Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. is putting out the call for artists for the "Activate This Place" grant program. The program awards artists and makers up to $5000 per project.

The group is looking for those who want to install public art pieces, do pop-up type performances, turn spaces into parklets, and more. These placemaking initiatives are designed to bring life and energy to otherwise bland and sometimes neglected areas of the city.

What is placemaking? According to the city it's a way to reimagine unused spaces and facilitate social interaction and improve the quality of life for those in the community.


Towards these goals, DGRI's Activate this Space Grant Program organizes around three key areas:

  1. Public art installations, programming, and interactive initiatives through the Placemaking Grant.
  2. Art installations through the Window Activation Grant.
  3. Expanding public space and amenities for people through the Parklet Grant.

If you have a new and creative idea to 'activate' a space in downtown Grand Rapids, you can get details and apply at If you're looking for inspiration the application includes targeted places to 'activate', like the Van Andel Plaza, the Ionia Wealthy retaining wall, the corner at Ottawa & Fulton, alleyways, and numerous empty storefront windows in downtown Grand Rapids.

In the past dozens of projects in the city have been supported by grants including the Fish Ladder Park Mural, Cloud Corner at Pearl & Ionia, the Fish Splash Sculpture at Canal Park, Urban Tumbleweeds at the Blue Bridge, and the Diversity Mural on Commerce.

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