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Art and Design students collaborate for Art.Downtown exhibit

Posted on April 12, 2012

A group of Grand Valley art and design students will be showcasing their talents at the annual Art.Downtown event organized by Avenue for the Arts. The one-day event, Friday, April 13, occurs from 6-11 p.m. in various locations throughout downtown Grand Rapids.

The Grand Valley showcase will be located at 144 East Fulton between La Grave and Jefferson. This exhibition will feature more than 50 students, including representation from graphic design, visual studies, drawing, and papermaking emphasis areas.

Amber Stout, a senior graphic design major and displaying artist, has taken on the role of organizer for this group effort. In addition to her graphic design work, Stout has taken a number of community-oriented visual studies courses that have sparked her interest in broader areas, such as arts administration and curatorial work. 

“I’ve really enjoyed participating in more than one emphasis area,” said Stout, “and taking a combination of classes really shaped my interests and the kinds of work I produce today. These overlaps are the main focus of our exhibition—to collaborate and bring together the different emphasis areas, complementing each other and working together.”

Grand Valley has been involved with Art.Downtown in previous years, but this is the first time that students have participated on such a large scale. Paul Wittenbraker, assistant professor of art and design and head of the visual studies emphasis, believes that a show of this size is a good opportunity for Grand Valley’s art students to gain public exposure. “Some really great things go on in the Grand Valley Art and Design Department,” said Wittenbraker. “This show combines several dynamic projects, programs, and student work in one location. It will be a unique opportunity to get a bit of that range.”

Two senior visual studies majors, Jessica Pleyel and Christie Westmaas, are displaying their work in a joint show “In Pursuit.” Pleyel said that the support of her other Grand Valley peers has been a valuable asset when planning her involvement with this exhibition. “This final project has been exciting,” said Pleyel, “and working with such a large group has made it easier to become part of the Art.Downtown trek. It’s great to be part of an exhibit space where other exceptional talent from Grand Valley is being displayed.”

For more information and a map, visit A trolley system will be running throughout the evening to provide visitors with transportation between venues.


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