A $150,000 grant from the Grand Rapids Community Foundation’s Fund for Community Good will help GRAAMA find a new home.
“We are excited about our partnership with GRAAMA, because the stories of African-Americans and their legacies in Grand Rapids deserve to be told with the empathy, passion, pride and connectivity of those who understand them best,” said Janean Couch, program director, Grand Rapids Community Foundation.
“GRAAMA’s efforts to secure a permanent location align with our values in helping to create a community where we connect across perspectives.”
In less than three years in operation, GRAAMA has been recognized by various local and national organizations including the American Association for State and Local History, WMCAT, 2019 Baxter History Award as well as the winner of Artprize’s 2018 “Best Venue” award.
The Grand Rapids African American Museum & Archives (GRAAMA) has recently partnered with the Grand Rapids Community Foundation through a $150,000 grant from the organization’s Fund for Community Good. GRAAMA will use the funds to support pre-campaign efforts toward the goal of establishing a permanent home and to encourage continued efforts toward organizational sustainability and archiving collections.
The special October edition of the Grand Rapids Business Journal provides a breakdown of this year's 200 leading businesses and those driving those related businesses to success. One of the 200 includes the Grand Rapids African American Museum & Archives and its executive director, George Bayard III.
Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863 and the March on Washington, 1963 was created by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of American History in collaboration with the American Library Association Public Programs Office. The exhibition is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).
The GRPM added a twist to the exhibition, using artifacts and stories from a local perspective. In addition to artifacts from the GRPM Collections, many artifacts on display were on loan from the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives.
After opening three years ago as Director of GRAAMA or the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives, I wondered if this area would support a museum devoted to African American history and culture.
Talking with Lonnie Bunch, the director of National African American Museum of History and Culture, about his approach he replied, “If you are able to tell the stories of African Americans through the overall outline of American history, you will be fine. The stereotypic view is that African American museums are just for African Americans, but it has to be welcoming to all by blending multiple histories together.
ArtPrize announced the winners of its 10th annual competition during a ceremony at Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids on the evening of Friday, Oct. 5.
Organizers awarded a total of $500,000 in prizes at the ceremony, including a pair of $200,000 grand prizes to the winners of the juried and public votes. Category awards worth $12,500 each were also awarded to eight of the 38 total finalists and to a single venue selected from five nominees.
Since Sept. 19, 32,613 visitors signed up to vote casting 253,161 votes across two rounds.
Photos from the riot which took place over three days in 1967, including headlines from local newspapers written mostly by journalists who were present during the July event, is being presented by GRAAMA.
In addition, the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives will present a short documentary film about the 1967 riot, which includes interviews from several historians and eye witnesses to the what took place from July 25 – 27th in 1967 in Grand Rapids just south of Wealthy Street between Division and Madison.
The Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives (GRAAMA) will host or participate in several events, this month, to recognize and celebrate Black History Month.
"One of the things we say at GRAAMA is we are celebrating Black History Month 12 months a year. It is going to be our duty to do so," said Bayard. "In Grand Rapids, there are plenty of stories and artifacts. We know we can fill a museum and this is only a stepping stone."
Opening just before ArtPrize Eight and hosting a grand opening ceremony just after Christmas, the Grand Rapids African American Museum & Archives (GRAAMA) aims to celebrate the history, culture and diversity of the city's African American community, showcasing more than 30 years of community building and art collecting by a group of individuals dedicated to African American history and culture.
At the helm of the project is George Bayard, an art gallery owner and collector whose personal mission fueled the museum. With the ribbon cut at a temporary location and an eye on a future build, GRAAMA aims to make an indelible mark on Grand Rapids and showcase the incredible legacy of the African American community in West Michigan.
Few know that William J. Hardy, a former slave freed in the 1840s, came to own hundreds of acres south of Grand Rapids, and was eventually elected to the role of Gaines Township supervisor in 1872.
At the Grand Rapids African-American Museum and Archives (GRAAMA), visitors can soon learn more about Hardy and others in the African-American community who helped build the city into what it is today.
The Grand Rapids African-American Museum and Archives holds its Royal Opening on December 26. Food, music, and an official ribbon-cutting will be followed by a Kwanzaa ceremony.