibits for visitors to explore, along with the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium. The Museum offers virtual and onsite programming for schools and the community to inspire curiosity. Details can be found online at Be Curious.
    • Links:
    • Circle Theatre:
      • Organizational Description: The mission of Circle Theatre is to enrich, entertain and educate our community through exceptional theatrical arts in an intimate setting.
      • Links:
        • Circle Theatre Summer Concert Series: FREEBIRD: Classic Rock of the ’70S Concert
        • Circle Theatre Living Room Virtual Concert Series: Brandon Harris Featuring Debra Perry & Friends Concert
        • Circle Theatre Virtual Series: Spoon River Anthology (Episode 4): Featuring Erica Soto
        • Circle Theatre Virtual Series: Spoon River Anthology (Episode 30): Featuring Nio Walton
        • Circle Theatre Virtual Series: Spoon River Anthology (Episode 31): Featuring Jaelyn Raiford
    • ArtPrize:
      • Organizational Description: ArtPrize® is an open, independently organized international art competition which takes place in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It celebrates artists working in all mediums from anywhere in the world, and is open to any creative with an artwork to enter and a venue willing to host it. For 18 days, art is exhibited throughout the city in every imaginable space. ArtPrize awards $450,000 directly to artists, through grants to support their ambitious work and through prizes which the public decides through the ArtPrize mobile app.
      • Links:
    • Local Spins:
      • Organizational Description: After 30 years as a newspaper reporter, editor and music critic, John Sinkevics founded the Local Spins website in early 2012. Based in Grand Rapids, the online publication covers the West Michigan music scene via features on local artists, album and concert reviews, news updates, guest musician columns, festival and concert listings, photo galleries, videos, podcasts and playlists. Sinkevics also hosts the weekly Local Spins on WYCE radio show that spotlights the music of Michigan artists at 11 a.m. Fridays on WYCE 88.1 FM. Logging 13 years as a music critic and entertainment writer for the Grand Rapids Press and more than nine years at Local Spins, Sinkevics’ work has been acknowledged by musicians, music lovers and radio listeners: Not only was the Grand Haven native honored by WYCE with a Legacy Award for his support of the music community, but he finished third in Revue Magazine’s 2016 “Best of the West” readers’ poll for favorite radio personality. Local Spins is the fastest-growing music website in West Michigan, with a growing audience of devoted readers and a dedicated, talented staff of freelance writers and photographers who tirelessly provide coverage of bands, solo artists, concerts, festivals and more.
      • Links: