ArtWalk organizers plan more community festivities

For the second year of ArtWalk, the event's organizers are preparing for more creations to fill Grand Haven's streets, storefronts and municipal buildings. This year's event kicks off at noon Sept. 21, when Mayor Roger Bergman and several other city officials do the honor of a ceremonial painting that will hang in ArtWalk headquarters, 20 N. Fifth St., throughout the competition. The opening day ceremony will be held outside of The Grand, 22 Washington Ave.
Alex Doty
Sep 15, 2011

“We have more than 170 artists involved with ArtWalk this year, so there are many pieces to view,” event organizer Steve Loftis said. “Artwork will be displayed in businesses and community buildings in four zones — including the waterfront, downtown, hilltop and Centertown. The entire area is filled with eye-catching paintings, sculptures, photography, mixed media and two-dimensional works.”

The public will be able to vote on their favorites during the event, which runs through Oct. 8. Winners in four categories will be awarded cash prizes at an awards ceremony, scheduled to be held on Grand Haven’s waterfront at the conclusion of the ArtWalk.

Dana Kollewehr, director of the Grand Haven Main Street Downtown Development Authority, said more has been done this year to encourage venues to stay open longer or place art in store windows to allow for easier public viewing.

Organizers said there are more venues this year — including the entire second floor of the Tri-Cities Historical Museum being dedicated to housing art; as well as the Grand Haven Community Center, Rendezvous restaurant and Frame & Mat Shop.

Organizers also have some community gatherings planned this year, including a block party in Centertown at the Frame & Mat Shop on Sept. 28. That event will feature a pig roast, live music and a mural painting.

“We’re expecting 200-300 people, if not more,” ArtWalk spokeswoman Kelly Gates said of the block party.

Another addition to this year’s event is the Indie Rock Festival on Washington Avenue in downtown Grand Haven. This two-day event, which was held during the downtown sidewalk sales in August 2010, will feature 10 bands in a non-competitive format.

“I think the reaction has been positive about that change,” Kollewehr said.

Indie Rock Festival organizer Mike Coleman said he is expecting 500-800 people for the event, which will take place near the corner of Washington Avenue and Harbor Drive.

Coleman said there will be five bands each night performing for nearly an hour each. Bands expected to perform include Theo Katzman & Lovemassive, Nathan Kalish & The Wildfire, Four Finger Five, Bangups, The Soil and the Sun, Garrett Borns, Lazy Genius, Press Delete, Head and King Crabapple.

“These are bands that you are not hearing on the radio,” Coleman said. “Hopefully, one of these bands is the next Rolling Stones.”

Coleman said with the event being in its second year, they are excited about the possibility of adding national touring acts next season.

“We’re right on the edge of making it something that will put Grand Haven on the map,” he said.

Also on Sept. 24 will be the display of the “Rocket Fish” minnows. People who purchased and created a minnow can register their minnow along the waterfront and display their fish for a fan vote.

Those with large “Rocket Fish” can also participate in a fan voting competition.

From Sept. 21-23, those with large fish are asked to head to the Chamber of Commerce building and register their fish. They will then be placed on the sidewalk on either side of Washington Avenue, between Harbor Drive and Beacon Boulevard.

“That Saturday is going to be really, really busy,” Kollewehr said.

Other events taking place during the three-week event include the naming of the waterfront sculpture by Grand Haven artist Mike Westra on Sept. 22, a family art party on Oct. 1 at the ArtWalk headquarters, and a youth art competition at Loutit District Library on Oct. 1-2.

For a complete list of events and more information about this year’s ArtWalk, visit www.ghartwalk.com.

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