GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Confluence, a festival of art, music, science and technology in Grand Rapids, will return for its second year this fall.
Confluence is scheduled for Sept. 23 and Sept. 24 at Studio Park downtown.
“We really look at all the terrific innovation that’s happening across our region, try to bring it all to one place,” managing partner Brian Cohen said at the WOOD TV8 Live Desk on Thursday. “We’ve defined four major pillars that is our main focus. That is art, music, science, and technology. What we do is look at when innovation in one of these areas intersects with another area.”
Like last year, there will be Music Showcase. The lineup will be released in the coming weeks.
In addition, this year’s event will include a Maker Expo for do-it-yourselfers and digital artists; an esports and gaming Innovation Showcase and a STEAM-based “adventure land” for kids labeled the Future Innovators Zone. Confluence is also organizing Art@, a “multisensory takeover” of Oakes Street Park.
“We’re a festival about innovation, so we’re never going to do the same thing twice,” Cohen said.
He said that the Future Innovators Zone will be an opportunity to showcase what the next generation of tech can look like for young people.
“We want to be a source of excitement for the next generation. The next generation of high-tech innovators, entrepreneurs, those who will go into the workforce in high-tech manufacturing and other things we have around the region,” Cohen said.
Confluence is also venturing into robotics by inviting collegiate and high school robotics programs to demonstrate their programs.
“They’ll bring out their hardware, we’ll have some demonstration opportunities, again as a way to highlight the potential of what’s happening in this area and the folks who are really involved in it,” Cohen said.
Western Michigan University is sponsoring the Maker Expo.
“It’s a great opportunity to showcase our state-of-the art manufacturing space and the work we’re doing to not only inspire the next generation of makers but also develop a talented workforce to serve our local manufacturing industry,” WMU-Grand Rapids Director Joanne Roehm said.
With its eye on developing talent, Consumers Energy is sponsoring the Future Innovators Zone.
“Here we’ll be able to share with students examples of the technology we use every day in our mission to provide reliable energy to Michiganders, and we hope it can inspire them to pursue more high-skilled learning opportunities,” Carolyn Bloodworth, executive director of Corporate Giving at Consumers Energy, stated.
Confluence is free to attend.