The finished piece was installed in 1969, in a public plaza surrounded by new city and county buildings. The space quickly became known as Calder Plaza – and the sculpture itself became a symbol of the city’s artistic spirit.
Calder Plaza during Festival of the Arts
La Grande Vitesse turns 50 in 2019 – and Grand Rapids is celebrating the golden anniversary by reimagining Calder Plaza. In 2017, the city launched a collaborative community process aimed at making the space around La Grande Vitesse even more inviting and comfortable for people to use every day.
Phase 1 of this project, to include the construction of a new café and stage/pavilion, is set to occur in 2019. Future phases will add a splash pad water feature, new landscaping, access ramps, staircases and a pedestrian bridge – all designed to renew Calder Plaza’s prominence as the city’s town square.
La Grande Vitesse inspired a vibrant public art movement – starting with the very first Festival of the Arts in June of 1969. It’s Grand Rapids’ biggest street party of the year … and it’s all about bringing people together to celebrate artistic expression. Want to learn more about how it all started? Check out the video below!