grand rapids

TO BE ZEN-LIKE

This past weekend I made it out to the newly opened and highly anticipated Richard & Helen Devos Japanese Garden in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Garden includes several calming staples such as boulders, waterfalls, horticulture and more. A tremendous amount of sweat equity went into creating this oasis. Islands were constructed, thousands of boulders and plants were brought in. The trees include those which have been pruned and cultivated for years to appear in a mature state.

A helping hand

As you come through the main entrance you are greeted by scupture "It Will Continue to Grow Except at that Point". This installation by Giuseppe Penone elaborates on the idea of mankind's relationship with nature.

As you continue throughout the garden residing in the middle of Lena Meijer Pond, you will come upon the masterpiece known as "Four Open Squares Horizontal Gyratory-Tapered". This creation by George Rickey demonstrates his ability to combine minimalism in combination with geometry and precise engineering. 

s with all visits to a Japanese Garden, something would be amiss without experiencing the tranquility of a waterfall. The garden contains a handful of waterfalls ranging in size a providing much needed serenity to our hectic daily lives.

Continuing throughout the gardens while encircling the pond, one will encounter Pebble beach where a number of sculptures are present composed of stones.

The artist Zhang Huan has been known worldwide for his acclaimed installations and sculptures. The artist has masterfully combined his love of Buddhism and Chinese culture to create inspirational works. His monumental steel sculpture known as "Long Island Buddha" with it roughened exterior, reflects on the relationship of human violence and its destruction of culture

As you climb to the peak, you can catch a birds eye 360 degree view of entire garden.

No visit would be complete without experiencing the traditional Zen-style Garden. The garden promotes seclusion and contemplation while being surrounded by the nearby acclaimed bonsai collection.

This garden will only continue to mature and improve over time. I look forward to many return visits and encourage anyone in the area to stop and immerse yourself in this experience.

 

 

 

DOWNTOWN GRAND RAPIDS

Last weekend I decided at the last minute to getaway for a night absolving myself from the responsibilities and obligations of everyday life. I jumped in the car and headed to Grand Rapids, Michigan which has quickly become one of the fastest growing cities with it's enticing offering of breweries, restaurants and a vibrant art scene. 

Blue Bridge

Located in the heart of downtown lies the iconic pedestrian bridge simply known as the Blue Bridge. The bridge connects the city center on the East bank to the Grand Rapids Public Museum and Grand Valley State University facilities on the West. This pedestrian bridge provides a convenient connection between the Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus of Grand Valley State University as well as the Grand Rapids Public Museum and other attractions on the east side of the river.

This location has proven quite popular while providing a backdrop for wedding parties, prom pictures with its unmistakeable "Lake Blue" color.

Back to the city

Off to the left, in the two previous photos, is the JW Marriott Hotel where I spent the evening. Excellent service and attention to detail provide the perfect complement to the eye-catching contemporary architectural design.

Waterfront Downtown Grand Rapids

The downtown area is an ideal venue for taking in the all glorious options a large vibrant city has to offer. There are walking paths along the water which allow you to experience big-city excitement without the usual big city hassles. There are multiple dining, shopping, entertainment, and sightseeing opportunities all within a 10-minute stroll.

Pearl Street Bridge

 

Public Museum of Grand Rapids

The Grand Rapids Public Museum happens to be one of the oldest history museums in the United States. The museum contains a cafe, gift shop, as well as a rather unique feature, a 1928 Spilllman Carousel. The museum offers attractions for everyone as well as those interested in Astronomy by way of the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium. 

Upon completing the museum tour, a simple stroll across the street brings you to the Gerald R. Ford Museum. 

Gerald R Ford Museum

Since September of 1981, the Gerald R.Ford Museum has provided visitors a snapshot into history with exhibits and interactive learning to better understand the highlights of the Ford Administration. The museum offers a gift shop to provide momentos of history while also serving as a host for naturalization ceremonies and the annual fourth of July fireworks,

 

Grand Rapids continue to flourish as one of the fastest growing cities with all its unique offerings and I look forward to returning to visit its newest attractions. 


FREDERICK MEIJER GARDENS

As a frequent visitor to the ever popular city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, one attraction which cannot be missed is the famous Frederick Meijer Gardens.  The area host numerous exhibitions, concerts, and events for members of the entire family to enjoy.  One specific item of note are the various installations (sculptures) positioned throughout the Gardens which are substituted on a regular basis.

Lying Man

This frighteningly realistic masterpiece was created by one of the most innovative figurative sculptors working today, Sean Henry. His trademark happens to be creating realistic models in contemporary clothing scaled either much larger or smaller than life-size. He utilizes drawings and clay models that are then meticulously converted into bronze.

Fans of science would appreciate the sculpture known as "Neuron" by Roxy Paine.  This sculpture is a compilation of 3500 stainless steel rods and pipes representing the ultimate transformation from industrial to art.

Neuron

Deborah Butterfield's work deals intricately with horses and portraying them as intelligent mares rather than the customary war horse.  The name Cabin Creek comes from the location where the wood for this sculpture was compiled.  The wood is eventually transformed into bronze suitable for the elements of the Midwest.  

Cabin Creek

As with many gardens around the country, there is always a place of serenity allowing for solitude and contemplation.  

Serenity

Nature's Majesty

Alexander Liberman was showered with critical acclaim for his paintings, photographs and sculptures. This sculpture named Aria, which is a melody sung by one voice, towers at 42 feet enabling viewers to walk around and through the work.  Aria clearly demonstrates the artist’s fondness for architecture and music.

ArIa

The final sculpture of the day comes from Jaume Plensa known as "I, you, she or he…  The artist uses language and communication as theme for his installations.  The three sculptures, whose bodies are comprised of mainly stainless steel letters, are all seated on boulders facing each other, faceless, in silent conversation.  The artist is better known for his famous Crown Fountain installation in Millennium Park in downtown Chicago.

I, you, she or he...

I look forward to returning to the Gardens as there is a major expansion underway for an authentic Japanese Garden to be constructed on the property by the summer of 2015 with a Koi pond and all.