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Women's Lifestyle Magazine

Festival of the Arts Unveils 50th Celebration Poster Commemorating Calder's La Grande Vitesse

Apr 15, 2019 09:31AM ● By WLMagazine

To commemorate its 50th year, Festival of the Arts is excited to announce renowned designer Stephen Frykholm as its 2019 poster artist. One of the longest running festivals in the state of Michigan, Festival of the Arts will hold its 50th celebration on June 7, 8, and 9 in downtown Grand Rapids.

“Steve was an obvious choice to create the 50th celebration poster,” said David Abbott, Executive Director for Festival of the Arts.” He is a luminary in the design community and we knew he would create something unique and compelling to commemorate this milestone event.”

Steve started his career at Herman Miller in 1970 as the company’s first graphic designer. In 1986 he received the Carl F. Frost Award, Herman Miller’s highest recognition for an employee. In 2007, AIGA, the professional association for design, awarded him an AIGA Fellow, and in 2010 he earned AIGA’s most prestigious award, the AIGA Medal. Steve has been recognized as an annual report design legend by Graphis magazine and he was acclaimed as an American design icon in the 50th anniversary issue of Communication Arts. He retired from Herman Miller in 2015.

“When David Abbott asked me if I would design the Festival of the Arts poster this year, I couldn’t say no, because it’s the 50th year of the festival. That’s a big deal!” said Steve. “It was also 50 years ago that the critically acclaimed Calder stabile was installed, and it is the epicenter of the festival. After reviewing all the former posters in the lower level of City Hall, I decided on my direction–the iconic Calder would be my focal point. The Grand River and the Native American mounds are also important city symbols, and I wanted to include them. The large poster I came up with is simple and direct in its design and typography with a blue sky for optimism. I hope it inspires people to start their summer–and perhaps a suntan–by attending the 50th Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts in June.” 

This year’s poster will be available for sale in the Festival Store and at the Gift Shop at the GRAM during Festival of the Arts.  Both signed and unsigned versions will be available at different price points.   

The Calder stabile, or La Grande Vitesse, was formally dedicated on June 14, 1969, and has since become the civic symbol of the City of Grand Rapids. Its installation inspired the first Festival of the Arts, a three-day community arts celebration held each year on the first full weekend in June. Festival began in 1970 and was originally sponsored by the Arts Council of Greater Grand Rapids.

Festival started with two stages, some artwork and a few food booths. Today, the celebration covers much of downtown Grand Rapids with three performance stages, dozens of food booths, and endless art and activities for all ages. Now in its 50th year, Festival of the Arts is one of the longest running festivals in the State of Michigan.

About Festival of the Arts 
Festival of the Arts is a three-day community celebration in downtown Grand Rapids offering art, food, entertainment, and fun activities for all ages. Always held the first full weekend of June, this year’s 50th celebration will run June 7, 8 and 9.

Festival of the Arts is one of the longest running festivals in the State of Michigan and is a celebration of the installation of La Grande Vitesse on Calder Plaza. Festival of the Arts is a 501c3 nonprofit organization and receives support from the City of Grand Rapids, the Kent County Commission and many generous businesses, organizations, and individuals. Visit for more information. 

Video credit goes to SideCar Studios