Ford unveils local art program

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Gerald R Ford International Airport is unveiling a new art program that will feature local west Michigan artists, scenery, sculptures and exhibits.

For its debut the program will feature two live muralists – Grand Rapids native Nick Nortier and Grand Rapids-based artist Kyle DeGroff. Nortier’s painting, ‘The Great Blue’ will feature a blue heron on a Michigan waterway with a stunning purple and orange sunset in the background. Nortier describes the mural as an ode to both the heron and the Great Lakes.

The Airport Art Program is in partnership with the Frey Foundation, which focuses its grant-making efforts on art in the local community. The program will feature rotating exhibitions and the initial mural space will change periodically.

“The Frey Foundation is thrilled to support local and diverse artistic expression at the airport,” said Holly Johnson, president of the Frey Foundation. “It serves as a gateway to our community, welcoming both first-time visitors and long-time residents alike. The addition of public art installations helps create a sense of place, highlighting the unique culture as well as the talent and creativity abundant in our great city.”

DeGroff’s mural will be on the walkway to Concourse A and features bold, bright colors and animals in slumber.

“With the Gateway Transformation Project we added over 59,000ft2 [5,480m2] with our new security checkpoint, restaurant space, hallways and more,” said Gerald R Ford president and CEO Tory Richardson. “The spaces where these artists are working will liven up our walls, transform the guest experience, and showcase the talented artists we have here in west Michigan.”

Future art installations will include a sculpture by Grand Rapids artist Jason Quigno, depicting traditional Native American symbolism in Michigan, set to be unveiled in summer 2020. ‘The President Ford Mural’ by Grand Rapids artist Paul Collins will be reinstalled on the east end of the airport lobby, near valet parking, this spring. Additionally a replica ‘Le Grande Vitesse’ by artist Alexander Calder and a Calder plane will be placed in the front lobby areas after Gateway Transformation Project Phase II is complete in August 2020.

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Tara has worked for UKi Media & Events since 2013, initially as a freelancer. She has been a journalist for over a decade and has worked for a range of publications, including Personnel Today, Management Today and The Grocer.

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