Congreso Anual de la AILCFH

About Grand Rapids

The area

The city of Grand Rapids is home to a diverse population of approximately 200,000 – our public school students represent more than 53 countries and speak more than 40 languages. In the last 15 years, the city center has seen a true renaissance with the renovation of its graceful 19th-century buildings, the creation of condominiums, and the establishment of many new shops, bars and restaurants. It is a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly downtown on the banks of the Grand River. Like Grand Valley, the city is also committed to environmental responsibility. On its opening, our new art museum received extensive national coverage by the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, Detroit Free Press, Cleveland Plain Dealer, and Chicago Tribune, all of which recognized the distinction of the museum’s green design and the quality of its architectural design. According to the Green Building Association this is the first LEED Gold certified art museum in the world. During the first ten days of the month of October, the city is host to what has been called the largest public art competition in the world: Artprize. Last year, 1,713 artists from 44 states and 21 countries participated, attracting more than 250,000 visitors to Grand Rapids. Although the conference is in November, some of the works of art may still remain in the area, so conference attendees may have the opportunity to view some of the pieces. Additionally, the city has the highest number per capita of buildings that comply with the standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council and plans to build 50 more. We were the first U.S. city to be recognized by the United Nations University as a Regional Center of Expertise in the education of sustainable development. And, in 2009 the city was inducted into the EPA's Green Power Leadership Club for having reduced our reliance on fossil fuels by 20%. In line with this trend, many of the restaurants use fresh, locally sourced ingredients from the many small farms that surround the city.

Other area attractions are: the Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, which houses the largest tropical conservatory in Michigan, and usually has a special exhibit in the fall; the West Michigan lake coast, about 17 miles away, which Condé Nast named one of the twenty-five most beautiful shorelines in the world; the Grand Rapids symphony, ballet and opera; and the many theater productions.

Page last modified January 28, 2012