|Ah, the Harris building | Photo courtesy of theharrisbuilding.com|
Another building that is getting a lot of attention is the old Grand Rapids Public Museum. After opening in 1940, the museum moved to its new location in 1994. The building went mostly unused--to the public, anyways--for 16 years. It was then that a nonprofit arts group known as SiTE:LAB began collaborating with the museum to make use of it as a space for ArtPrize. Many citizens enjoyed what SiTE:LAB did and began wondering what the space could be used for the rest of the year, thinking that there had to be something that could occupy the 30,000-square-foot spot for more than just three weeks out of the year. Through these notions, a competition called 54 Jeff was conceived and dozens of entries were submitted for the building's revival. A board of expert jurors, focused mostly on art and architecture, are expected to reveal the competition's winning idea later this month and I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't excited.
Anyone traveling on the S-Curve on any given day will see cranes, scaffolding, and insulation going up on buildings like wrapping paper. Clearly there are big plans for Grand Rapids' old formerly industrial parts. Cleaning and refurbishing them is something all of us can be happy about.