Michigan International Auto Show and Charity Spectacular benefiting Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital



This weekend is the Michigan International Auto Show and it has it all — from practical to grandiose and even downright exotic; if you love cars — or just pretty/shiny things — you will be in heaven at the #grautoshow16!

Car manufacturers from around the world bring their finest traveling displays with new vehicles – including sedans, vans, SUV’s, trucks, hybrids and sports cars to Grand Rapids. Not only is the Auto Show a great place to shop and compare options for every day vehicles, it is also the first opportunity for West Michigan residents to see many of the most recently released or “soon to be released” models!

On Wednesday, we had the unique opportunity of getting a sneak preview of this weekend’s show at the Michigan International Auto Show Charity Spectacular benefiting Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. The event supported more than 20 different programs at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. During the event, guests explored hundreds of new vehicles on display while enjoying a delicious strolling dinner and a live Wolverine Worldwide Fashion Show.

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The excitement started as soon as we walked into DeVos Place. James Bond theme music was playing in the background and as the archway (the #grautoshow16 version of the red carpet) opened up, we encountered our first car – the Aston Martin DB9 GT.  The car displayed is one of only 150 made, and is the official car used in the lasted Bond flick, Spectre. There was even a photographer on the ready to snap our pic as we struck a pose! Continue reading Michigan International Auto Show and Charity Spectacular benefiting Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital

Grand Rapids Civic Theatre presents Barefoot in the Park


If you’re looking for a night of laughs and a flash back to a more “groovy” time, you’re in luck! Grand Rapids Civic Theatre’s Barefoot in the Park is set in New York City in the 1960s. This Neil Simon play follows newlyweds Paul (David Hatter) and Corie (Lexee Longwell) in their first weeks of marriage . . . with all the challenges that come with living together, moving into a new apartment, and the “work/life” balance!

If you’re married, or living with your significant other, think back to that first week or two together – you had to agree what went where, adjust to each other’s schedules, and learn how to make do with what might not be ideal conditions! Paul and Corie play out on stage how a young couple meets these unexpected issues head on . . . not always so gracefully, much to the audience’s entertainment!




Corie is a free spirited young woman who never met a stranger – and she married straight laced “stuffed shirt” Paul, a new attorney trying to make a name for himself. The two couldn’t be more different, which only adds to the regular newlywed excitement. The play opens with Corie excitedly entering their new apartment and letting in the phone company representative to install a phone (yup – a cord to the wall rotary dial phone!!), and the laughs start immediately! Their New York apartment is on the top floor – six flights of stairs, if you count the stop – leaving Paul, Corie, and their guests winded by the time they reach the top! Corie sees the whole apartment and everything that goes with it (including the “coziness”) with rose colored glasses, while Paul is not so sure about the bedroom (they have to turn in unison the bed and room are so small) or the “fresh air” that their top floor skylight provides. Continue reading Grand Rapids Civic Theatre presents Barefoot in the Park

Grand Rapids Civic Theatre brings The Christmas Story to the GRap, Leg Lamps and all.


Recalling the Christmas Story
Before there was the internet there was television.  Before television there was radio.  Before Radio there were books.  And throughout all of that there has been the Christmas Story.  Based on the childhood of the story comes to life in a new and imaginative way with Grand Rapids Civic Theater’s A Christmas Story: The Musical!


Props master at work  . . . how many Leg Lamps are enough?
Michael Wilson deserves much praise (props) for his role as Props Master.  A Christmas Story is chock full of iconography and everyone knows the story backwards and forwards, “Everyone recalls when they first saw the Christmas Story,” Wilson shared with us recently. Even though the story takes place around the holidays, Wilson and his volunteer crew have been working diligently on set pieces since June of this year!  The main time consumer – Perhaps one of the most iconic props in the history of cinema: the Leg Lamp.

For A Christmas Story: The Musical!, one leg lamp was not enough.  Considering they needed to plan for lamps getting broken by accident, having the broken one as part of the story, and the fact that there is a CHORUS LINE of leg lamps, Mr. Wilson and his team had their work cut out for them!  How many leg lamps is enough?  They are hoping that the 21 they made will cover it!


Continue reading Grand Rapids Civic Theatre brings The Christmas Story to the GRap, Leg Lamps and all.

American Institute of Architects – Grand Rapids Chapter recognizes architecture firms and projects at their 2015 Honor Awards program


Last month, The American Institute of Architects – Grand Rapids Chapter recognized people, architecture firms and projects at their 2015 Honor Awards program. The event was held at the They were held at beautiful Cheney Place in downtown Grand Rapids, MI.



Continue reading American Institute of Architects – Grand Rapids Chapter recognizes architecture firms and projects at their 2015 Honor Awards program

ArtPrize7 – what a wild ride it has been!


Have you ever been in a room where everyone else is just as excited or more to be right where you are? That’s what the ArtPrize awards party felt like!

Before the awards started the crowd was treated to the energy driven sound of Vox Vidorra (according to their website, the band’s name is a multilingual neologism and alliteration meaning ‘the voice of the life you’re meant to live’). Vox Vidorra played a funky blend of soul music that made us jump out of our seats and bust a move (the wine in my hand didn’t hurt either). The Civic Theatre was such a gorgeous setting for the award ceremony, the atmosphere was electric as the crowd buzzed while waiting for the ceremony to begin.

Rick DeVos made a grand entrance and stunned the crowd with a mind blowing fact — kids that were 6th graders for the first Artprize were now seniors in high school.  Rick let audience think about that for a minute as he  reflected on how each and every participant, artist, volunteer, and community member played a part in impacting those kids’ outlook on the community and art in general.  He expressed how he has enjoyed how ArtPrize makes conversations happen – the buzz that happens around the “must see” pieces, what people like and don’t like.  He mentioned that finding a way to include all members of the community in artistic discourse is what Artprize is all about, and that they truly succeeded this year.

Continue reading ArtPrize7 – what a wild ride it has been!

Go Forth and ArtPrize!


Despite chilly temps and overcast sky, hundreds of visitors filled Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids Sunday as ArtPrize Founder, Rick DeVos and Executive Director, Christian Gaines revealed the public’s top picks.

Top20-1Consumers Energy kicked the event off with the announcement of the winner of the  Consumers Energy SmartArt student ArtPrize Competion. The competition, in its third year, is a collaboration between Consumers Energy and Grand Rapids Public Schools. SmartArt stands for “Students Making Art with a Renewable Theme.” Students were asked to use renewable energy and energy efficiency as themes in their entries. Zoe Bultman received Best in Show from three judges. She received an Apple laptop computer and a $1,000 college scholarship from Consumers Energy.Top20-4Top20-6The first round of ArtPrize public voting came to an end at 11:59 PM, October 3rd. 30,994 visitors had cast 377,302 votes for art, elevating five artist entries from each category — 2-D, 3-D, Installation and Time-Based. These 20 ArtPrize Seven entries will now move on to the second round of voting, with the chance of winning over $200,000 in cash awards.

Gains and Rick DeVos took the stage to introduce the twenty artist entries selected from among 1,550 eligible works.Top20-7Many of the artists and their supporters were present, and as the advancing artists were announced, spots of the crowd would burst into cheers and excited shouts of congratulations! The excitement was palpable, so much so that it was hard not to cheer even if you didn’t personally know any of the artists. Continue reading Go Forth and ArtPrize!

Art Fans … What’s an ArtFan?


ArtPrize welcomed its ArtFans to a special private reception on Monday night, held at Start Garden. This event was sponsored by Warner Norcross & Judd with delicious cuisine provided by The Catering Co. ArtFans represent the spirit of ArtPrize, where artists are celebrated, spectators are challenged, and curiosity is rewarded.





The ArtFan program was designed with the most passionate ArtPrize fans in mind, and over the past seven years it has grown into a group of forward-thinking philanthropists, art enthusiasts, and community leaders who value art and take action to ensure it continues to have a presence in the community.

ArtFans become personal stakeholders and ambassador for ArtPrize. They enjoy exclusive benefits with behind-the-scenes access and invitations to special events and programming—all designed to bring people closer to the creative participants and producers of ArtPrize.  So much good going on with this group.

To learn more about becoming an ArtFan: https://www.artprize.org/artfan#join

— SF

Continue reading Art Fans … What’s an ArtFan?

Meet the new guy, Mike.




So how do you test the true talent of an aspiring photographer? You send him out to shoot things and they come back with a bunch of photos. When you open the dropbox, you’re elated to see that you love it.

I met with Mike a few weeks ago. We’ve known each other for about 15 years and met through a mutual friend. Over the years, I’ve bumped into him from time to time but most recently saw him at my father’s funeral. He reached out afterward to catch up and talk social media for his growing business, MeadowGreen Group. We decided to meet and catch up.

After working through our business, he asked about shooting for Stellafly. I had no idea that he was a hobby photographer. In fact, I had no idea he even took pictures. He said he loved to shoot in black and white and preferred street photography over event coverage.

Over tequila and beers, I explained how things worked at SF and sent him off to his first shoot that weekend — The Susan G Komen Run for the Cure 5K. Me. Happy.

Now knee-deep in ArtPrize season, SF’s newest addition is cruising the streets, looking at art and quite possibly you.

Regarding Mike’s images below: I cannot say for sure that these were his favorite venues or pieces. What I can say they are his favorite images from his photo walk. That’s the best part of ArtPrize. Our favorites… whatever they may be.

— SF

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Continue reading Meet the new guy, Mike.

It’s official, Grand Rapids. It’s ArtPrize Season.



ArtPrize Seven kicked off its seventh year this week, with a beautiful day, a promising first weekend and record breaking numbers. When it’s ArtPrize season, Grand Rapids shines in all of her glory.

Our television friends have set up camp in their downtown venues,  broadcasting live for our big little city. The city is alive with people. Restaurants are full. Streets are busy. There are food trucks. Live music. Familiar faces.

Parking is atrocious. Many are hitting The Rapid. Way to go, Grand Rapids!

Even the locals who seem “anti-ArtPrize” are quieter this year. Why? My observation is, strictly made through monitoring social media feeds, this year is presenting some seriously substantial art. There are noticeably less dragons and giant like creatures. There aren’t controversial pieces. It’s even rumored that even the BOB’s parking lot is devoid of it too — and the locals are missing it.

Has this new ArtPrize occurred because of the implementation of the Juried Grand Prize?  Is this now two competitions now that both the Public Vote and the Juried Grand Prize award $200,000? or is it that the public voters’ view of “what’s considered art” has changed? It’s hard to say so early in to the competition,  but it’s super fun to watch ArtPrize grow up.

SF photographers, Dianne Carroll Burdick was out and about on opening day.  Here are some shots she captured and shared with us.

— SF
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