Grand Rapids African American Arts and Music Festival Returns with Culture Market and Auction

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GRAND RAPIDS — The community is encouraged to attend the Grand Rapids African American Arts and Music Festival downtown Saturday and enjoy a variety of food, artisans and entertainment.

The event begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 17 at Celebration Cinema Studio Park, 123 Ionia Ave. SW. Studio Park has been the site for three years. For more than four decades, it was held downtown on Calder Plaza or in Martin Luther King Jr. Park on the southeast side of town.

“We had no idea where things were going with the COVID-19 pandemic, so we made the decision to rebook Studio Park,” said Lisa Knight, Chair of the Grand Rapids African American Arts Board of Trustees. and Music Festival.

This year, the festival will feature new activities and attractions, including a Black, Indigenous and Colored (BIPOC) pop-up shop.

The pop-up shop, open from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., will feature local BIPOC-owned vendors in Alligator Alley next to the Van Andel Arena and on Oakes Street.

Organizers say the event creates an opportunity for various vendors to sell their wares to thousands of visitors traveling to Grand Rapids for ArtPrize.

“We are thrilled to offer diverse local business owners the opportunity to get exposure to visitors coming from downtown for two high-traffic festivals,” said Omar Cuevas, Community Inclusion Group Co-Chair and Vice -President of the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce Investor. and Business Relations.

“We are also delighted to provide a variety of offers for festival goers to help with inclusivity during one of the busiest weekends of the year.”

A ribbon cutting for the BIPOC Pop-Up Shop will take place Saturday at 3 p.m. at the entrance to Alligator Alley.

Besides the market, festival goers will also have the chance to see live painters painting some of the live music acts.

The paintings will be auctioned off during the event, with all proceeds going to the festival organization and the artists themselves.

“The event is an opportunity for people to come and chat with each other and enjoy the day,” Knight said. “Everyone is a big attraction. We want to maintain this commitment to our community.

Other activities during the event include a children’s area, a virtual reality performance, dance performances and an opportunity to register to vote.

More information about the festival can be found on facebook.com/graaamf.

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