Meet with us


What: Community Meeting on the City’s Arts and Culture Plan

When: Tuesday, September 16, 6 – 7:30 pm

Where: Timberlake Lodge Hotel, Grand Rapids

A few months ago I happened across a “handout” from the McKnight Foundation. Jay Walljasper: 27 Bright Ideas We Should Steal from the Rest of the World outlines success stories from Denver, Finland, Suburban D.C. and our own Minneapolis-St. Paul (I’m Minnesota proud!) and other communities. I am happy to say that many of those ideas can be part of an arts and culture plan, and many of those ideas are already on the minds of people in the Grand Rapids community.

Here are some teasers from the 27:

5. Think big about transit.

6. Make ambitious downtown plans.

7. Foster mixed-used development.

8. Blow your own horn.

9. Celebrate what’s distinctive here.

14. Collaborate across racial and social divides.

15. Embrace interculturalism.

16. Bring back the town square.

17. Reclaim streets for people.

21. Find cold-weather cheer at holiday markets.

22. Brighten long nights with artistic light displays.

23. Construct ice castles and ice-skating trails.

24. Stand out as America’s best bike town.

26. Celebrate our cultural treasures in a winter holiday.

Really, you say, these are part of an arts and culture plan? Small rural communities throughout Minnesota are using arts and culture to develop the economy, tourism, parks and downtowns. Arts and Cultural Heritage Funding from the State of Minnesota has given a big boost to many projects.

Grand Rapids has the best of the best for consultants to assist the Grand Rapids Arts and Culture Commission in developing its 10-year strategic plan. Anne Gadwa Nicodemus of Metris Arts Consulting and Ann Markusen of the Humphrey Institute are nationally known for their collaborative work on arts and economic development. Lynn Osgood of Go Collaborative has worked with the community of Austin, Texas to ignite many projects incorporating arts and urban design.

You can meet them at the Grand Rapids Arts and Culture Commission’s first community meeting on Tuesday, September 16, 6 – 7:30 pm at Timberlake Lodge. All facets of the community are welcome and needed. Hear about what a plan can do to transform a town and then have your input.

A big thanks to the Blandin Foundation, IRRRB, Itasca Economic Development Corporation, Grand Rapids Arts and the City of Grand Rapids for making this all happen.

Kathy Dodge