After much debate, Rick and I ran up to Grand Rapids to catch Artprize 7’s last 48 hours.

Literally on our feet for 8 hours looking at art, we ended the day at SiTE:LAB’s installation “The Rumsey Street Project”. Perhaps it was exhaustion. Perhaps it was the magic of the lighting at dusk. But we suddenly slowed down to inhale every inch of this project. Mostly in silence we finally sat on the church pew benches they had assembled on a concrete square to process our impressions and, appropriately, sit in reverence at our surroundings.

This blog post will act as a memory for me as much as a way to share an experience I’d like everyone to have.

First, what is SiTE:LAB:

“SiTE:LAB creates temporary site-specific art projects aimed at facilitating dynamic collaborations between the art, design, education, business and cultural communities of Grand Rapids.”

Next, what is The Rumsey Street Project:

For 2015 and 2016, SiTE:LAB has been presented with a unique opportunity for its most ambitious project to date.  Habitat for Humanity of Kent County has offered SiTE:LAB the use of nearly three acres of land in Grand Rapids’ Roosevelt Park neighborhood. The plan is to turn the land and existing structures into a temporary art center and residency until Habitat begins its redevelopment of the properties starting in 2017

SiTE:LAB’s plans for the Rumsey Street Project focus on large-scale site-specific work done by both local and international artists, responding to the vacant land and structures.  An international design competition will also be held to select a plan for a temporary neighborhood gathering place. The locations will also be used for ongoing projects and will be the base for Sitelab’s  Artprize 2015 and 2016 exhibitions.

These are my selections of installations. There were others. Too much for one blog post.

Nick Kline -Stripes for St. Joseph


“What is a ‘white church?’” Rather than provide answers, I hoped to create a space that promotes questioning, blurring the differences between exterior and interior virtually using only the structure itself as material in order to activate the site.

Stripes are a recurring theme in my photography and during my research into St. Joseph. 

The work attempts not only to examine the literal structure of the church, but also by association, to consider the structure of whiteness and racism, while creating a living shrine with new icons that suggest something familiar and welcoming to those who previously attended this church.

Diana Shpungin – Drawing of a House (Triptych)


Diana Shpungin’s Drawing Of A House (Triptych) is a large scale, multi-faceted participatory work consisting of drawing, sculpture and hand drawn video animation, functioning as one over all monumental installation.

Selected windows of the home double as screens, exploring narratives related to the domestic themes embedded in the historical memory of the space.

Kate Gilmore – Higher Ground


Gilmore’s work explores the dynamics of power and the construct of femininity.

The setting is a building that was once a private home, and was later used as a convent. Working in shifts, as many as nine women in long white dresses and red shoes, will swing on swings mounted from the ceiling in front of open windows.

Richard Barnes, Amanda Krugliak, Jason De León – State of Exception


State of Exception presents traces of the human experience– objects left behind in the desert by undocumented migrants on their journey into the U.S., all collected as part of the research of U-M anthropologist Jason De León’s Undocumented Migration project.

This exhibition created by artist/photographer Richard Barnes and artist/curator Amanda Krugliak in collaboration with anthropologist De León includes an installation of hundreds of backpacks left behind by migrants crossing the Arizona desert, as well as video images created by Richard Barnes on location along the Mexico-United States border.