New arts organization partners with ArtPrize

“It Takes a Village,” by Nirmal Raja, was one of Cultivate’s first exhibits. Courtesy Cultivate

Cultivate started its first year strong by entering contract with ArtPrize to provide educational programming. 

The arts and education organization, launched in February 2022, established a contract this week with ArtPrize to provide the festival’s family and educational programming for the coming year. Cultivate also partnered with East Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation to run its art programming. 

The organization will provide K-12 education and curriculum for ArtPrize, as well as several community events. 

Cultivate’s programming will include three different activity books for grades one through five, grades six through eight and grades nine through 12. The books also will have a PDF activity/curriculum breakdown for teachers in alignment with Grand Rapids Public Schools’ (GRPS) literacy standards and protocol and will serve as a continued art lesson to be taught throughout the school year, not just during ArtPrize. 

The activity books provided by Cultivate will focus on spaces and places, ensuring children without homes feel included and represented in the learning process. All work will be done in English and Spanish and will provide accessible options for students with disabilities. 

Cultivate will commission local artists to make pages for students to color and engage with. 

The organization also plans to host several community events during ArtPrize, catered to different ages and experience levels of participants. Planned activities include discussion panels with featured ArtPrize winners, collaboration with local college art departments to offer workshops for graduating students, walking tour guides, networking opportunities for ArtPrize artists to meet and connect and three different adult art classes. 

Cultivate held its first exhibit during this year’s World of Winter in downtown Grand Rapids, which included a site-specific art installation, “It Takes a Village,” by Nirmal Raja at a storefront at 351 S. Division Ave. 

The organization hosts adult and children’s art classes online and in person at the Division Avenue Arts Collective. Other programs include professional development workshops and courses for artists, monthly open studio and critique opportunities, and the Bridgework Program. 

The Bridgework Program is a collaborative, one-year program focused on transitioning recent art school graduates into their professional careers. 

Cultivate plans to operate out of a brick-and-mortar location by the end of 2022, where curators plan to host six art exhibitions yearly, focused on underrepresented or emerging artists.

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