Project 1 Announces New Commissions and Projects for Inaugural Edition

Visual Arts

Project 1: Crossed Lines

September 7 to October 27, 2019

Throughout Grand Rapids, MI

Project 1 is pleased to announce the new works and commissions for the inaugural edition. Differing from traditional biennials, Project 1 will focus on five artists, each producing large-scale public artworks to enable them to advance their artistic practices. Some of these installations will occupy multiple sites throughout the city, some will function as stages for performing arts and other collaborations, while still others will be geared toward various forms of audience participation. Presented by ArtPrize, Project 1 represents the first in a biennial series of citywide exhibitions of public art taking place in the years between ArtPrize competitions.

Organized under the title Crossed Lines, these multifaceted installations, urban interventions and community-oriented projects will explore how lines are drawn—literally and figuratively—to demarcate public and private space, as well as how boundaries inform movement and a sense of belonging within the city. This theme reflects the complex conditions of Grand Rapids, a place with a rich legacy of public art defining and enhancing civic space, yet still confronted with difficult questions about access and boundaries, both visible and invisible.

Amanda Browder (Brooklyn, NY) will present Kaleidoscopic, a series of large-scale fabric installations created for Project 1. The largest and most ambitious will be draped over the exterior of a community center building in Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Southeast Grand Rapids. The artist will also wrap four skywalks which bridge buildings in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, as well as cover the facade of a building at the Tanglefoot site on the southwest side of the city. Browder’s installation practice makes use of fabric donated by the citizens of Grand Rapids, which is then constructed and sewn by local volunteers under the artist’s direction. Throughout the spring and summer of 2019, Browder is organizing “Public Sewing Days” during which the artist, local volunteers and the ArtPrize team pin and sew multicolored stripes and shapes to assemble into a larger design. Browder looks to give a voice to the citizens of Grand Rapids and blur the division between audience and artist. Browder’s work for Project 1 is underwritten by X-Rite and Pantone.

Heather Hart (Brooklyn, NY) will present a sculptural diptych titled The Oracle of the Soulmates, in Martin Luther King Jr. Park on the Southeast side and in Rosa Parks Circle, in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids. The twin sculptures will have the appearance of independent rooftops removed from their houses and dropped from the sky to live autonomous lives in a new context. The artist’s submerged rooftops, complete with shingles and dormer windows, encourage visitors to climb on top and inside and contemplate regional oral histories, as well as serve as a stage for performance. The rooftops refer to home, stability or shelter. Hart speaks about the rooftops as thresholds between public and private space, and stages from which power can be reclaimed. The performance lineup to take place on Hart’s rooftops will be announced this summer. Hart’s work for Project 1 is underwritten by Herman Miller Cares.

Rafael Lozano-Hemmer (Montreal, Canada) will present a new site-specific installation for Project 1, titled Voice Bridge. The handrails of Grand Rapids’ iconic Blue Bridge, a pedestrian bridge which connects the East and West sides of downtown over the Grand River, will be affixed with speakers and 400 lights that shine on the footpath of the bridge. The intensity of each light is automatically controlled by the voice recording of participants who speak into intercoms at each end of the bridge. Once a recording is finished, it will play back as a loop, both in the light fixtures that are closest to the intercom as well as on an inline loudspeaker. With each new participant, old recordings get pushed one position down the array of lights. The “memory” of the installation will continue to recycle, with the oldest recordings pushed from one end of the bridge to the other.

Olalekan Jeyifous (Brooklyn, NY) will present a monumental piece that is one part sculpture, one part architectural folly. Titled The Boom and the Bust, this abstracted multi-story building form will be horizontally bisected by a steel truss enclosure containing small homes. The work, to be installed in downtown Grand Rapids at the corner of Monroe Ave and Louis St., combines the iconography of skyscrapers and single-family houses, highlighting how the broad narrative of citywide economic recovery can be at odds with individual and familial stories of struggle and displacement across ethnic lines. The sculpture arises from the artist’s research into the recent history of housing in Grand Rapids, and will reflect the juxtaposition between massive downtown development happening alongside foreclosure and displacement.

Paul Amenta and Ted Lott (Grand Rapids, MI), well known for their history of wide-ranging collaborative artistic productions with SiTE:LAB, will present Critical Infrastructure — a site-specific architectural intervention at the landmark Tanglefoot Building, a fly paper factory that now holds artist studios. In collaboration with DisArt, an arts and culture organization that focuses on creating public art events that cultivate and communicate a disabled culture, the intervention will build an environment that addresses issues of accessibility in both form and function. The project will reimagine the site by temporarily transforming a private space into a fully accessible public space, through a series of ramps and landings that are open to the public. It will serve as an armature, facilitating dynamic programming and community engagement.


The artists were selected by Artistic Director Kevin Buist working alongside a Curatorial Advisory Committee. The Project 1 curatorial advisory committee includes: Joseph Becherer, Director of the Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame; Dan Cameron, Independent Curator; Nicole J. Caruth, Independent Curator and Writer; Alice Gray Stites, Chief Curator of 21c Museum Hotels; Larry Ossei-Mensah, Susanne Feld Hilberry Senior Curator Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit; and Rebecca Carbin, Independent Curator and founder of I Heart Your Work Art Futures and ART + PUBLIC UnLtd.

Learn more at


The ArtPrize organization produces open citywide contemporary art experiences that encourage critical discourse, celebrate artists, transform urban space and promote cultural understanding. Project 1: Crossed Lines is the first in a series of multi-sited public art exhibitions to take place between biennial ArtPrize competitions.

From September 7 – October 27, 2019, the Project 1: Crossed Lines exhibition will occupy multiple outdoor sites in Grand Rapids, Michigan and will feature temporary public artworks by five artists. The seven-week run will be punctuated by a series of events, volunteer opportunities, educational programs and performances.

As of publication date, underwriting partners for Project 1 include DTE Foundation, Herman Miller Cares, Meijer, PNC Bank, X-Rite and Pantone. Major sponsors include Amway, Consumers Energy, Founders Brewing Co., Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., Haworth, ITC—Your Energy Superhighway, LIFEWTR, Switch, West Michigan Honda Dealers and Wolverine Worldwide.

Honda is the Official Vehicle. LIFEWTR is the Official Water. WOOD TV8 is the Official Broadcast Media Partner.

Major supporting foundations include CDV5 Foundation, Peter C. & Emajean Cook Foundation, The Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, Douglas and Maria DeVos Foundation, The Edgar & Elsa Prince Foundation, Efroymson Family Fund and Frey Foundation.

Contact: David Simantov