Oliver's Observatory

The Blog & Observations of Oliver H. Evans

A New Crew

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There are some new kids on the block; particularly, at 1111 Godfrey in downtown Grand Rapids. ArtServe Michigan has described them as a "dynamic arts movement," and Con Artist Crew, a collective of recent Kendall grads turned local artists, agree with this description. They further explain themselves, "We are a multifaceted gallery that is creating an artistic community. Bringing to the forefront new emerging artists keeping in mind the artists that came before us." Though they've been on the radar since their tenure at Kendall, I'd like to point out that there is still an element of mystery behind Con Artist Crew. I say this because, despite being well-known within both the Kendall and local art communities, many have yet to discover the recent efforts and ideas co-founders Magdalene Law and Reuben Garcia have contributed to this recent collective. Just weeks ago, Con Artist Crew celebrated its Grand Opening. They celebrated with a show featuring works from several area artists, as well as a few from abroad.

I was not able to attend, but I can imagine the show was quite impressive. It would come as no surprise, as both co-founders have previous gallery experience; Law interned at a gallery, providing her with framing knowledge and hanging techniques; while Garcia has had a studio and showcase at 1111 Godfrey.

Galleries Galore

Con Artist Crew hopes to continue having shows and featuring artists from the area and abroad. They also have future plans and shows with the city of Detroit. Their aim is to host or curate shows and events at their space between 3 and 4 times a month. With that said, you should have plenty of chances to see their work, their style, their studio, and the many artists they're endorsing. They say of this, "We are open to all themes and styles of artwork, including high conceptual art to visual arts. We are looking for harder-edge work that relates to audiences on more than just one level."

We are looking for harder-edge work that relates to audiences on more than just one level." – Con Artist Crew  

We are looking for harder-edge work that relates to audiences on more than just one level." – Con Artist Crew

 

They work both alone and in conjunction with many local groups, organizations, and causes alike. Their shows are examples of the character the Con Artist Crew is demonstrating. And they're curated down to the last detail. On the 19th of May, they contributed to a special show at the Winchester, along with Spectrum Health, titled Reprint - Causing Artistic Creation. It featured work by artists from a continuing care center. What's more, is that even the menu was tailor-made for the show.

The Crew's summer schedule reveals scores of shows, many of which are still being developed or finalized. All of them seem to carry a true sense of grass roots initiative. And, as a result, the community will play a large role in the outcome of these shows. Though, while maintaining this word-of-mouth mysteriousness, Con Artist Crew also hopes to expand its digital and online presence.

Con Artist Crew co-founders, Magdalene Law and Reuben Garcia

Con Artist Crew co-founders, Magdalene Law and Reuben Garcia

But the Crew promotes and supports more than just their shows; they also lease studio spaces, and have already leased five. The group is still finishing construction on the gallery and studio spaces. Once that's complete, they intend to concentrate on shows. Con Artist Crew is establishing a strong presence within the Grand Rapids art community. They've even mentioned taking shows "on the road" in the future. Sunday they completed a photo shoot, and will be featured in July's issue of Grand Rapids Magazine. Best of luck to Con Artist Crew.