This May is for honoring my Mom. Her name was Kerri Sue, and quite frankly, she was a bad ass. Not only did she put the time in raising my brother, my sister, and I, she dedicated the better part of her adult life to volunteering downtown right here in Grand Rapids. She would've been 63 this year. She fell in love with the people and the spirit at Heartside Ministries, and based on the collection of artwork she amassed over the decade-plus she spent down on Division Avenue, they fell in love with her right back.
This is a big month at my little house. In the five years since I inherited my Mother's massive collection of folk and outsider art, all made by pre-ArtPrize-Grand Rapids local homeless and downtrodden, I've had it in my head to put on a show. Also in the last five years, a lot happened to keep me from pulling the thing together, but more than anything was just not knowing how to do it. Some of the artists are still around, some never signed their work, some have disappeared, and some have died. I knew I wanted to do this to honor the memory of my mom, the most bad ass woman I have ever known and a dedicated volunteer at Heartside Ministries for more than a decade where most, if not all, of this artwork came from. But, I also wanted to share with as many people as possible the work of these incredibly gifted, goddamn soulful, and endlessly unique street artists. As things are wont to do, it all came together with what feels very little effort on my part (at first, at least). I set the show for Mother's Day, naming it after the sentiment my Mom and I shared on bad days and through hard times; "Kick Its Ass." After that, and with guidance from the immortal Reb Roberts, I contacted a few people who I thought may be interested in a show like this. Lucky for me they were, and Kick Its Ass got an opening preview as part of Avenue for the Arts' First Fridays. So, this is fun. Two shows, one month, a collection of local art and a hell of a kick off to the summer of 2018.
That said, next month for the first time ever (unless you've ever been to the House before) my mom's collection is being hung for the public to enjoy. A big thank you to Heartside for providing refreshments, and to the church across the street for the parking lot they so fortuitously laid so long ago. Grand Rapids, come dig on some art. That's what the House is here for.