Street Talk

Street Talk: A driving dialogue

Fashion sense.

April 8, 2016
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Transit, a hot topic in the region, will take a new conversational path later this week as the 2016 Public Transportation and Universities Conference rolls into Grand Rapids.

The four-day conference launching April 16 will be hosted by Grand Valley State University and The Rapid at the Amway Grand Plaza, and is expected to draw more than 150 attendees.

Chris Swank, manager of operations for the GVSU Pew Campus, said the conference is an excellent opportunity for Grand Valley and The Rapid to showcase a unique partnership and gain valuable insight from agencies around the country.

“We are excited to welcome our transit colleagues to our hometown,” said Swank.

The event is intended to promote innovation in transit services for college and university communities and covers a number of topics, such as: communication to students; safety and security; financing for transit services; parking policies; technology; bike-share programs; planning and sustainability; and university and transit partnerships.

Speakers will include: Peter Varga, CEO of The Rapid; James Bachemeier, vice president for finance and administration at GVSU; Andrew Johnson, member of the American Public Transportation Association board of directors, chair of the APTA Small Operations Committee and general manager of Connect Transit in Illinois; and Michael Melaniphy, president and CEO of APTA.

Industry experts expected to present at the conference include Lolo Kazue Robison, director of marketing at Capital Area Transportation Authority, Amy E. Hill, director of marketing for South Bend Public Transportation Corp., Robert Aguirre, commercial sales director for Proterra Inc., Philip Muse, associate principal of Wendel, Bobby Stone, director of parking and transportation at the University of Texas at Austin, and Amy L. Snyder, customer service manager at Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District.

Artistic pairings

ArtPrize has selected its four curatorial fellows for 2016 as part of its Fellowship for Emerging Curators program.

The program launched in 2015 with the goal of offering emerging curators the opportunity to gain experience working alongside curators at established ArtPrize institutional venues.

Fellows assist with exhibitions at their assigned venue and curate their own exhibits as part of ArtPrize 2016. Each fellow and their assigned venue will receive a $10,000 grant from the program.

“By offering emerging curators guidance through this program, we hope that the shared expertise and the value of this experience spills over into their ongoing independent practice, building greater curatorial capacity in the region,” said Kevin Buist, ArtPrize exhibitions director.

Brianna Baurichter will serve as curatorial fellow for Grand Rapids Art Museum, where she will work alongside Ron Platt, GRAM’s chief curator. Baurichter earned a BFA in studio art from Columbia College Chicago, and is completing her MFA at Kendall College of Art and Design.

Julia Victor, a curator and art historian from Detroit, will serve as curatorial fellow at Kendall College of Art & Design, working alongside curator Michele Bosak. Victor earned a master’s degree in the history of art from Courtauld Institute of Art at the University of London.

Alison Erazmus will serve as curatorial fellow at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, working under the mentorship of Heather Duffy, UICA exhibitions curator. Erazmus earned an MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Steffanie Rosalez will serve as the curatorial fellow for SiTE:LAB, working alongside Paul Amenta, SiTE:LAB curator and co-founder. Rosalez has been program director at Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities since 2011. She earned a BFA in studio art and communications from Hope College.

ArtPrize 2016 is scheduled for Sept. 21-Oct. 9.

Superhero app

The Michigan-made Hollywood blockbuster “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” has had about as successful a trip to the theater as the parents of Bruce Wayne. Ouch. Too soon?

Although the film was a financial success, it was mostly despised by critics and left fans feeling mixed about the meeting of the “world’s finest” and arguably most iconic superheroes. It has, however, created an opportunity for tourism in the state in which it was filmed.

To coincide with the film’s release, the Michigan Film and Digital Media Office commissioned a mobile tour app that allows comic-book fans and the handful of people who liked the movie to visit locations where the film was shot.

The app offers an interactive map that features 12 shooting locations from the Warner Brothers and DC Comics film, and even gives background information about what was shot at that particular site. It allows users to visit Detroit sites such as “Downtown Metropolis” — actually, Fort Street — and “The Wayne Building in Gotham,” aka the Guardian Building.

Why make such an app? According to the Michigan Film and Digital Media Office, studies have shown about one in five tourists are motivated to visit a location based on their favorite movies and TV programs. Just ask the poor woman who lives in the Arizona house of “Breaking Bad” main character Walter White. She constantly suffered having pizzas thrown on her roof, and show-creator Vince Gilligan had to ask fans to stop.

“The city of Detroit, in particular, has benefited greatly in recent times from welcoming film productions to our streets, yet there is still an untapped opportunity to connect film production and tourism in our state that this app provides: cost-effective promotion while engaging users to explore Michigan,” said Jenell Leonard, commissioner of the film office.

“This app also takes an innovative approach that helps us promote Michigan businesses and cultural destinations located nearby and along the paths to location sites in ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.’’’

Dress for success

Students from the Pamella Roland DeVos School of Fashion at Kendall College of Art & Design will show off their most “imaginative and captivating” work during a fashion show Wednesday at Grand Rapids Downtown Market.

UN.EARTH Fashion Show will take place 7:30-10 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are available through

The evening will include work from all class levels of the fashion studies program. The event’s theme of nature and personal growth is based on the earth’s terrain and includes three subcategories: peak, valley and coast.

Underclassmen will display garments designed for various class projects.

Graduating seniors will display their full capstone collections.

Audrey Langejans, fashion studies senior and one of the event’s lead organizers, said, “The definition of the word ‘unearth’ itself felt like the perfect summation of the senior experience.

“We seniors have spent three years working on class projects and learning different techniques, and now we have been able to unearth our own aesthetics and identities as designers through our capstone collections.”

Lori Faulkner, fashion studies program chair, said students are given complete creative freedom in creating their capstone projects.

“Regardless of their class level, I am consistently amazed by the unique designs that my students are able to take from concept to finished product.”

Appetizers and refreshments will be provided by Martha’s Vineyard. 

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