Board picks Progressive AE

September 27, 2008
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The Convention and Arena Authority has chosen Progressive AE, a design, architecture and engineering firm, to lay out a series of art displays along the enclosed downtown skywalk that connects three hotels with DeVos Place.

“They’re bringing design team capabilities to this project. This is not just an architectural piece,” said CAA member Lew Chamberlin.

“It’s getting everybody’s attention and I’d like to keep this moving,” said Chamberlin, who also chairs the board’s Operations Committee that has been directing the effort.

Progressive AE co-designed the convention center, and last year company Vice President Philip Lundwall presented the board with a sketch of where art pieces could go inside the massive DeVos Place.

The CAA will pay Progressive $9,800 for the work, which is expected to take four weeks to complete. The money will come from the board’s budget.

The CAA intends to hang three different displays along that section of the skywalk, and all three would represent West Michigan. One would be a multi-visual presentation of the local arts groups and sports franchises displayed on a series of plasma screens. Another would be photographs of iconic settings in the region. A third would be a rotating display of work done by a local artist.

CAA Executive Director Rich MacKeigan said convention delegates have complained that the skywalk trek from the hotels to the convention center has been a very dull walk.

“We want the conventioneers going home and saying, ‘I saw this cool thing in Grand Rapids,’” he said.

MacKeigan said he hopes to have a cost proposal of the skywalk art installation for the CAA to review on Oct. 22.

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