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UICA members receive half-priced movie tickets, free gallery admission and discounts at local retailers and restaurants.

Gallery Admission Film Admission
Under Five
Location Hours
2 Fulton West
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
UICA is closed on University Holidays

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Contemporary Conversations

Contemporary Conversations

Learn more about West Michigan's creative workforce, neighboring cultural organizations, and about ways to engage with Grand Rapids' art-scene with interviews and guest features highlighting our local and regional community members.



Local Artist Feature: Ashley Trieu

Ashley Trieu is the founder of Iconoclasp, a handmade women’s apparel shop based in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Ashley created Iconoclasp as a way to share her love of vintage with fellow retro-lovers.  Selling vintage eventually developed into making original handmade items and she has been exploring the world of fashion design ever since.  Outside of fashion she is interested in psychology, music, and retro-gaming.  In her spare time she enjoys reading missed connections and karaoke.

⟶ Learn more.

Local Artist Feature: Vanessa Autumn

Vanessa Autumn is a self-taught, visual artist and naturalist. She enjoys long walks on the beach (actually), getting lost in the woods, traveling and being immersed in new places, and a life revolving around food (growing it, foraging it, cooking it, eating it, sharing it).

⟶ Learn more.


Creative Mornings Feature

Creative Mornings is a breakfast lecture series for the creative community of Grand Rapids and West Michigan, and part of a larger global network of 170 chapters, started in 2008 by Tina Roth Eisenberg (aka @swissmiss). Creative Morning events are once a month—usually the third or fourth Friday—and  feature a different creative person based on the chosen theme.

⟶ Learn more.


Local Artist Feature: Eana Agopian

Eana Agopian, a recent graduate of Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, is currently exhibiting her work at UICA. Agopian is UICA's 2016 Fresh Pick award winner. The designation is given annually to a member of KCAD’s graduating class who shows a high level of talent and potential. We interviewed the artist to learn more about her work, inspiration, and the West Michigan art scene. Fresh Pick: Eana Agopian is on view Apr 8 – Aug 6, 2017 at UICA.

⟶ Learn more.

Regional Artist Feature: Ellen Rutt

Ellen Rutt is a multi-disciplinary artist and designer living and working in Detroit, MI. Rutt makes bold, mixed-media paintings and murals and is interested in the visual and tactile nature of our existence - how we as as humans interact with the shapes, colors, textures that surround us everyday.

⟶ Learn more.

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Local Artist Feature: Sofía Ramirez Hernandez

Sofía Ramirez Hernandez shares her non-negotiable daily drawing practice on social media platforms in hopes of inspiring others to open up or feel less alone. Practicing since the age of two, Sofía painted, drew, and wrote her way to Grand Rapids, where she received a BFA in Drawing, Printmaking, and Painting from Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University. We chatted with the artist to learn more about what makes her so prolific, what inspires her, and what's on the horizon.

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Local Artist Feature: Esan Sommersell

For Esan Sommersell, making is living. In a world where it's become increasingly difficult to discern fact from fiction, Sommersell's paintings remind us that what we see, hear, touch, and taste cannot be separated from what we feel. With bold forms and surreal color palettes taken from the landscape of lucid dreams, his work is an affirmation of humankind's innate desire to create, to mold, to touch the raw nerve of experience and discover for ourselves what it means to be alive. 

⟶ Learn more.