Current Location:
Kirkhof Center -> 1st Floor (KC)
Location Notes:
KC; 1st Floor; Lobby across from Java City Coffee

Welcome

Artwork
Identifier:
2022.1.4
Artist:
Dave Battjes
Credit:
GVSU Collection
Medium:
Latex on Particle Board
Date:
2020
Dimensions:
Artworks - Height: 4' Width: 8'
Note: 4ft x 8ft (two boards)
Description:
Two plywood panels with "Welcome" across them in yellow, red and black paint.
Historical Context:
On May 30th, 2020, a peaceful protest in support of Black Lives Matter was held in downtown Grand Rapids in response to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers. Following the protest, a late night riot caused damage to vehicles and buildings. In the following days, the Grand Rapids community worked together to clean up the damage, including many businesses who had to cover up broken windows with plywood. Seeing the plywood as blank canvases, graffiti artist Guillermo Soleto reached out to Hannah Berry of Lions and Rabbits Center for the Arts who brought together local business owners and property managers to support the pivotal community artist project that became "Windows GR". An artist liaison group of Jasmine Bruce ('18), Leandro Lara, Adrian Butler and Kendall Redmon with Asia Horne ('13) of Free Alchemy Studio as the catalyst helped advocate for the amplification of local Black artists and artists of color to express themselves using the project as a platform. The art addresses systemic racism and injustice while cultivating messages of equality and freedom of speech directly from the creative perspectives of Grand Rapids artists. Since then, pieces from the project have been acquired by local institutions such as Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives, Grand Rapids Public Museum, Aquinas College and now proudly at Grand Valley State University. On this piece artist Dave Batjes comments, "'Welcome' is something that everyone deserves to feel. I made this piece to express that and to hopefully convey a message of togetherness and support during such a hard and dark time in our country and city. "