Game of Life comes alive in GR’s Creston neighborhood

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. (WOOD) — A West Michigan nonprofit is putting an exciting twist on a classic game in hopes of promoting art and economic development in Grand Rapids’ Creston Neighborhood. 

The After Dark game is essentially a Grand Rapids edition of the Game of Life, but it’s more than just a board game. 

“It takes you through the neighborhoods learning about what’s going on in the neighborhoods and with the people who are doing really cool things that might be a little bit more underground,” said Hannah Berry, executive director of Lions and Rabbits Center for the Arts

Berry does a lot of work with small businesses and entrepreneurs in Creston. She said the whole idea came from the question, what is arts as economic development?

After Dark the Game was designed by Kim Nguyen, commissioned by Lions and Rabbits Center for the Arts

Two years ago, a local artist named Kim Nguyen was commissioned to illustrate a board game replicating the Game of Life and recently, Lions and Rabbits brought the game to life out on the street.

There are ‘learning libraries’ outside of Lions and Rabbits with small game boards and dice, free for anyone to use. 534 colored squares are painted along the sidewalk in a one-mile loop through the Creston neighborhood. For each number, there is a task

“They’re real things to do in Creston. Some of them cost money, some of them don’t,” Berry said. “It’s just really trying to get people to understand what we’re doing in Creston and all of the new businesses.”

The tasks include things like checking out happy hour at Graydon’s Crossing, paying it forward at Sparrows Coffee, watching a sunset on Sweet Street or picking up trash. 

There are more than 500 colored squares painted along a one-mile loop in GR’s Creston neighborhood.

Anyone who plays the game in person can create a highlight reel on Instagram and tag @afterdarkgr for each task completed. Players will get points towards a raffle at the end of the new year which includes prizes like an Airbnb stay or even a free wedding. 

“Hopefully, this and the public art gets people out walking, quality of life, and just showcasing what we’re doing here,” said Berry. 

You can visit this website to purchase a physical board game. All proceeds go directly back to After Dark program to fund more public art. You can find the rules for playing the in-person game online. 

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