A big boring blank wall in the Heartside neighborhood of Downtown Grand Rapids has begun receiving a dramatic facelift. 

Poland-based artist Natalia Rak is painting the south-facing wall of the Richmond Stamp Works building at 26 Ionia Ave SW. 

Natalia Rak is an internationally-recognized mural artist, painter, and illustrator who has created public art in Poland, Austria, Germany, France, and the United States. She is perhaps best known for her mural “The Legend of the Giant,” in Bialystok, Poland. Rak’s work often combines allegories, narrative storytelling, nature, and portraiture in vivid, deeply saturated colors

Day 1 of Painting
Day 1 of Painting

The mural is organized by the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts, Michigan’s largest contemporary, in partnership with Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. and Grand Rapids Sister Cities International - as Bielsko-Biala, Poland, and Grand Rapids, MI are Sister Cities.

The project is funded by a grant from the Grand Rapids Downtown Development Authority.

Work is expected to wrap later in July and a ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for July 23, 2019, from 5:00 - 6:00 PM. 

The public is invited to attend, free of charge, and view the finished work, as well as enjoy Polish-inspired refreshments and snacks. 

Click here to learn more about this project, the artist and UICA’s excellent public art initiative the Exit Space Project, which has delivered 15 public artworks to West Michigan - five of which are in Downtown Grand Rapids.

Day 2 of Painting
Day 2 of Painting