GRAND RAPIDS – The Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, an enterprise of Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, has received two $50,000 grants, one from the National Endowment for the Arts and another from the Wege Foundation, to support the DisArt Festival and its Art of the Lived Experiment exhibition in 2015.
The NEA Art Works grant, the first ever awarded to UICA, will support the U.S. premiere of an exhibition featuring the work of artists with disabilities. Art of the Lived Experiment will be jointly exhibited at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, Kendall College of Art and Design, and the Grand Rapids Art Museum from April 10 through July 31, 2015. The exhibition will feature work in a variety of mediums by more than 30 international artists. Additionally, the project will include the commissioning of new works of art by U.S. artists.
The NEA Art Works grants support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts. The NEA received 1,474 eligible applications under the Art Works category, requesting more than $75 million in funding. Of those applications, 919 are recommended for grants for a total of $26.6 million.
The Wege Foundation grant will support the DisArt Festival, a multi-pronged celebration of disability arts that will take place in downtown Grand Rapids from April 10-25. In addition to the Art of the Lived Experiment exhibition, DisArt Festival will showcase disability art events including a film festival, a fashion show, and dance performances. There will also be additional exhibitions in photography and painting showcasing local and national artists in galleries throughout Grand Rapids. The Festival will also offer family-oriented, experiential learning opportunities throughout downtown, including art making stations, school tours, and other opportunities for kids to contemplate disability and creativity.
“The support from the NEA Art Works program and the Wege Foundation is a testament to the high quality and transformative nature of the work that will be presented during the DisArt Festival in 2015,” said Miranda Krajniak, UICA’s Executive Director. “UICA is honored to receive this support from two organizations whose standards for artistic excellence and rigor are known to be at the highest level.”