Five Grand Rapids museums will open free this Sunday

Five Grand Rapids museums will be free and open to the public this Sunday, April 26, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. as part of the Museums Free for All event.

The Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM), the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts (UICA), the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum and the Grand Rapids Public Museum are all participating in the event sponsored by Amway.

This day is an opportunity for local residents to learn from and enjoy the diverse museums the city has to offer.

Over 7,000 people have RSVP’d to the event on Facebook, promising a vibrant community atmosphere during the event. A free shuttle will be provided to transport museum visitors from one location to another, and during the day, activities will be held and prizes awarded on the GRAM’s Wege Plaza and the entrances to all of the museums.

At the UICA, free showings of the movie “The Goonies” will be featured throughout the day as part of the festival.

Bethany Cooper, a sophomore who is planning on attending the event said, “I am drawn to the event because I enjoy being involved in Grand Rapids and want to get to know the city better. I am especially excited to visit the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum to see how I get to know the city more from a different perspective.”

Edward Burtynsky’s exhibition, “Water,” is currently showing at the GRAM. According to the GRAM website, “Over a five-year period between 2009 and 2013, acclaimed fine art photographer Edward Burtynsky traveled the globe, shooting from the skies above North America, China, India, Iceland and Spain, creating a body of work that addresses the various roles water plays in the world today.”

At the Grand Rapids Public Museum, visitors can explore the diversity of exhibits and artifacts chronicling the history of Grand Rapids and the world.

Newcomers: the People of this Place” is a current exhibition at the public museum that traces the immigrant history of Grand Rapids. Over 45 ethnic groups comprise the cultural fabric of the city. The exhibit explores the impact that each group has made on the city, from Armenian and Dutch immigrants to refugees arriving today from places like Sudan, Burma and the Central African Republic.

The museum is currently showing Egyptian artifacts in its “Be Curious” exhibit, and is also displaying prints from the locally born, internationally renowned printmaker Reynold Weidenaar in the exhibition “Through the Eyes of Weidenaar.”

Using magnifying glasses to examine the prints up close, visitors will be able to gain an understanding of the role of the artist in shaping and capturing the pulse of a local community through humor and politics.

The UICA is currently featuring “Art of the Lived Experiment,” a collection of art from this month’s DisArt Festival, which displayed art from disabled artists. The museum is also currently running “Power Objects: The Future has a Primitive Heart,” an exhibition examining the intersection of object and existence from ancient times to the future.

According to the UICA website, “Art objects are in fact power objects – objects designed to express and connect to the sublime, the transcendental, the most powerful forces and instincts that animate human existence.”

India Daniels, a sophomore, plans on attending the event as well: “I love that they’re making the museums free for an afternoon because they’re a really great medium for engaging with culture and history in a very physical way.”