Grand Rapids Arts Working Group Announces Virtual Arts Festival, June 5 and 6, 2020


GRAND RAPIDS, MI – While we are not yet able to gather for concerts, go to the ballet, or walk through art galleries, Festival of the Arts and the other 20 cultural organizations that make up the Grand Rapids Arts Working Group are working together to host a Virtual Arts Festival. This special event will stream live on 10 am-9 pm Friday, June 5, with an encore showing on Saturday, June 6 – the traditional weekend Festival of the Arts would take place in downtown Grand Rapids.

“Partnering with over twenty arts and culture organizations, the production/design team of Sidecar Studios and Well Design, and hundreds of artists and performers on the Virtual Arts Festival, showcases the collaborative spirit of our community,” says David Abbott, Executive Director of Festival of the Arts. “The recent restoration project of Alexander Calder’s La Grande Vitesse celebrates the restorative power of the arts for us all!“

This virtual event will highlight the Grand Rapids’ area local talent, including performing, visual, and culinary arts, along with performances from the Grand Rapids Symphony, Ebony Road Players, Grand Rapids Ballet, Opera Grand Rapids, the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s Mighty Wurlitzer Organ, and more.

“People need the arts now more than ever as we begin to process this epidemic and move forward. The ingenuity of Festival of the Arts by creating this virtual event signals a wonderful opportunity for healing in our community,“ says Emilee Syrewicze, Executive Director of Opera Grand Rapids.

“It’s been a privilege for the Grand Rapids Symphony to serve as honorary co-chairs for Festival of the Arts this past year. Though it won’t be the same, we’re just as thrilled to share our gift of music with the community at the Virtual Arts Festival,” said President and CEO Mary Tuuk. “Music not only is one of our greatest joys, it’s one of our greatest sources of comfort in trying times. When we need it, we can count on music to nourish our soul and lift our spirits.”

Performers interested in submitting work for consideration may send a recorded video to by May 15th. Submissions must be original work or public domain to be considered.

Visual artists can upload a photo of artwork to to apply to be featured in the online Regional Arts Exhibition, which will be included in the streaming Virtual Arts Festival as well as housed on the Festival of the Arts website. Submissions must be received by midnight May 14th.

The 11-hour streaming event will culminate in a showcase presentation including Mayor Rosalyn Bliss and City Manager Mark Washington, leaders from Grand Rapids Arts Working Group organizations, and a performance from the Grand Rapids Symphony.

The Virtual Arts Festival sponsors as of May 6 are DGRI, Metro Health, Pioneer Construction, and Warner Norcross + Judd.

About Grand Rapids Arts Working Group

The Grand Rapids Arts Working Group represents a collaborative and community-facing collective of 20 arts and culture organizations. Founded in 2019 to serve West Michigan and beyond, the collective provides organizations with a framework in which to connect, identify common objectives, engage in shared learning, encourage and support each other, and work in common purpose to ensure the vibrancy of arts and culture in West Michigan, now and in the future.