‘What lifts you?’ New mural coming to West Side GR

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — “What Lifts you?” It’s a question posed by an artist gaining huge popularity around the world for her interactive art.

Artist Kelsey Montague apologized for being jet lagged Tuesday afternoon during a Zoom call with News 8, explaining she was home in Denver for a day in between trips to Alaska and Tennessee.

She’s on the move because cities want her work — and her work moves people to cities.

“I still pinch myself; I can’t believe it,” said Montague.

The group “Westside Beautify” is partnering with Carla Flanders with CMF Marketing to bring a Kelsey Montague mural to Grand Rapids. The West Side piece will go on the side of the Blue Dog Tavern on Stocking Avenue.

“We thought it would also be a really good destination for people to come to Grand Rapids and say ‘hey, we want to be part of this art here,'” said Flanders.

“I hide a lot of images within that represent the community. I work with colors or working with different people on the overall concept. So my work really is for a community,” said Montague when asked what inspires her work.

Her work has become popular on social media. The observer is welcomed to become part of the art. Her hashtag #whatliftsyou asks the observer to share as well.

“I want to see if people stand with this. I want to be part of it even though I create it and I walk away, I want to see what they’re saying, I want to see what’s inspiring them in their lives,” said Montague.

The West Side piece won’t be the first mural of Montague’s in Michigan. Her work is also in Muskegon, Ann Arbor and Detroit.

Flanders says some fans of Montague’s work will travel to find them, sharing their journey on social media.

“The way I like to describe it is it’s a very fun and beautiful scavenger hunt,” said Flanders.

Montague is in the creative process right now, planning what the West Sides’s mural will look like.

“I’m so tunnel focused because you want to do something that the community is going to be proud of and is going to recognize different elements of it, even the colors of it. You want it to be like, this is a Grand Rapids piece,” said Montague.

Flanders, who has been part of the creative talks for the mural said, “There will definitely be distinct features and iconic treasures of the Grand Rapids market and the Grand Rapids area that people will recognize within the painting once it’s been finalized.”

About $25,000 still needs to be raised to bring this art to Grand Rapids’ West Side. The work is expected to start in September.

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