UICA settles into new space ahead of soft reopening

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts has a new home.

The 44-year-old UICA will reopen inside the Kendall College of Art and Design’s Woodbridge N. Ferris building at 17 Pearl St. NW off Division Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids. It has scheduled a soft opening for Thursday. The grand opening is set for Sept. 9.

“I miss people. I also miss art,” UICA executive director Miranda Krajniak said.

After a year and a half of planning and coordinating, Krajniak said she is looking forward to seeing the work of artists, in their new home, displayed once again. 

“We only show art that reflects what’s happening right now and what’s happening in the future, so all of the artwork in this space are reacting to the past year and a half,” Krajniak said.

She added the UICA was looking to downsize, so the move worked out.

A work of art installed at the UICA inside its new home at Kendall College of Art and Design’s Woodbridge N. Ferris Building. (July 12, 2021)

New opportunities for future art have also come along. Dulcee Boehm is a member of the UICA’s Curatorial Advisory Committee, which invites artists to feature the contemporary art they are known for. The committee is also made up entirely of artists.

Like the UICA, the committee has been around in some forms for a while. But with the move, Boehm said, came a new beginning for the group.

“In terms of the new location itself, there’s a precedent for showing work there. Folks are getting to know that building anew throughout the UICA being there,” she said.

Krajniak said artists have faced a lot over the past year and a half. Though the art featured in the UICA’s soft reopening is highlighting COVID-19, she doesn’t want that to be the only thing on viewers’ mind. Being able to gather once again to appreciate art is the goal.

The former UICA building at the intersection of Fulton Street and Division Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids, only a few blocks from the Ferris building, remains up for sale for some $8.7 million.

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