Arts Calendar

Grand Valley State University

Civic Studio: Dialogue with Eric May About Food and Art

Friday, September 28, 2012
6:30 PM

The American Bread Company, 712 Bridge Street NW, Grand Rapids

Art, Humanities

Eric May grew up in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, within striking distance of both pretty decent taco joints and wooded ravines alike. His undergraduate studies at the School of the Art Institute led him to move to the big city and then to a forested, idyllic hamlet called Ox-Bow in West Michigan during the summer. It was at the latter where he learned lessons about love, work, and community. He has stuck around ever since, working in the kitchen first as a dishwasher, then a cook, and eventually wearing the chef's hat.

It was always a challenge for him to find a similar spirit of fellowship in the city and he sought a certain conviviality in Chicago's burgeoning alternative art space scene. Equipped with the stove he learned to cook on, a gaggle of talented buddies, and a pretty primo location, in 2006 Eric opened Roots & Culture Contemporary Art Center. After burning out in the studio and returning to the kitchen time and time again to express himself, he realized that he better start figuring out how to call his cooking "art" and found this language in an MFA program at Northwestern University.

May now runs a theoretical food truck called E-Dogz from which he develops collaborative and evolving street food recipes that he calls Mongrel Cuisine. Another recent project is the Piranha Club, a monthly dining situation for which he collaborates with chefs from both the art and food worlds to explore provocative cuisines. He has exhibited work with The Charlotte Street Foundation in Kansas City, MO, The Block Museum, Evanston, IL, Iceberg Projects, Chicago, IL, The Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL, and The DePaul Art Museum, Chicago, IL. To discover more of Eric's projects, visit his blog at

Join Grand Valley's Civic Studio for a dialogue with Eric May "About Food and Art," presented by Civic Studio and the Office for Public Culture. Seating will be limited.

The Civic Studio project at the American Bread Company began on August 28th and continues through December 2012. For more on Civic Studio, visit Civic Studio is a public art project and class in the Department of Art and Design at GVSU.

The Office for Public Culture is a project under development this year at the American Bread Company with support from the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies at GVSU. For more about this project visit