Museum wins NEA grant

Museum wins NEA grant

The Grand Rapids Art Museum is the first newly constructed LEED Gold certified art museum in the world. Photo via

A local art museum has received a grant from a national arts agency to support an upcoming exhibit.

The Grand Rapids Art Museum, or GRAM, said last week it received $35,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts, or NEA, to support the museum’s 2018 exhibition “Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle,” which runs Jan. 27 through April 28, 2018.

As the only funder in the country to support arts activities in all 50 states and five U.S. jurisdictions, the NEA awarded 1,195 grants totaling $82.06 million in this second round of funding for fiscal year 2017, out of 2,063 eligible applications.

“The Grand Rapids Art Museum is humbled and extremely grateful to receive this significant award from the National Endowment for the Arts,” said Dana Friis-Hansen, director and CEO, GRAM. “The NEA plays an invaluable role in providing art programming and experiences across the country, and we’re energized and thankful for their support of ‘The Great Lakes Cycle.’”

NEA Chairman Jane Chu said the agency lauds the “vision, energy and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations.”

“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support organizations such as the Grand Rapids Art Museum in serving their communities by providing excellent and accessible arts experiences,” she said.

The exhibit

Organized by GRAM, “Alexis Rockman: The Great Lakes Cycle” is a solo exhibition by contemporary artist Alexis Rockman celebrating the past, present and future of the Great Lakes.

“The Great Lakes Cycle” explores the factors that have shaped one of the most beautiful, economically significant and ecologically complex regions on the planet. The project is based on the artist’s extensive research, travel within the region and conversations with scientists, historians and Great Lakes specialists.

The exhibit will be anchored by five new mural-sized oil paintings, each accompanied by a key that illustrates and notates the species, artifacts and historical references within the painting.

The display will be accompanied by two publications — a fully illustrated catalogue with essays by Dana Friis-Hansen, Jeff Alexander and Thyrza Nichols Goodeve, and a children’s book, “Rockman to the Rescue,” by Mark Newman, author of the “Sooper Yooper” series.

Rockman’s exhibit will tour nationally through 2020, with presentations at Chicago Cultural Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland and the Weisman Art Museum in Minneapolis, among others.


Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is an independent federal agency that gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations and develop their creative capacities through its support and funding.

The agency partners with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies and the philanthropic sector to support arts learning and promote equal access to the arts in every community.


The Grand Rapids Art Museum is internationally known for its distinguished design and LEED Gold certification.

Established in 1910 as the Grand Rapids Art Association, the GRAM includes more than 5,000 works of art, including American and European 19th- and 20th-century paintings and sculptures and more than 3,000 works on paper.

The GRAM also has a growing collection in the area of design and modern craft, reflecting the city’s history of manufacturing and design.

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