Community-focused entry wins two ArtPrize awards

ArtPrize Eight This Space is Not Abandoned Cultura Collective
This Space is Not Abandoned, an installation entry by Cultura Collective in the Roosevelt Park neighborhood.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Inside a dimly-lit warehouse at 912 Grandville Avenue SW are signs of life, culture and perhaps most of all — community.

The work is part of the award-winning ArtPrize entry “This Space is Not Abandoned” by 912 CollABORATIVE in the Roosevelt Park neighborhood.

“(It’s) kind of like, ‘Hey, there’s already people here, there’s a thriving community here. And how do we make sure that they’re honored and noticed and heard and seen?'” Steffanie Rosalez, the project’s curator, told 24 Hour News 8 Saturday.

That motivation was the driving force behind the project. It all started well before the ArtPrize buzz began — months ago — when teens who call the neighborhood home helped create and paint the exterior mural.

Eventually, the space was selected for the competition, and 18 artists — now named the Cultura Collective — were hand-picked to fill the bare walls with their artwork.

Each one of them is a local talent. Each one, simply in need of a voice and a venue.

Among them is George Eberhardt. His spray-painted mural covers two large walls inside the building.

“I think it (the project) means a celebration of differences and a collection of people that really want to spread a message and get people involved. And that’s kind of the spirit behind all of this,” he told 24 Hour News 8.

As a whole, the work is a showcase of the diverse Roosevelt Park neighborhood along which the now-transformed warehouse sits.

It’s a neighborhood where there’s more than what the outside sees. Where vibrancy isn’t measured in new buildings, but in the very people who walk the streets… and the very artists who made the collaborative project all happen.

“Someone came through the other day and they were like, ‘Wow, I didn’t recognize any of these artist’s names or any of their work.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah that’s kind of the point — there’s a lot of amazing talent and you’ve never seen these people or heard from them,'” Rosalez said.

Now is your chance. A chance to see what’s already in Roosevelt Park. And a chance break down the cultural barriers through artwork — and ArtPrize.

“This Space is Not Abandoned” won the juried award in the Installation category, and tied to win the juried award for Outstanding Venue.

As part of the artwork, dancers, musicians and performers fill the warehouse at certain parts of the day.