Grand Rapids gathers ArtPrize finalists in Westside theaters


Among the most notable pieces is a mural depicting elephants along Seward Avenue NW called “Charging Forward”.

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan – On a clear, sunny Thursday afternoon, Drew Craven walks along the railroad tracks that separate Seward Avenue from Brad Goff’s mural, titled “Charging Forward.” He looks up to admire the 23 ‘by 140’ masterpiece.

“Are you Brad? Craven asked.

He was sad to learn that Goff had just left, about five minutes earlier.

“I wanted to thank him,” said Craven, who lives in the neighborhood where the mural was completed just before ArtPrize started.

“It’s just a privilege to live right next to something so beautiful now, and to be happy to come home each day to see it. You’ve really brought some light to the community and I want to thank you, Brad. “

For Craven, the fresco is symbolic of the revival of the Westside. But it’s actually a much bigger picture than that. Goff designed the mural as a symbol of hope and strength to be overcome for everyone.

“With everything we’ve been through in the last year and a half with COVID, and everything in between, the mural really only represents the human ability to move forward and overcome,” Goff said.

The mural is the first that Goff has ever done. It took him four and a half weeks to paint. He says that at that time he spent about 300 hours working on it. Goff, a Grand Rapidian himself, is happy that his work has not gone unnoticed by the Westside community.

It’s really overwhelming, the support the Westside has had. And really, it’s already worth it. I’m just super happy to bring this to the Westside. “

But on the last day, Goff got even more good news. ArtPrize announced on Wednesday the list of the 25 pieces that have generated the most engagement from visitors. These works of art are in the running for a grand prize of $ 50,000. Goff’s mother broke the news to him that “Charging Forward” was on that list.

“When I first said I wanted to do the Art Prize, I wanted to participate in it to shoot for the stars, or to win it. So, I think that kind of solidified the fact that I reached my goal, just to be noticed for the mural and what I did. It was a really good feeling, ”said Goff.

You can find “Charging Forward” at Oliver Healthcare Packaging on the corner of 6th and Seward.

There are a few other finalists on the Westside in the top 25. You can find the full list on the ArtPrize website.

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