Grand Rapids is known as one of the best cities for artists in America. Think about it—we're home to:
- ArtPrize and Festival of the Arts
- The world's first LEED® Gold certified art museum, GRAM
- Several startups of various industries—and organizations like Local First and Start Garden who support these initiatives
- Dozens of other art galleries, advertising, branding, design, and marketing agencies, technology companies, musicians and music venues, among endless other creative outlets
It's safe to say GR has quite a bit to boast about when it comes to the arts.
For some of us, creativity comes easily and in a more obvious form; for others, creativity is more of an aspirational quality that we wish to implement in both our personal and professional lives in some way, but may not know how to do so or where to start.
Whether you currently identify as a Creative or are simply curious to get a taste of what a life filled with more creativity looks and feels like, the following organizations and resources are excellent places to start.
AIGA West Michigan
AIGA, the professional association for design, has over 70 chapters and more than 25,000 members across the United States. With their mission to “advance designing as a professional craft, strategic tool and vital cultural force,” AIGA is not just an organization for the design community but is also accessible to folks across several industries. TIS is a long-time member of AIGA West Michigan and has found much value in being involved with this organization—from volunteering at Design Week to attending lectures and other events.
And, be sure to follow AIGA West Michigan on Facebook to stay in the loop with upcoming events and news in the design world!
CreativeMornings is a TIS Team fav! Created by Tina Roth Eisenberg in 2008, CreativeMornings originated as an accessible event for New York's creative community but has quickly grown into a global organization, with chapters in well over 100 cities across the world—including Grand Rapids. On one Friday every month, CreativeMornings GR (along with every other CM chapter) hosts a free breakfast and 20-minute creative lecture centered around a theme chosen by one of CM's chapters. The featured theme and speaker changes monthly. Again, these events are free (booyah!) and open to anyone.
P.S. We also highly recommend signing up for their newsletter (link at the bottom of the page) for weekly creative inspiration, interesting articles and info on upcoming events!
Primarily serving as a coworking (not to be confused with 'co-working') space, The Factory in downtown Grand Rapids is a highly collaborative environment for freelancers, small teams and community gatherings. The Factory is a huge promoter of camaraderie and getting to know fellow community members—and does so by hosting weekly, monthly and yearly events open to the public. Community lunches, Beer:30s, and their Wednesday Coffee With Creators event presents tons of opportunities to meet and reconnect with folks across various industries. You never know who you may run into!
Everyone has the ability to tap into (and grow) their creative spirit—don't tell yourself otherwise! We encourage you to explore the resources above for the inspiration and confidence to start implementing or grow your creative abilities… you just may surprise yourself!