Grand Rapids’ Festival of the Arts returns

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids’ Festival of the Arts is being celebrated in-person this year after COVID-19 forced its cancellation last year.

Artists like Adora Trostle were scattered throughout the downtown area Friday afternoon, creating urban landscape paintings as this year’s festivities got underway. 

“Art is like a spiritual practice,” Trostle said. 

She first expressed her artistic ways with her voice. 

“I sang, and then I was in a car wreck and it tore apart everything I’d known as art,” said Trostle. 

She has found a new way to express herself through painting. Trostle is thrilled to be a part of this year’s festival. 

“I think it’s very exciting, I hope the viewers get a different appreciation for art, art made live,” Trostle said. 

This year’s festival is unlike previous editions. No events will be held at Calder Plaza, nor will there be food vendors along Ottawa Avenue. 

However, organizers are glad they at least are having an in-person festival. They thought the COVID-19 pandemic could have hindered an in-person event for a second straight year. 

“We knew we needed something completely different and unique to celebrate arts,” said David Abbott, the executive director of Festival of the Arts. “This year is Plein Air, by Festival of the Arts, we have artists all over downtown core doing urban landscape paintings, as well musicians performing tomorrow, June 5, all over Monroe Center and Ottawa Avenue.”

With COVID-19 restrictions easing up recently, Abbott hopes the public will come out and enjoy the festivities. 

“Celebrate that Grand Rapids is opening up again,” Abbott said. “Restaurants and bars — eat outdoors, drink outdoors, listen to music and watch art happen.”

Art fans like Charlotte Werner Ambrose are glad the festival is returning to an in-person format. Ambrose has attended most of the previous editions. 

“So probably, I’ve volunteered for 45 of them,” said Ambrose. 

For more information on the festival, you can head to

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