Where We’ve Been

It’s crazy to think about how many spaces in GR pop up, host fantastic shows and then poof are gone. Some of them, like Free Radical spaces are intentionally temporary and some are linked to the people connected to the place at the time (think house shows, coffee shops etc. )

For the Free Radical Conversations at the UICA Erwin and I collaborated on creating a Grand Rapids map of nontraditional spaces and asked people to map out shows/spaces they remember. Eventually i would like to make those tags into a geocoded map.


Some day.


The results were varied, The map spurred a great conversation and i learned about spaces and shows i haven’t heard of before. Kevin Buist had a few thoughts


Here are is my list of notable pop up spaces of days gone by (spots that existed for less than a year or even one night) I wonder what i am missing….

Number one favorite show:

Renee Zettle Sterling’s installation called Big Red Ball which consisted of a huge red weather balloon (almost filling the space) in a fairly small clean room with photos hung low on the wall. The photos featured images of a little girl and a cut out space that represented the ball. This was a part of the first series of Free Radical shows along Wealthy Street and is one of my all time favorite shows

Most favorite spaces: LoFi- because it was run by myself, Lisa Ward and Rebecca Vanderlest

Runners up:

  • Satellite space in 337 South Division
  • Dynamite on Lyon Street
  • Anything Civic Studio


Favorite Public Space Project:

Kevin (what’s his name? i seriously forgot) who did the awesome Blue Bridge project where he connected the blue bridge to public access tv and people could talk into an apparatus on the bridge and the plaza towers building would “talk back” because residents had left their TVS onto the static which pulsated when people spoke. Great idea- sort of crappy execution.

Runners up:

  • The Civic Studio pop up camper
  • Portable Cinema (Mobile Movies by George Wietor)

Other really remarkable projects that had more longevity include:

  • The DAAC
  • Ideal Collective in 1111 Godfrey


Still other really remarkable projects that are still kicking it:

  • Tanglefoot Building
  • Studios at 1111 Godfrey
  • Have Company
  • Con Artist Crew

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