Grand Rapids Hosts Rural Arts & Cultural Summit
The Rural Arts and Culture Summit was founded in 2011 and is a biennial practitioner-driven gathering that celebrates and expands the field of rural arts-based in community development.
Shantel Dow, Reif Council and Performing Arts Center Executive Director, says, “This weekend is just so exciting because the Reif Arts Council and Reif Center is heavily involved in the summit and we are the location for majority of the activities for the Rural Arts and Culture Summit, so we’re helping to facilitate and support the Springboard for the Arts with this whole venture.”
The summit has more than 25 workshops and presentations by dozens of rural arts and culture practitioners across the country. The workshops will create dialogue ranging from an array of topics.
Katie Marshall, MacRostie Art Center Executive Director, says “As part of the planning for all of this, there’s been a host committee that’s comprised of different people from the community here that have been involved in helping put together some of the events that highlight the local community.”
Sonja Merrild, Grand Rapids Arts and Culture Commission Chair, says the commission’s finest contribution for the summit is to be able to co-host such a wonderful event and place public artwork in the city for the first time.
“The Grand Rapids Arts and Culture Commission is one of the many art institutions in this town, and so we’ve been a partner to Springboard for the Arts and just making sure that we were actually networking with our local artists to make sure we had the capacity to actually host an event like this,” said Merrild.
The festival is already off to a great start and has packed day for tomorrow as well. The city of Grand Rapids is honored to be able to host this year’s summit and look forward to hosting art summits in the future.
“I’ve been to the arts and cultural summit a few different times and it’s always just a great opportunity to hear what people are doing in other places, and I just think it’s a great chance to get ideas and I think that’s a lot of what will come out of the summit, people here in the community will hear what folks are doing elsewhere and maybe we’ll get some great new ideas for the next project to take on,” says Marshall.