In America, anything is popsicle.
On this day in 2015, The Rushouse Radio Hour broadcast from the attic for the very first time.
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.
"Hey, check out my fiancé's legs in the Pyramid Scheme window," is definitely not a sentence I expected to say.
Please pardon the probably-pretentious pseudo "professional" ramble that's about to come out. I've never been able to say accurately when asked what The Rushouse is, mostly because it changes based on whatever whim I'm feeling at the time. Full disclosure, the honest answer still eludes me. It's kind of like a hobby that every once in a while I take super seriously. It was something I did a long time ago, but that was something else entirely.
In April of 2015, I "announced" to no one in particular the return of the house, and as I head into the last two years of my five-year "plan," I'm armed with more knowledge and experience than I would've thought possible back then. My driving force was the belief that simply by doing SOMETHING with all my heart would lead to and open up possibilities I could have otherwise missed out on.
I couldn't have been more right. I now have a collection of recorded conversations with some of my best friends. I played a part in opening an art gallery that became the mother of all passion projects. Rarely has there been a time in the last year that a poster of mine hasn't adorned the Pyramid Scheme windows, and I got to lead design and marketing for a neighborhood street fair and festival in one of my favorite parts of town. I'm not even counting all of the things in between.
I'm planning some big things for my little house this summer, so I'm sorry in advance because I probably won't shut up about it.
Podcast goal accomplished! This is one of my favorite pieces of art and my favorite Well Known Folk Artist Man that made it. That piece has hung on the wall of every place I've lived since Reb gave it to me in 2006, in return for a video I made with the incredible folk artists on Division Ave.
This Monday we got to talk for an hour and a half with microphones on and I'm so excited to share it with anybody who wants a listen.