Care and Feeding: Alumni Grow Local Creative Community with New Gallery Space
The already formidable presence of Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) alumni in the Avenue for the Arts neighborhood in Grand Rapids, Mich. has grown with the opening of Bend Gallery, a multipurpose creative space owned and operated by alumni Madison May (’16, BFA Printmaking) and Gina Masterson (’16, BFA Illustration).
image courtesy of Bend Gallery
The gallery, which officially opened on July 7, will focus on providing artists with accessible exhibition opportunities, nurturing the local creative community through community-focused events, and stimulating engagement with art that challenges social and political norms.
The gallery’s inaugural exhibition, “Many Hands,” showcased the work of the many local artists who helped May and Masterson get Bend Gallery off the ground. The gallery also hosts a community book club, Books at Bend, which is free and open to the public.
(above and below): Visitors take in "Many Hands," the inaugural exhibition at Bend Gallery (images courtesy of Bend Gallery)
May and Masterson join a number of KCAD alumni who operate gallery or retail spaces in the neighborhood, including Matthew Provoast (’16, BFA Photography) and Erika Townsley (’16, BFA Photography), co-owners of Light Gallery + Studio; Steven Vinson (’11, MFA), owner of Spiral; Hugo Claudin (’92, BFA Illustration), owner of Mexicains Sans Fronteries; and Erica Lang (’14, BFA Printmaking), owner of Woosah.
With Bend Gallery, May is building on her experiences working for and with other local creative spaces. During her time at KCAD, she interned at Dinderbeck Studio and for the Avenue for the Arts Learning Lab initiative, and post-graduation worked as manager of Woosah and as manager of art gallery/tattoo studio GreenLion Studios. She also currently works as a technician in the KCAD Printmaking Lab, a position she’s held for the past year.
Bend Gallery opens the exhibition “Patterns” on August 4 in conjunction with the Avenue for the Arts First Fridays event.
To learn more about what May, Masterson, and Bend Gallery are adding to Grand Rapids’ creative community, check out this article recently published by cultured.GR.
Learn more about KCAD’s Printmaking program at kcad.edu/printmaking.
Learn more about KCAD’s Illustration program at kcad.edu/illustration.