If you are trying to learn about art in Grand Rapids you are definitely in the right place and our first section will fully cover the best art galleries and museums near you.
After that we will get into a variety of other topics like art supply stores, events, festivals, dealers, appraisers, walking tours, local sculptures and statues, art classes, studios for rent, and the top frame shops in your area.
You can jump straight to any section that interests you most by using the table of contents on the left and we are also including a Grand Rapids art map with all of the spots we mention throughout the post pinned on it.
Those who are interested can read some of our other posts for cities around the Midwest.
Best Art Galleries & Museums In Grand Rapids
If you want to visit the best art galleries and museums in Grand Rapids you can go to:
- Grand Rapids Art Museum at 101 Monroe Center St NW
- The Leep Art Gallery at Pine Rest Postma Center 300 68th St
- Aquinas Art Gallery at 1700 Fulton St E
- Center Art Gallery at 3201 Burton SE
- Gallery 154 at 1456 Lake Dr SE
- Terryberry Gallery at 24 Ransom Ave NE
- Nomad Gallery at 74 Monroe Center St NW
- East Kentwood High School Art Gallery at 5820 Eastern Ave, Kentwood
The local Art Association which later became the Grand Rapids Art Museum was founded all the way back in 1910 and today it is more than just a top-notch museum as the exhibits, events, and educational programs include a wide range of subjects, mediums, and genres in order to appeal to and attract a diverse audience. It is a cultural resource, educational institution, and artistic venue for the whole city as well as the state of Michigan and beyond.
The Leep Art Gallery near you is open from 9am to 3pm Monday through Friday after launching in 2007 featuring local, regional, and national artists that use a variety of techniques, subjects, and themes that reflect the community and are representative of outstanding amateur and professional artists where each quarter of the year a different artist or group of artists is featured. ArtPrize 2010 grand prize winner Chris LaPorte, John August Swanson serigraphs from the Richard and Helen DeVos collection, and Michigan photographers Brad and Todd Reed are among people who have had works displayed their in the past.
The exhibition program at the Aquinas Art & Music Center Gallery is an important element of their students’ liberal arts education as well as a place for public interaction and cooperation. Throughout the year the AMC Gallery offers six free and open to the public exhibitions where local, national, and international artists and professors share their work and art-making processes in the venue which is open to the Aquinas community as well as the rest of West Michigan. You can head over starting at 10am on weekdays or 2pm on weekends.
The Center Art Gallery opened in 1974 and then relocated from the Spoelhoef University Center to the Fine Arts Center in 2010. The Gallery currently opens at 9am on weekdays and 10am on Saturday spanning 3,800 square feet and hosting a variety of temporary exhibitions including significant loan exhibitions and work by Calvin teachers, alumni, and students.
A leisurely journey through Gallery 154 which is open from 11am to 5pm Wednesday through Friday and 10am to 4pm on Saturday connects you with over 70 artists from throughout the country as it takes on the appearance of a North Pole spectacular throughout November and December. KCAD also provides an excellent education in a wide variety of professional fields like design, art, and art history.
The Terryberry Art Gallery first opened in 1986 and is a lovely venue that holds monthly shows during the St. Cecilia Music Center’s season. The gallery is located on the Center’s lower floor and features work by both well-known and freshly rising artists while often featuring two artists to blend different styles and media.
Showcasing and representing international emerging and renowned artists with an emphasis on Africa and its diaspora is what you can get from Nomad Gallery from 11am to 5pm Wednesday through Friday and 10am to 4pm on Saturday. Their works have been successfully presented to individual, corporate, and museum collections via the gallery.
The Richard App Gallery is a fine art gallery that exhibits over 20 local and national artists each year while also conducting artwork restorations, bespoke frames, and hosting events, workshops, and private parties in addition to their many outstanding artists.
Materials & Supplies Near You
New materials or supplies can be purchased at art stores in your area like:
- The Craft Outlet at 1450 Buchanan Ave SW
- Grand River Art Supply at 3520 Three Mile Rd
- Service Reproduction at 340 Summer Ave NW
- Michaels at 3940 28th St SE
- Hobby Lobby at 4250 28th St SE, Kentwood
The Craft Outlet sells a wide range of art and craft goods at deeply discounted prices and each week hundreds of new goods arrive ensuring that you will find something new every time you visit.
Service Reproduction is a family owned and run business that has been servicing schools, artists, and craftsman since 1948. They provide over 9,000 goods from over 250 suppliers for schools, institutions, businesses, professionals, and amateur artists all at discounted costs.
We doubt we need to tell you what the chain stores like the Michaels and Hobby Lobby near you have to offer.
Shows & Events
These local art shows, events, and festivals come highly recommended:
- Grand Rapids ArtPrize in September
- Festival of the Arts in September
In 2009 ArtPrize began as an experiment as a completely new event unlike anything the world has ever seen before as the city is transformed into an open playing field where anybody may find a voice in the discourse about what is art and why it matters thanks to its radical openness. The show is powered by technology and is self-organized with artists from all over the world submitting items for display at hundreds of locations throughout the city. And it’s all free and open to the public, who chooses the winners at the end.
This city and the state of Michigan were highlighted as a community that valued the arts for everyone to enjoy in La Grande Vittesse. The Calder which is a 43-foot-tall vivid red stabile prompted an arts celebration that has spread across much of downtown. Every year the Festival of the Arts attracts hundreds of thousands of people to downtown and the three-day festival marks the start of summer in West Michigan.
Art Dealers & Appraisers
If you know of any good art dealers and appraisers in your area please let us know in the comments, for now the best we can do is direct you to the local galleries and museums.
These art walking tours can be a great way to enjoy a pleasant afternoon:
- Experience Grand Rapids at 171 Monroe Ave NW #545
- Art Dart Walking Tour at 135 Monroe Center St NW
Experience is a ten-block downtown walking tour is just about a third of a mile long yet it takes you from Berlin to Vietnam. Begin your journey with the Public Museum where you may see fossilized dinosaur bones, American Indian artifacts, a piece of the Berlin Wall, and much more.
The Art Dart Walking Tour will help you explore the city center in search of notable artworks like the 42-ton Alexander Calder sculpture which represents the city’s creative spirit plus two art museums and an art and design school are also included in the tour.
As you will see from our next section you might also want to walk around Calder Plaza.
Sculptures & Statues
These statues and sculptures in your area can also be fun to check out:
- La Grand Vitesse at Calder Plaza
- Motu Viget at Calder Plaza
- Anna Sutherland Bissell Sculpture at 303 Monroe Ave NW
- Bishop Baraga Sculpture at 301 Sheldon Ave SE
- Chief Noonday Sculpture at 301 W Fulton St
- Helen Claytor Sculpture at 143 Bostwick Ave NE
- Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park at 1000 E Beltline Ave NE
La Grande Vitesse is a large eye-catching steel sculpture that is 54 feet long, 43 feet high, and 30 feet broad and is painted in the artist’s signature Calder Red. The sculpture is located on Calder Plaza in front of City Hall and was created by Alexander Calder and mentioned in our walking tours section.
Motu Viget is a giant steel shape hanging in mid-air with a massive rubber tire that was created by Mark Di Suvero and that is known as the tire swing and Calder Plaza’s NW corner is where you’ll find it.
Anna Bissell took over as CEO of Bissell after her husband Melville Bissell died in 1889 making her one of America’s first female business CEO’s.
Chief Noonday was a strong chief who also happened to be a great walker which is how the Chief Noonday Route, a lovely hiking trail that around the lake got its name.
A Grand Rapids YWCA president and the first African American president of the national YWCA, Helen Claytor became the first African American president of the local chapter after working in several roles at the national YWCA which is why Jay Hall Carpenter created her sculpture.
In April of 1995 the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park opened to the public and Meijer Gardens has Michigan’s biggest tropical conservatory, five indoor theme gardens, outdoor gardens, nature trails, a boardwalk, sculpture galleries, and a permanent sculpture collection making it one of the nation’s most significant sculpture and botanic experiences.
Grand Rapids Art Classes
It doesn’t matter if you want private lessons or group classes for kids, teens, or adults the best art schools in Grand Rapids are:
- Kendall College of Art & Design of Ferris St University at 17 Fountain St NW
- Grand Rapids Art Classes for Children at 2700 Fulton St E
- Wine & Canvas Studio at 2675 E Paris Ave SE
- Coit Arts Academy at 617 Coit Ave NE
- Art of life Gallery & Studio at 1134 Leonard St NW
Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University provides an excellent education in a variety of professional fields such as design, art, and history. The studios, classrooms, labs, workshops, and exhibition spaces at KCAD are well-equipped and their technology is fully compatible with professional systems and applications.
Dr. TrustLove has been teaching art in schools, universities, and her own Grand Rapids art classes for children for over 25 years and thinks that every kid should have a healthy artistic and creative development.
Wine and Canvas is more than simply a painting lesson as it’s pure art entertainment where awesome local artists, excellent customer service, and stunning settings combine to provide an unforgettable experience. Because of the alcohol involved we feel free to say that their classes are better for adults, and they might be a bit more casual than the others on the list.
By cultivating students’ skills, social responsibility, and self-inquiry the Coit Creative Arts Community near you aspires to academic excellence. Students at Coit will become creative and action-oriented learners who focus on increasing a global commitment to humanity via the arts as a result of this viewpoint.
Both private and public painting parties can be scheduled at the Art of Life Studio where adult and youth painting lessons in your area are available and they also have studio space available to rent.
Art classes are also available at Brush Studio who we mentioned in a different section.
Studios For Rent Near You
Try to rent studio space at:
- Little Spaces Studio at 111 Division Ave S
Little Spaces Studio provides space to work, professional development, and advocacy for a better future of work.
The Art of Life also has studio space near you available.
For professional art framing services in Grand Rapids head to:
- Art Express at 1615 Eastern Ave SE
- Frames Unlimited at 4045 Plainfield Ave NE
- Mercuryhead Gallery at 962 Fulton St E
- La Fontsee Galleries & Framing at 833 Lake Drive SE
- Frames Unlimited at 2964 28th St SE, Kentwood
Art Express strives to collaborate with local galleries as a wholesale picture frame and picture frame supply company.
Frames Unlimited specializes in custom framing, photo framing, ready-made picture framing, commercial framing, art restoration, creative goods, and more.
In October of 1999 local artist Ben Perrin launched MercuryHead Gallery in its current location as a gallery space to showcase emerging artists in your area. The store can do picture repair, personal photo printing, and comprehensive photo editing services as well as copies of artists’ works.
LaFontsee Galleries presently represents over sixty artists with the purpose of not just selling art but also facilitating its comprehension and enjoyment.
In case you might be interested we have also written posts on:
Have Fun Enjoying The Grand Rapids Art Scene
Well guys, we tried to cover the full art scene near you to the best of our abilities. We listed the best galleries, museums, events, shows, supply stores, dealers, appraisers, walking tours, sculptures, classes, studios, and framers in your area.
Those of you who stuck around this long might know a lot about the local art scene. Feel free to share your own tips, or to let us know if you noticed anything incorrect.
Have fun going to the galleries, museums, buying supplies, or doing anything that has to do with art in Grand Rapids!