Tag Archives: Grand Rapids Art Museum

Echoes of applause for DisArt



The city of Grand Rapids welcomed DisArt Festival to its events calendar on Friday, April 10, with a special toast at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) and the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM). Festival staff and supporters smiled with anticipation, as a glass was raised to the event aimed to change the city’s perceptions.

“I think it’s fantastic,” says Miranda Krajniak, Executive Director of UICA. “It’s a fantastic opportunity for Grand Rapids to showcase artists that work within disability. The partnership for this festival between UICA, Kendall College of Art and Design and Grand Rapids Art Museum is really wonderful.”

Photos by Bryan Esler for stellafly

Among those in attendance was City of Grand Rapids Mayor, George Heartwell. When first approached with the concept of the festival, Heartwell had just one thing to say: “Let’s make it a year!”

“Why not make it yearlong instead of just a month?” says Heartwell. “Let’s bring lots of opportunities throughout the year for people to engage around the theme of creativity and disability.”

Each day of the festival’s 15-day run is filled with family-friendly, free events that are open to all. From performance pieces to gallery shows to artist talks, DisArt’s mission is to take the city by the hand and lead it to a place where art is everybody.

“I hope this [festival] helps shape perceptions about the abilities of disabled individuals and a new recognition is found,” says Heartwell. “People are not defined by their physical disability, but rather by their creativity and innovation; their ability to see the world in a way the rest of us cannot and to open us up to that vision.”

GRAM kicks off LaughFest in style with sponsor party



Over 100 Grand Rapidians filed into the art-filled spaces of the Grand Rapids Art Museum for LaughFest’s 5th annual sponsor celebration. Tabletops beamed with bright yellow smiles, welcoming gracious festival supporters and guests as they entered. A warm, comforting aroma of local cuisine, sweets and spirits satisfied hunger and soul.

No stranger to hospitality, the 10-day festival was created with one central goal in mind: to connect people together through the power of laughter. LaughFest comes to Grand Rapids from its very own Gilda’s Club, named after the late SNL actor, Gilda Radner. Among those in attendance at the event was Radner’s brother, Michael.

Photos by Bryan Esler for stellafly
Photos by Bryan Esler for stellafly

“I love it when I come to Grand Rapids because people actually know who I am!” jokes Michael Radner. “What I love even more is seeing this community come together and support something so important like Gilda’s Club.”

Michael Radner comes to LaughFest every year and enjoys witnessing Grand Rapidians wrap their arms around the seriousness of grief and cancer support.

“Gilda would love [LaughFest],” says Michael Radner. “She would love that it is all about making people laugh and making them happy. She would love it even more because it’s for a good cause that’s helping people.”

Helping people heal through laughter during a time of year that isn’t that funny at all: Michigan in March.

“What’s more unfunny than Michigan in March?” jokes Wendy Wigger, President of Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids. “But what has been amazing is after you turn the corner, you’ve got these bright smiles decorating the city. We don’t all laugh at the same things, but we do all laugh and that’s what this festival is about- connecting through laughter.”

Wigger and her staff welcome over 1,000 engaged volunteers to the festival this year.

“This really could not happen without the volunteers, donors, and sponsors of the community,” says Wigger. “It’s the totality of all of that partnership that makes this festival successful, year after year.”

LaughFest runs through March 15. For more information, visit laughfestgr.org.


Artprize: Juried Awards Shortlist Event



ArtPrize V started less than a week ago and already there have been almost 200,000 votes cast by the public. Amongst the thousands of visitors to downtown Grand Rapids there have been five art experts who are this year’s jurors for the Juried Awards. Last night those five jurors came together in front of a live studio audience for The Short List, which aired on WOOD TV Monday evening from the ArtPrize HUB in downtown Grand Rapids.

The five jurors came from throughout the United States, each judging a different category and awarding one of their top 5 an award of $20,000 on October 4 at the ArtPrize Awards Celebration.




John Yau, editor of Hyperallergic Weekend, has been looking at the 2-D works, or as he put it, the art that is “flat and on a wall.” To him, the pieces that stand out are those that are, “unfamiliar in an interesting way.” His five selections were (venues in parentheses):

Tropical Migrants, by Alexis Rockman (Grand Rapids Art Museum)

Europa & the Flying Fish, Kyle Staver (Grand Rapids Brewing Company)

Three and Four: Red, Yellow, and Black, Peter Crow (Cathedral Square)

Series 28 Untitled #1, Mary Rousseaux (DeVos Place)

Rick Beerhorst Painting, Rick Beerhorst (DeVos Place)



The 3-D pieces are being judged by Hesse McGraw from the San Francisco Art Institute. McGraw commented on how incredible ArtPrize is as he was, “walking through the city with thousands who are invested in art.” He stated that he wants to have his “brain broken a little bit” when he is looking at the pieces of art. His top five in the 3-D category are:

Watching, Daniel Arsham (Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park)

Ecosystem, Carlos Bunga (Site:Lab @ 54 Jefferson)

Through the Skies for You, Kevin Cooley/Phillip Andrew Lewis (Kendall College of Art and Design)

The world’s an untranslatable language II (for Charles Wright), Charles Matson Lumes (Kendall College of Art and Design)

The Unfounded Future of the Untitled, Julie Schenkelberg (Site:Lab @ 54 Jefferson)




Rashida Bumbray from New York City has been looking at the entries for the Time and Performance Based category and she also commented how impressed she was by ArtPrize and how it was “really inspiring to see people of all ages, all walks of life engaging with art.” She described her top five pieces:

Angle of Repose, Dance in the Annex (Site:Lab @ 54 Jefferson)

Sonnet 27, Arthur Liou (Site:Lab @ 54 Jefferson)

The Last Post, Shahzia Sikander (Grand Rapids Art Museum)

Whispers of the Prairie, Deanna Morse (Grand Rapids Art Museum)

Facing Al Aqaba, Maurice Jacobsen (Ab-Nab-Awen Park)


Executive Director and Curator at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in NYC, Eva Franch Gilabert, had the task of judging the Best Use of Urban Space category. She said she looks for pieces that “will transform the way we view cities.” Her top five included:

Egg Prize, David Kail (Van Andel Arena)

Facing Al Aqaba, Maurice Jacobsen (Ab-Nab-Awen Park)

united.states: an everyday people project, JD Urban (Calder Plaza)

Temporary’s Pursuit of Permanence, Hanson and Feinburg (Gillett Bridge)

I want to be different… (Ladder), Henry Brimmer (First Community Bank)


The final category for the Juried ArtPrize is Most Outstanding Venue. Alice Gray Stites, chief curator of 21c museum has been looking over all of the venues and selected her top five:

Kendall College of Art and Design

Grand Rapids Art Museum

Site:Lab @ 54 Jefferson

Craft House

Auto Fixit Body Shop




The jurors wrapped up the evening by discussing their process and how they all worked together throughout the last week. As they talked they discovered pieces and venues they had not visited and found that they all experienced the city in their own way. That is one of the great things about ArtPrize. Whether you travel from far away or even if you live here, during these 19 days we all experience Grand Rapids “in our own way.”

Happy ArtPrizing everyone!

You can download a map of all the pieces selected on Monday evening by going to woodtv.com.









The Cook Auditorium at the Grand Rapids Art Museum was filled with a little over a hundred guests on Friday night who were interested in hearing what some of the city’s most innovative and entrepreneurial creative had to say about design. This was the third annual interview/lecture event hosted by Design/Educate/Connect (DEC), a nonprofit started in 2010 by Benjamin Edgar, Josh Beebe, and Evan Daniels.

The evening’s format was a 1-1 interview, with each interviewee given the opportunity to choose their interviewer for a 12-minute conversation. First up was Cliff Wegener of Mighty in the Midwest, a mobile and web design firm located above Hopcat, who was interviewed by his close friend and mentor, Tom Crimp. Wegener had three keys to long-term success for technology design firms such as his: realize that process and technology are constantly changing; trust what you know works; and experiment with new technology, using what works for you. He described Grand Rapids as inspiring and a hotbed for technology and design, and he loves that his peers are right in his neighborhood.






Jill DeVries was interviewed by her good friend Marissa Kulha. As she talked about her passion for capturing beauty through her camera lens, it was easy to see how much she truly loves what she does. Growing up she had thoughts of being an architect and had a great love of “beautiful spaces and good design.” DeVries told the audience that in her opinion, good design is “knowing what is necessary and what is not,” and she applies that philosophy to her portraits. To her, beauty is everywhere. It is “not about the camera, it’s about the vision.”

Shoe designer Tyler Way’s career began in his freshman dorm room with a Sharpie marker. Way was interviewed by Adrienne Rehm, his girlfriend of 4 ½ years. In their lighthearted and completely endearing interview, the audience learned that Tyler got his big break by “trespassing” his way into several Detroit Pistons games by using his ID badge from his internship the previous summer. He got the attention of Tayshaun Prince, who had Way design a pair of shoes for him, and his business skyrocketed from there. After years of creating custom footwear, Way is now designing shoes for Sebago, a brand under the Wolverine Worldwide umbrella, and volunteers his time as Creative Director for Fashion Has Heart, which pairs wounded veterans with artists to create custom t-shirts.

Derek Coppess, Founder and Managing Director of 616 Development, was interviewed by Monica Clark, Director of Community Development at 616 Development. Coppess’ father was a high school drafting teacher, and he learned a lot from his father about design. He is not an architect, not an interior designer, but his experience with design comes in the form of relationships with people. He is most inspired by the human emotions that go into their projects and designing their communities. He also designs the team—616 Development is always evaluating their “tribe” and when they determine there is a gap, they make sure to fill the gap with the right person.



Then came Laura Caprara, founder of Stellafly Social Media, interviewed by Eric Kuhn of Site:Lab. Caprara graduated from Calvin College and then drove to Oregon to begin a job as a Graphic Designer, which turned into a job teaching an “old school art director” how to integrate technology into his work. She returned to Grand Rapids and eventually launched the Grand Rapids Social Diary in 2009—she would send photographers to document events around town, post the photos on Facebook, and guests at the event would tag themselves. This idea took off, and in 2010 she saw an opportunity to monetize her business and began charging for event coverage. In 2011, the business was rebranded as Stellafly in an effort to expand the efforts outside of Grand Rapids and even outside the state. Today, Stellafly does the day-to-day online messaging for organizations such as Grand Rapids Public Schools and TEDx Grand Rapids. They are also covering events that range from art openings to concerts to black tie galas.

The evening ended with Christian Saylor, Creative Director and Joe Johnston, Director of User Experience and Director of R & D for Universal Mind, interviewing each other. When asked what inspires him, Johnston answered that he loves “watching people interact with things.” He grew up on a farm so when he could, he would go to the mall and watch people do just that—interact with things. Saylor is inspired by storytelling. He told of car rides with his father who would tell him and his siblings captivating stories, and talked about the walks he takes with his wife, where they discuss the books they are reading and his favorite question to ask her is, “What’s the story?” Saylor and Johnston like to look at their projects through the lens of a great story, looking at who they are designing for and what the end product will be, based on their story.





Grand Rapids is overflowing with creativity and design, and the interviewees at tonight’s Design/Educate/Connect event were an incredible representation of this city’s talent, and it truly showed the wide variety of ways that design can be viewed. What is your definition of “design?”

LIKE Design/Educate/Connect on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thedecproject



Washing Away the Dust of Grand Rapids with Jazz


Jazz musician Art Blakey once said, “Jazz washes away the dust of everyday life.”

If true, then the dust has just been washed away from the lives of several thousand people in Grand Rapids.

Audrey Sundstrom, the Founder and Chair of the inaugural GRandJazzFest, shared this quote in the event’s program guide and based on her passion for jazz, there is definitely no dust in her life.

Sundstrom and her husband, Greg, frequently attend jazz festivals around the state. After repeatedly telling her husband she wanted a festival here in Grand Rapids, he finally told her, “If you want it here, you might just have to start it yourself.”

So she did.

And if the success of Grand Rapids’ first-ever jazz festival is the deciding factor on whether or not there will be a second GRandJazzFest, you might want to block out the third Saturday of August 2013 now.

With an overwhelmingly positive response from a crowd of thousands, the six musical acts and everyone else involved, the event is considered a huge success.

As West Michigan Jazz Society Board Member John Miller put it, “This could be the start of something big.”

Sundstrom originally approached the West Michigan Jazz Society (WMJS) and asked for suggestions on local jazz musicians. They became the nonprofit fiduciary for the event, which helped GRandJazzFest get off the ground.

The West Michigan Jazz Society played an important part by giving GRandJazzFest credibility as a jazz event,” Sundstrom says.

Early support by DTE, the presenting sponsor, and from the Downtown Development Authority kicked the event into further motion. Soon, Sundstrom started her own nonprofit, GR and Jazz, with friends and fellow jazz aficionados, Desiree Foster and Patti Flood, and then asked Molly Klimas of IntentPR to come on board to help with publicity for the event. Before the event, many more sponsors and friends got involved to ensure its success.

Sundstrom’s vision for GRandJazzFest was modeled after the River Raisin Jazz Festival in Monroe. She wanted to offer a variety of jazz genres such as big band, contemporary, traditional and Latin jazz and make it free so anyone could attend.

“I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel,” she said.

The August 18 event at Rosa Parks Circle began shortly after noon with one of West Michigan’s premier jazz ensembles, The Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra, who has played traditional, swing and big band favorites for more than 35 years, including playing the first and third Sunday of each month at Founder’s Brewery. Dressed in matching blue shirts, the Orchestra kicked off the festival with upbeat big band music including a few sax solos.

Vocalist Edye Evans Hyde, the 2011 WMJS Musician of the Year, has been singing locally and around the world for more than 30 years. She joined the Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra on stage and, in between songs, thanked the crowd for voting for her in the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition. Evans Hyde entered the online contest a few days before the August 15 deadline at the encouragement of her son, Evan Hyde, who told her, “You can’t win if you don’t try.”

Her songs immediately went from the bottom of 800 or so entries to 14 th, 19th and 23rd place. Now that her version of What Is This Thing Called Love is in the top 15, Evans Hyde has a chance to compete live on October 21 and win up to $5,000. Based on the enthusiastic rounds of applause she received after each song, the people of Grand Rapids are rooting for her to win.

Next up, GRandJazzFest offered lively contemporary jazz performed by Walt Gutowski and the Bridge Street Band. Vocalist Michelle Covington accompanied the group and sang songs such as “Smooth Operator” and more.

Covington said Grand Rapids has been longing for something like GRandJazzFest and she believes it’s good for our community. The people at Rosa Parks Circle impressed her, too.

“It’s a very responsive crowd,” she said. “They’re showing the love.”

A friend of Covington’s, Monica Scott, agreed and added, “The crowd is diverse and reflective of the community. Jazz does that.”

And a diverse crowd, it was. People of all ages, races and socioeconomic status filled the open air space. Some brought chairs while others sat on the steps or bleachers. Many people brought picnic food, books and toys to entertain the kids. A couple people brought their dogs to enjoy the jazz.

Fred Bivins, a.k.a. “Mr. Festival”, his wife Gina, Jim Winslow, Lynn Mapes and Jane Muller sat on the shady outdoor patio of the Grand Rapids Art Museum during the concert.

“We’re talking about history and listening to jazz,” Bivins said.

Nearby, Grand Rapids resident and “big jazz fan” Steve Paulsen shared a table with his cousin Dave Corbitt and wife Heather who came all the way from Belleville, Illinois to attend the GRandJazzFest.

When Grupo Ayé took the stage next, the band energized the crowd with their dynamic Latin jazz and Afro-Cuban sounds. The music inspired many to dance in the middle of Rosa Parks Circle and show off sassy merengue and salsa moves. The rest of the guests couldn’t help but move to the rhythmic beat.

Grupo Ayé’s vibrant beat and Spanish vocals is not what most people think of when they think of jazz.

Terry Johnston, a local photographer who was there shooting for the Downtown Alliance, admits to having eclectic tastes but didn’t think he liked jazz until he attended GRandJazzFest and heard what he described as “inner city funky jazz.”

Another new fan of jazz is a pink-haired, 19-year-old girl named Alix Grabow. Hanging out behind the stage, she said her father played the piano so she especially liked the keyboard solos.

“This is fun,” she said. “We always hang out downtown but we’ve never heard jazz here before. Some of it you can even dance to.”

Next on the GRandJazzFest stage was The Steve Hilger Jazz Quintet featuring many standard jazz songs with instrument solos throughout the set. That appealed to local photographer Chris Wilson who liked how everyone in the band got to show off his talent for a bit.

Lowell resident and jazz fan Barry Harding was equally impressed with the Steve Hilger Jazz Quintet.

“Any time you can hear Lee Morgan’s ‘The Sidewinder’ it’s got to be good.”

Steve Talaga not only played the keyboards for The Steve Hilger Jazz Quintet, but also for The Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra and Grupo Ayé during GRandJazzFest. This former WMJS Musician of the Year thought the event was “incredible.”

Randy Marsh, who played a few spirited harmonica solos during the set and the drums, organizes the Sunday night Jazz Jam at Hopcat each week, where experienced jazz musicians join in and perform a song or two with the rest of the group.

WMJS board member and ardent jazz fan Eddie Tadlock regularly attends the Hopcat Jazz Jam and other live jazz events around town. He thinks GRandJazzFest offers a good opportunity to showcase our local jazz musicians.

“People don’t realize the great talent that’s here,” he said. “These guys have played all over the country and the world.”

Tadlock’s friend, Elsa Fierens, grew up in Denmark and says she first became a jazz fan because her cousin, Erik Moseholm, is a well-known jazz musician there. She, too, hung around and enjoyed GRandJazzFest for most of the day because, as she says, “Music and people really make my life worth living.”

The second to the last set of GRandJazzFest featured Phil Denny, a young, animated saxophonist who radiates “sax appeal.” His first CD “Crossover” came out July 26 and it’s already making waves on the contemporary urban jazz scene.

Lansing residents Henderson and Gwen Bodiford and Robert Hurd and Diane McMillan are what you might call Phil Denny groupies. These two couples have followed him around the state to hear him perform. The women in the group have been listening to him since he was in the band at Everett High School where they both worked as assistant principals.

McMillan said the former homecoming king was “a very good student and very sweet and polite.”

The couples, who attend many other jazz festivals, came for the whole day and were impressed with GRandJazzFest.

“This is a quality line up from top to bottom,” said Hurd.

Saturday was the first time Phil Denny ever played in Grand Rapids and he was so taken by the response he received, he left the stage and played his saxophone in the middle of the audience for a bit. That roused the crowd even more, especially the women who were already gushing over the handsome musician.

Backstage, Denny applauded Sundstrom for her efforts with GRandJazzFest.

“It’s a great idea that came to fruition,” he said. “She has great passion and selected a good diversity of music for the first show.”

Throughout the day, Sundstrom walked around in her bright yellow GRandJazzFest t-shirt sporting an infectious smile on her face.

“What’s not to be happy about?” Sundstrom said at one point. “It’s a beautiful day, people are here and the music is good.”

Three other women were also smiling all afternoon. Sisters Mickey Parker, Ann Powell and Carol Allen, who were brought up on jazz, set up their chairs in a shady spot on the grass in the early afternoon. They didn’t plan on spending the rest of the day at GRandJazzFest, but they were still in the same location during the last set––laughing, grooving and having a very good time.

“This is such a release on life; a way to get away from stress,” said Powell.

GRandJazzFest headliner and guitarist Tim Bowman closed out the night with a stunning and memorable performance, just as one would expect from an internationally acclaimed performer.

His hour and 15 minute set included his two number one singles “Summer Groove” and “Sweet Sundays” and the receptive, energized crowd rewarded him with loud cheering.

Bowman described his music as “groove and melodies” and then with a wink and a dazzling smile, he added, “and fun.”

This contemporary jazz guitarist has produced six CDs and was named as Billboard’s 2009 Top 10 Smooth Jazz Artist of the Year. He also received the Best Guitarist of 2010 award at the International Jazz Festival in Dubai.

Even though Bowman only lives a few hours away in Detroit, he hasn’t been to Grand Rapids in 20 years and acted surprised by the size of city and the audience.

“It’s grown a lot,” he said. “And there are lots of people here!”

GRandJazzFest ended on a high note with a completely packed Rosa Parks Circle. The crowd energy throughout the day was positive, but especially during the last few hours, when nearly everyone was smiling, dancing and getting into the groove.

WMJS board member Darryl Hofstra summed up the end of the inaugural GRandJazzFest the best by saying, “The night is cool, but the jazz is hot.”

Hot indeed… Smoking hot.

Sundstrom was still smiling the next morning and thrilled with the festival’s results.

“It turned out to be everything I had hoped for,” she said. “I am grateful to all of the sponsors, the staff, the volunteers, the musicians and everyone who came out.”

Sundstrom had the vision for GRandJazzFest, but insists, “The event wouldn’t have been what it was without everyone’s help and so many people deserve a lot of credit.”

Thank you Audrey Sundstrom and your talented team for bringing GRandJazzFest to Grand Rapids. Please “wash away our dust” again next year.

To learn more about GRandJazzFest, visit their website: http://www.GRandJazzFest.org
LIKE them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GRandJazzFest

Richard Negre Can Bring Anything to Life Through Animation and Imagination


Richard Negre has placed thousands of miles on his airline loyalty card this year. February found him in Tokyo for the Japan Media Arts Festival. April found him in Spain for the Mecal Festival Internacional de Cortometrajes de Barcelona, a trip home for him since Barcelona and Paris have been twin homes all his life. In this regard, he is the same as Picasso, a man of France rooted in Spain. Late May found him in Zagreb, Croatia for Animafest. Next week will find him in Australia for the Melbourne Animation Festival. Fall will find him in Britain for the London International Animation Festival. This week in June has brought Negre to Western Michigan, where he has achieved a triple crown, celebrated as an honored guest at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts and the Grand Rapids Art Museum after opening an exhibition at the Fire Barn Gallery, a gallery sponsored by the Grand Haven ArtWalk.

An animator with four films on his vita and a fifth film in three dimensional color in production, Negre has promised to make the evenings at UICA and GRAM entirely different, deep examinations of the essential nature of animation, with different films screened each night. A film on the making of Une Seconde Par Jour will be screened at UICA. Negre’s first award winning film, featuring his highly sought after paintings exhibited at Parisian galleries, will be screened at GRAM. The GRAM presentation leads into a reception at Cygnus 27, on the 27th and 28th floors of the Amway Grand Hotel. Negre has astounding powers of conversation; his skills and perception will lead to fascinating conversation as one gazes over the sea of lights. He has a way to make each conversation count. Remember, Richard Negre can animate anything. Read onward.

Negre has studied at the Gobelins School of Animation in Paris as well as the Disney Studio of Montreuil, France. Even more, the entire month of May, he shared a residency in animation at the Abbaye de Fontevraud in Anjou, France, discussing and collaborating with animators from all over the world.The animator from China saw Une Seconde Par Jour, and suggested how the film could be developed merely by changing the camera’s viewpoint, and that insight made Negre think “Eureka”! However, following Christo’s gamebook, Negre funded the production of this animated short by selling the cells to a worldwide league of collectors. Negre has been astounded by the hundreds of clever ways members of his guild have achieved animative effects. An animator in South Africa has produced an animated movie on a single sheet of paper. A second animator stunned Negre with an animated movie scratched onto black, exposed film stock. If you are looking for a breakthrough in animation, Negre’s talks are for you.

The story of Negre’s visit is more than that of a world class artist leaving a trail of inspired West Michigan artists, although that effect began Wednesday night. It is a story of lifelong friendship between two painters who love the Old Masters, with Chris Protas holding up standards in West Michigan. Protas and Negre met over a decade ago while painting in a gallery of Old Masters in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, striking up a conversation. When Protas visited Negre in the Montparnasse enclave of Paris, intending to paint together, Protas discovered a historical marker on Negre’s studio. The studio, preserved to remember the presence of the Eighteenth and Nineteeth centuries, had served as studio to Modigliani and Gauguin. To welcome Negre to Grand Haven, Protas labored long into the night to hang the more than 150 pen and ink stills, numbered and dated, on the east wall of the Fire Barn Gallery, suspending the artifacts a foot before the wall on rails of white twine.

To arrange Negre’s visit to West Michigan, Protas called upon the resources of the Loutit Foundation and the Grand Haven Art Walk, establishing what has become the ArtWalk’s first artist-in-residence program. Wednesday night, Protas read from prepared remarks to introduce his friend and his work as an animator, moving remarks that celebrated an international friendship through the arts. Protas will be introducing Negre at UICA and GRAM, and his essay proves him to be one of our lakeshore’s leading thinkers on the philosophy of art. Protas cultivates artistic friendships with the same ardor he collects lost art and pictures of street art. In February 2012, his audience at the Fire Barn Gallery was delighted to meet a collaborator from Brooklyn, Jason Eisner, who brought his “On The Road” series of paintings. The schedule of the Fire Barn Gallery has been planned a year into the future, with surprises Protas keeps for the right moment.

It would be a spoiler to describe the experience of viewing Une Seconde Par Jour with the filmmaker present. Keep in mind that the filmmaker has roots in Spanish and French culture, and these cultures emerge in the animated short as a living presence. It would be a spoiler also to describe the experience of conversing with Richard Negre, who has the ability to listen with genuine attention. Negre reads voraciously the works of a local author when visiting a region, focusing on the works of Jim Harrison for West Michigan. This is the point where he draws you into his project. What is that project? Imagine that he attends his evenings with scraps of papers and a four-color ink pen. And remember, Richard Negre can animate anything and has a mission to capture time.

To be sure of the schedule, Richard Negre presents Thursday, June 14th at UICA, at 7:00 PM, a free screening. Negre’s presentation at UICA maintains the institution’s commitment to bringing award winning filmmakers to their auditorium, following on the visit of Oscar winning documentarian Daniel Junge in early May. UICA might seem to struggle; yet, the film auditorium is the vital heart of the institution where the stalwarts have chosen to rally. Negre presents as part of the Friday Night Conversation series at GRAM, Friday, June 15 at 7:00 PM.