first fridays: july 7

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On the first Friday of every month, Division Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan bursts with art, performances, food, and laughter. Avenue for the Arts‘ free event is attended by artists, curators, art-lovers, young people, students, and world travelers.

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Shibori [indigo dyeing] mini-workshop with Annie from LIGHT Gallery + Studio

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All displayed artwork, books, shelves, candles, jars, etc. inside LIGHT is for sale.
What a beautiful way to shop!

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My favorite pieces were from smallholding craft & co. [Mackenzie Lund]
and vanessa autumn.

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Trippy painting on display in Smokin’ J’s

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Affordable handcrafted wood earrings by jarrod napierkowski
for sale in the UICA gift shop

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my husband, Robert Fraser, and good friend, Alexis De Weese

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These flowers were part of a multimodal installation and series on mental wellness.
This piece was titled “Self Care isn’t always Pretty.”

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This station allowed viewers to respond anonymously. The invitation helped get something off your chest.

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Art is everywhere. This beautiful tilework was at one building’s entrance.

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Summer Bucket List

written by Jamie Anderson & Kelsey May
July 6th, 2017

There are two more months left of summer, which rocks because summer is awesome. But around this time, people can run out of ideas on how to spend their lazy summer nights. Let’s change that. Below is a bucket list of ideas and things to do with the rest of your summer!

  • Have a water balloon fight
  • Stay up really late and stargaze. August is the month for meteor showers and eclipses!
  • Have a nice picnic with friends or family
  • Get a crazy hairstyle or dye your hair a fun color
  • Have a photoshoot (Consider having one with us if you live in West Michigan, Detroit, or Chicago!)
  • Spend a full day at the beach. We recommend PJ Hoffmaster or Pioneer for good hiking trails, picnic areas, and playgrounds. Wear sunblock!
  • Swim at night (clothing optional)
  • Watch a sunrise
  • Attend a local concert. Parks and sculpture gardens often offer free concerts with admission during weekday evenings!
  • Bake cookies, brownies, or a cake. Bonus points if you give some away to an elderly neighbor or relative!
  • Have a garage sale. Then decide what to do with your extra cash!
  • Go somewhere new


  • Host a board game night. (Our favorites are Pandemic, Dominion, Cards Against Humanity (Harry Potter edition available on Etsy),
  • Build a fort
  • Go camping
  • Read a new book
  • Try a new food. We recommend Thai food, ramen, and gourmet vegan sandwiches.
  • Watch a scary movie
  • Write something, write anything
  • Skip rocks
  • Watch the clouds, preferably while listening to some favorite tunes
  • Have a campfire and make vegan s’mores
  • Go one day without using any technology
  • Listen to a new band. We recommend Bishop Briggs, IAMDDB, and the newest Gorillaz album.
  • Make a homemade parfait
  • Play Truth or Dare
  • Learn a new skill. Fun, affordable examples include archery, sewing, knitting, or longboarding.
  • Ride a rollercoaster
  • Go for a hike
  • Do a fun DIY project (We’ll have several ideas posted throughout the summer!)
  • Walk a dog
  • Visit a Farmers Market.
  • Battle your friends with nerf guns or squirt guns
  • Attend a public lecture. Your local library probably has some cool topics this summer.
  • Watch the newest Pirates of the Caribbean installment.
  • Offer to babysit for a friend or family member. You’ll be giving them some much-needed time to themself and you get to hang out with a little one for an afternoon or evening.
  • Treat yourself at an art fair. You’ll get something one-of-a-kind, and you’ll be supporting someone’s passion!
  • Grab some frozen yogurt. Many places are now vegan-friendly!

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  • Attend an indie film festival. Tickets are usually very affordable, from free to as low as $10 for several films!
  • Write a poem.
  • Win a prize at a carnival game.
  • Play Everything or Journey on your video game console. Both are beautiful philosophical explorations of life.
  • Choreograph a dance to one of your favorite songs. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, record it! (We might even publish it if you send it our way!)
  • See a play. Lots of summer camps run end-of-the-week shows for their students to get a taste of performing. They’re often free and hilariously entertaining. Seriously, middle school students can crack some mean jokes.
  • Go horseback riding.
  • Compliment a stranger on their smile.
  • Find a waterfall. They’re hidden all over the country, and if you ask your Facebook feed where they recommend going, you’ll probably get some great suggestions!
  • Start a rock collection.
  • Learn how to play an instrument. I cannot recommend Yousician highly enough. It’s free for fifteen minutes a day!
  • Go fruit-picking!
  • Watch a minor league baseball game.
  • Finger paint.
  • Volunteer at a food kitchen or kids program. You’ll give and gain more than you might expect!
  • Read Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay.
  • Write a letter of appreciation to someone in your life.
  • Donate school supplies to a local drive. Nonprofits and schools are always taking donations!
  • Make a friendship bracelet for someone you’ve lost touch with.

Have a bucket list idea? Want to tell us how your summer is going so far? Leave a comment below! We’d love to hear from you!

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