Archive: Free Radical

Free rad banner

Before there was ArtPrize, there was… FREE RADICAL


Before ArtPrize, Site:LAB or even ArtPeers, there was the Free Radical Gallery which was a gallery space originally started in 2002 by local artist Mark Rumsey. Now, on the 7th and 14th of November, Free Radical returns to the Avenue for the Arts along South Division Ave for its 12th anniversary celebration !

Vacant storefront spaces will be transformed into temporary galleries featuring an eclectic mix of local art and artists. Additionally, many of the galleries and businesses on the Avenue such as Have Company, Parliament and Vertigo Music will have extended hours, gallery openings and the hosting of local artists. Artist Live/Work spaces will also open their doors to show and sell original pieces of artwork!

This annual two-night experience is an energetic fall happening showcasing 100+ local artists and curators. It will include live entertainment and performers –all with a focus on available commercial spaces and the increasing of public awareness to Heartside as a location for innovation and entrepreneurial commerce. The goal of this event is to create and strengthen local community & commerce by attracting downtown residents as well as friends and supporters from the surrounding neighborhoods and suburbs of Grand Rapids & beyond !
Free Radical is coordinated by Avenue for the Arts & Dwelling Place‘s Neighborhood Revitalization Department, which works to promote economic development in the Heartside area. Working to enhance not only the physical appearance of the commercial district, Dwelling Place works to promote the commercial district’s assets to customers, investors, businesses, visitors, and citizens. The Neighborhood Revitalization Department builds upon the existing economic base, promoting new business development.
These two special Friday-night events will be held at a variety of locations, businesses and spaces on & around the Avenue for the Arts (aka S. Division Ave).

  • The Shows: Friday, November 7th, 2014
  • The Conversations: Friday, November 14th, 2014

Free Radical is a community organized event, and as such, we have open planning meetings held at 5:30pm on the following Wednesdays at 307 South Division Avenue:

  • September 10th / 24th, 2014
  • October 8th / 22nd / 29th, 2014

It is highly recommended that participating artists, sites and volunteers must attend meetings to get involved !

Find a list of all meetings / events on our website.

Also, check out our Wild Apricot calendar for up-to-date information, deadlines and meetings.

Here’s link to a .pdf download for the Free Radical 2014 digital map .


The Shows

(Click the link for a Free Radical 2014 digital map .pdf)

4 Fulton St E Tower Pinkster

House of Gold, A mixed media installation of drawings and cut paper pieces.

Curator/ Artist: Taylor Greenfield


The Landscape of This City is Violent and It Makes Me Anxious, A dazzling window installation utilizing familiar language, a system of modularity (and chance), and site-specificity to  interrogate the visual, physical, and economic landscape of Grand Rapids, MI.

Curator: Krzysztof Lower

Artist: Group Therapy


2 Fulton Street W. Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA)

Looking Forward: The Artwork of Kirk Newman, A fresh look at the themes of Newman’s prolific career as an artist. Timeless qualities and diverse techniques explore the anxiety and humor of the modern work-life through bronze, print, and drawing.

Curator: AJ Paschka

Artist: Kirk Newman


40 S. Division Craft House

Cinnamon Taoist Crunch: Selected Works by Lucas Schurkamp, A glimpse into the mind of one of Grand Rapids’ favored sons.  Cinnamon Taoist Crunch is a collection of drawings, paintings, assemblages and sculptures.

Curator: Brandon Alman

Artist: Lucas Schurkamp


42 S. Division LIVE/WORK42

Sally England Open Studio, Fibers artist Sally England will be hosting an open house at her studio at 42 South Division featuring works-in-progress as well as recently exhibited works.

Curator, Artist: Sally England


44 S. Division Spiral

Connections, This exhibition displays work that ranges from drawings to ceramics, examining topics such as environmental concerns and civil rights, while demonstrating the way materials can connect and speak together.

Curator: Danielle Wyckoff

Artists: KCAD Professional Practices Class: Amanda Berry, Bryan Hutchinson, Molly Duff, Keeley Baur, Brian Howland, Anna Lindquist, Sabrina McLaughlin, Kella Marnon


44 S. Division Verne Barry Place Courtyard

Epietia, Etimologic description from the greek the concept of home. This is an

exhibition that describes the abstract significance of the true

encounter of an intimate home inside of us spiritually.

Curator: Raquel Silva / Danielle C Wyckoff

Artist: Raquel Silva


48 S. Division Heartside Art Gallery

Freaky Friday A show of horrors

Curator: Sarah Scott / Jane Van Dommelen

Artists: Jane Van Dommelen, Todd Rothley, Todd Alexander, Mike Katerberg, Crystal McGinn, Alysha Lach, Tom Salazar


Elevating Voices, films created by the Grand Rapids Community Media Center.


105 S. Division 87 Orange Photography

Mirror Reflection, We live on this earth in coexistence, but also in separation of one

another. What do we really think of each other and how does our

expectation of ourselves measure up to others?

Curator: Kate Garman

Artists: Megan Lendman, Jessica Pleyel, Sara Weimer, Cindi Ford, Ariana Ortega, Sandra Hansen


106 S. Division 106 Gallery

Plural: Photographs by Amanda Carmer, A series of portraits and photograms that negotiate the duplicitous nature of family relationships characterized by the long-term psychological and physical struggles of a single family member.

Curator: Joel Zwart

Artists: Amanda Carmer


106 S. Division #215 The L-Loft

ARCHIVAL, A select exhibition of art, photography and propaganda from 10 years working on The Avenue of the Arts.

Curator, Artist:  Derrick Hollowell


111 S. Division Harris Building

Various Artworks, Explore the Harris building’s First and Lower Level full of works from local and national artists.

Curator: Jen Dykstra

Artists: V/A


117 S. Division Propaganda Doughnuts

Tasty Treats, There is never a dull doughnut at Propaganda, Art in food form with the Usual Suspects and some delectable specials.

Curator: Tory O’Haire

Artists: The Doughnut Detectives


117 S. Division The Bandit Queen

ラーメン党, a small, downtown tavern, serving Ramen and other traditional trade-route Asian fare, that utilizes local ingredients and stays up late.

Curator: Tory O’Haire

Artists: The Ramen Raiders


120 S. Divsion Apt #125 Parliament the Boutique

Pure Michigan Holiday: From Our Hands to Yours, Handcrafted art and goods from Michigan Makers, inspired by the Great Lakes State!

Curator: Elyse Welcher

Artists: Hayley Hungerford, Emilie Tromp (Lief Design), Matthew Fowler, Thom Raddemacher, Erica Lang (Woosah), Julie Wylie (Whimsy + Wild), Alaina Clark, Maureen McDonald, Michelle Terry (Runaway Press), Rachel Maeves, Randi Ford, Ashley Lieber, Jenn Schaub



121 S. Division Entrance Gallery

Luminous, Geometric color field paintings containing

rich hues arranged in compositions of suspended motion.

Curator, Artist: Danielle Walsh


122 S. Division Free Radical Space

AIGA : 4, Typography from all aspects of art and design.

Curator: Bree Mullen / Ross Tanner

Artists: Kelly Arrand, Zac Freeland, Andy Woycik, Ellie Lubbers, Brendan Gordan, Katie Ziolkowski, Nick Ciliak, Krzysztof Lower, Tracey Howell, Chase Hasper, Jordinn West, David Shankin, Amanda Northrop, Jose Rodriguez, Ashley Van Dyke, Ali McKenzie, Breanna Mullen, Ross Tanner, Rikki Paepke, Rachel Britton, Blaire Bancroft, Robert Manquen



129 S. Division Vertigo Music

Open with extended hours!


136 S. Division Have Company

Each Spot, Speck and Thread, The work of two skilled textile artists who have created extensive work in weaving, embroidery and latch hooking. Their experience with needle, thread, loom, hook and yarn informs their colorful and detailed works on paper and panel.

Curator: Michael DeMaagd Rodriguez

Artists: Brenda Beerhorst, Hillery Sproatt


138 S. Division Sanctuary Folk Art

Fictive: An Illustration Show, Narrative is an important aspect to our culture and further explains humanity. It’s human to enjoy stories, as they intertwine daily with our lives. This show explores the original stories and artwork by local artists, as young artists continue telling ne

Curator: Emily Veldman

Artists: Madyson Brown, Markia Jenai, Edward Kindsvater, Justin MacAuley, Emily Veldman, Alysha Lach


307 S. Division Avenue for the Arts [work] Space

Pop Obscurus, A collection of works pairing the uncertainty of the unknown with the oversaturation of our contemporary pop culture, all while addressing the big question of “What if?” from a whimsical mindset.

Curator: Collective Pressure (Jenna Para / Maddie May / Ryan Koster)

Artists: Collective Pressure


315 S. Division Herkimer live/work Apartments

Never Have We, Never have we been so free. Never have we felt so powerless.

Curator: Nicholas Szymanski

Artists: Leah Schreiber, Alex Boley, Ben Piña, Jeff Kraus, Nicholas Szymanski


319 S. Division Herkimer live/work apartments

Periphery, Metal artists explore the boundaries of different materials within the parameters of wearable art.

Curator: Abbey Blodgett

Artists: Morgan Eaton, Jessica Brown, Anna Petlick, Erika Broas, Chris Symka, Nicole Growzolowski, Shuying Vogt


321 S. Division Herkimer live/work apartments

Utilitarian State, An interactive exhibition of artwork relating to utility.

Curator: Kate Lewis

Artists: Eliza Fernand, LLAVÍN, Aaron Lee Van Wyk, Joe Parsaca, Evan Fay, Abby Deneau, Alyssa Roach, Steven Rainey, Susan Hazel Rich


327 S. Division Herkimer live/work apartments

The Corner Crew, Window gallery featuring Corner Crew installations in Brooklyn, NY and Grand Rapids, MI.

Curator: Tom Duimstra

Artists: The Corner Crew

The Conversations

Free Radical The Conversations will be held on Friday, November 14th at the Artprize main hub!

This second night of the Free Radical will focus on building a dialogue with an emphasis on commentary and critique in a way that stimulates interaction between visitors, artists, curators, and the creative community at large. The evening will be an interactive event featuring panel discussions, presentations, and displays of documenter works.We will look at a variety of themes that surround the event that will take place on the 7th.

Our themes and speakers are as follows!
A Public Critique: Part 1
Arts professionals from around Grand Rapids attend Free Radical on First Fridays and craft a response to the work, exhibitions, and experiences. During this conversation professionals will critique and discuss selected works and shows in 10 minute time blocks.

Welcoming Presenters:
Rich App- Richard App Gallery
Brett Colley – Professor, Grand Valley State University

Supporting All Forms of Creation:
How do we, as an arts community, sustain all types of artistic processes? From installation, traditional, performance and beyond, how do we support a variety of makers and artists in our community? Panelists will address the resources helping to empower creative communities, as well as, opportunities for future growth.

Taylor Greenfield- Instructor, Kendall College of Art and Design

Welcoming Panelists:
Kelly Allen – Director, Wisemakers
George Eberhardt- Artist, Instructor, WMCAT
Audria Larson- Performer, Atomic Hoop Troupe & Super Happy Funtime Burlesque
Tom Clinton- Executive Director, Community Media Center

A Public Critique: Part 2

Welcoming Presenters:
Anthony Mead- Artist, Dinderbeck Studio
Ben Mitchell- Duende Projects, Independent Curator and Writer

Pushing Boundaries:
How are Grand Rapids artists pushing the limits of art and their personal practice? How does Grand Rapids connect to the national arts based dialogue? As creative professionals and artists, what opportunities can be leveraged to expand awareness, sales OR build new opportunities for making work that furthers creative expression locally?

Chris Protas- Director, Fire Barn Gallery

Welcoming Panelists:
Tori Pelz – Executive Director, Culture Works
Derrick Hollowell- Artist
Brandon Alman – Preparator, Urban Institute for Contemporary Art
Salvador Jimenez- Community Arts Advocate, Kendall College of Art and Design
Ladislav Hanka- Artist

Get Involved

What are the Guidelines for 2014?

  • All venues must be open the event from 6-10pm on Friday, November 7th
  • Venues must have, whether chosen or provided, a curator
  • Venues must be located no further away then one block from South Division between Cherry and Wealthy Street
  • Curator must choose at least 3 artists- 2 from the submissions at least one of their own liking
  • Artwork must be new (within 1 year)
  • Venues must have a documenter, whether chosen or provided, to provide critical analysis of their space

Definitions and responsibilities

Site: location for the display of artwork within the footprint of the event: The Free Radical Footprint is a 1-block radius of the South Division corridor between Fulton and Wealthy Street.

  • Notify event coordinator Jenn Schaub of your participation ( or and obtain an Avenue for the Arts site/organizational membership.
    Final Deadline: Wednesday, October 22th @ 5:00pm
  • Provide appropriate space for display of artwork, artist statement and price list.
  • Establish a volunteer or staff person to act as Site Contact at your venue/site for set up the night of the event
  • Promote: Hang show poster in window, distribute postcards, in a venue appropriate manner, inviting friends, family, peers, customers etc.
  • Attend Free Radical Planning Meetings, when possible
  • Continue to keep an up-to-date description of event submitted to Free Radical Staff.


Site Contact: A person selected by the business or building owner of a site chosen to serve as a facilitator for the install, display and take down of artwork at the venue. This person may also act as curator.

  • Responsible for deciding with assigned curator and/or artists dates for the drop-off and pick-up of artwork
  • Establish sales procedure for artwork
  • Required to participate in opening event, artist shifts established with Site contact.

Curator: A person who acts as facilitator for the install, display and take down of artwork at the venue

  • Complete submission process (deadline: September 24th)
  • Assist in locating a space for your exhibition
  • Select artists with a minimum of 2 participating artists from the submission process.
  • Work with elected artists to develop specific ideas/cohesive exhibition
  • Write curatorial statement for site/ support material/ inclusion of artist statements
  • Produce cohesive art work tags for every piece
  • With site contact establish sales procedure, provide price list
  • Act as artist liaison for drop-off/pick-up/hanging of work/ take down
  • Envision and execute show display and set up
  • Lead host at your venue/site for event
  • Attend Free Radical Planning Meetings, when possible (September 10th / 24th, October 22nd / 29th)
  • Promote show by inviting friends, family, peers, customers etc.


Documenter: A person who creates commentary, or a record of a portion or the entirety of the show.

  • Complete submission process  (deadline: October 15)
  • Work with Curator to understand the content of the show and how your activities will build/reflect/bridge the conversation between curator, artist and community
  • Promote event by inviting friends, family, peers etc.
  • Provide a digital representation of your activity, action or record for the Avenue for the Arts website.
  • Required to participate in opening event, details/shifts established with Curator.
  • Attend Free Radical Planning Meetings, when possible
  • Present reflection, response or exhibit work on November 14th at the ArtPrize HUB, 41 Sheldon Blvd SE.


Artist: someone who makes art or performance (or stuff resembling art or performance).

  • Complete submission process (deadline: October 15)
  • Submit works that are in the same vein or are the works described in the submission process
  • Work with Curator/Site Contact to establish drop off/pick up/hanging of work/ take down
  • Provide Artist Statement and price list to Curator/Site Contact
  • Establish Sales Procedure with Curator/Site Contact
  • Provide Labels for Artwork
  • Be responsible for drop off and pick up of artwork
  • Required to participate in opening event, details/shifts established with Curator/Site Contact
  • Attend Free Radical Planning Meetings
  • Promote event by inviting friends, family, peers etc.

 Volunteer: a person who fufills one or more of the following duties: distribtion of promotions material, wayfinding during the event, helping with event set up and take down.

  • Email expressing interest
  • Attend a volunteer orientation  (TBA)
  • Show up on November 7thst and/or 14thth during your shift, perform assigned duties, and have fun!


A huge thank you to all of the amazing folks that volunteered for Free Radical 2014 !

For more information & to stay updated on future volunteer opportunities for Avenue events like Free Radical 2014, please email us at (click link) !




Resources for Curators
heck out this rad video with preparator Brandon Alman about the process of hanging artwork. In it, he reviews some basic hanging philosophy and a few technical tricks. Thank you to Michael Cook for shooting / editing!


Avenue for the Arts’ website. 

Avenue for the Arts’ Facebook group.  

Avenue for the Arts’ Facebook page.

Any further questions / comments can be emailed to





Video Documentation
Epiestia Exhibition
Artists: Raquel Silva Gorbea, Avery Gott
Photography and Video Production: David Frison IV

Epiestía Exhibition from david on Vimeo.


Poetry Documentation
Plural Plural
Artist: Amanda Carmer
Poem and Video Production: Katie Booms


Written Documentation
Freaky Friday
Artists: Heartside Gallery Artists
Images and written documentation provided by: Aaminah Shakur
Click here to see documentation. Follow-Up’s / Critiques (click article titles for link):
Portrait: Artists deal with self, identity, culture at Free Radical 2014” by Anthony Mead

Exploring Free Radical 2014: Experiences with two galleries among many” by Brett Lee Townsend (for Avenue For The Arts)

Photo Documentation
Images provided by:
Brandon Lake, Dylan Gunnet, Sandi Gunnet, Doug Titus, and Tony Wright
Best of Free Radical 2014 



To document the first night of Free Radical, Annie DeYoung spoke with visitors artists and volunteers:

November 1st, 2013 / Location: UICA, 2 West Fulton

Artprize’s Kevin Buist reflected on Mapping Art in Unusual Places,


We had over 100 people participate in the discussions held at the UICA in 2013.
Here are but a few images from that lively discussion as well as past Free Radical events:


Comments are closed.