ADA, MI — Local children who have ever wanted to give advice to adults will get the opportunity to do just that in an artistic way through a program and exhibition slated for the spring and summer of 2022 in and around downtown Ada. Square Peg Events, LLC, in collaboration with Ada Business Association (ABA) and Kent District Library (KDL), presents Story StROLL Ada, a wheelchair-accessible art path through downtown Ada featuring 2-dimensional artworks — such as drawings, paintings or similar creations — by area children around the theme of “What advice would you give to an adult?”
“Story StROLL will be an accessible art exhibition bringing original children’s art and new conversations to Ada while showcasing our newly expanded and renovated downtown and connecting local businesses to the community,” said ABA Executive Director Kim Rantala. “It will also give local children the opportunity to have their art displayed and potentially viewed by thousands of people, which is pretty exciting.”
For the project, all area children up to age 18 are invited to submit artworks around the theme of what advice they would give to adults, if they could. In May, Cynthia Hagedorn, local artist and Square Peg Events executive producer, in collaboration with KDL’s Amy Van Andel Library, will produce and facilitate a series of “Drawing pARTies” to help guide participating children through the process of creating their art. From these works and others submitted, around 20 to 30 pieces will be selected and paired with businesses throughout downtown Ada for display during the summer months.
“Downtown Ada has gone through an amazing transformation,” Rantala said. “Story StROLL, in addition to creating an accessible and culturally invigorating event, will provide a family-friendly destination and encourage visitors to revisit favorite establishments and see what’s fresh and exciting with our new and expanded restaurants and locally owned businesses.”
Hagedorn said the idea for Story StROLL grew from her experiences working with specially challenged children and adults through her popular Care on Canvas program. “Working with Mary Free Bed [Rehabilitation Hospital in Grand Rapids] has been an eye-opening experience for me in terms of the importance of bringing art to everyone, so I wanted Story StROLL to be as accessible as possible, so people can stroll or roll through it and experience it at their leisure, on their own timetable,” she said.
With the idea that the individually created artworks would create a series of moments as spectators make their way through the sequence of artworks — rather like a compilation book of single-panel comics — Kent District Library seemed like a natural fit to host the Drawing pARTies where children can create their work under Hagedorn’s direction and guidance.
“The Amy Van Andel Library is thrilled to be participating in this project,” said KDL Regional Manager Scott Ninemeier. “We know first-hand how inspiring the children in this community are and look forward to seeing their art and ideas on display. It will be especially exciting to see the artists collaborating with Cynthia and each other during the Drawing pARTies.”
Two Story StROLL Ada Drawing pARTies are currently slated for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday, May 10, and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 21 (to coincide with Grand Rapids Children’s Business Fair), at Amy Van Andel Library, 7215 Headley Street SE in Ada. In the coming weeks, any additional businesses hosting official Drawing pARTies with Hagedorn and/or their own informal drawing workshops will be announced. Art submission forms and instructions will be available at official Story StROLL Ada Drawing pARTies, beginning in May. Opening Night of Story StROLL Ada will take place on Friday, July 22, in downtown Ada.
Hagedorn said the idea of having children offer advice to adults also sprang from her recent and ongoing work with area children. “I wanted to explore a theme in which kids would come up with the ideas, because we can learn so much from them. Children always inspire me when I’m working with them to create art. I realized that this is what we need, because children are, by nature, always happy, regardless of their situations. Adults need to listen more to kids,” she said.
ABA Mission Statement: The Ada Business Association (ABA) is a non-profit organization, focused on actively supporting businesses in the Ada Community. The ABA provides opportunities for connection, learning, collaboration and growth, by engaging its members in community activities and experiences.
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Cascade Community Foundation is a proud sponsor of the Ada Business Association.