Arts & Entertainment

John Ball Zoo – It’s not your childhood Zoo!

September 19, 2013 // 0 Comments

People tend to think of a visit to the Zoo as a summertime activity, but the fall is an excellent time to visit too! For one thing, beginning September 16, John Ball Zoo admission is reduced to $5.00 for adults, and $4.00 for kids. Children two and under are always free. In the cooler fall months, animals are far more active. There’s fewer people so you’ll be able to get up-close-and-personal with the animals, and zookeepers have a little more time to chat and share some insider info. The very first thing you should do before you visit the Zoo is go to the Zoo’s website and click on “Visitor’s Guide” and then “Daily Programs” New this year, the Zoo started to bring the behind-the-scenes animal care to the front of the exhibit for visitors to see and sometimes even participate in. It’s fascinating, cute, educational and just plain amazing! Take for example bear training. If you haven’t seen a grizzly up on its hind legs, you’re in for a eye-popping treat. Then there’s the “entertainers” of the Zoo, the Colobus monkeys. These smart little primates will run thru a list of training behaviors like pros and the female doesn’t even miss a beat with her new baby clinging to her chest! The zookeepers offer these training demonstrations not as a ‘show’, but as a necessary part of animal care in Zoos. If a keeper suspects a wound on a bear foot, they need to be able to examine it without immobilizing the animal. Each day is different but all these new zoo offerings are listed in the DAILY PROGRAMS section of the Zoo website – OR – if you have a smart phone – you can download the new Zoo APP that includes an interactive map, schedule of events, and descriptions of the exhibits. It’s available for I-phone on I-tunes or for Android at Google Play. It’s free. If you haven’t been to the Zoo in the last couple years, you really must explore it. Did you know that two years ago the Zoo nearly doubled its footprint??? There’s an entirely new area, the Forest Realm, which will be the location of a new tiger exhibit in 2014. Right now the area offers […]

Five Rockford artists with entries in ArtPrize 2013

September 19, 2013 // 0 Comments

Five local artists have entries in one of the largest art shows in the nation this year. ArtPrize begins September 18, however artists have already begun installing works in an area covering three square miles of downtown Grand Rapids. This independently organized international art competition with an unprecedented $200,000 top prize decided by popular vote is all free and open to the public. Five members of the Rogue River Artists Association have entries in the event this year; Shirley Dean, Linda Bassford, LeAnne Sowa, Brad Nielsen and Mary Myszka. All have entered the competition in the past. Shirley Dean’s acrylic painting “Misty Morning” depicts two horses enjoying a drink along a section of the Rogue River. It will be showing at the First Community Bank at 60 Monroe Center.   “Cooper”, the 115 pound Bernese Mountain Dog mascot of a northern Michigan winery, is the subject of Linda Bassford’s oil painting.. Bassford will also be showing at the First Community Bank at 60 Monroe Street. LeAnne Sowa is continuing the story of her Moose paintings. Sowa’s new painting is called “Moose Rapids”.  This watercolor, 7 feet by 9-1/2 feet, is made of 9 separate panels. The idea came after her Moose in the bathtub work from last year and deciding to do another “moose” type adventure. Sowa says, “I hope it makes people smile!” Her work is being shown at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. “A Pilgrimage to Israel” is a collection of work by Brad Nielsen resulting from a recent family trip. His photograph “Devotion” is one piece from that collection which shows a monk serenely standing in the sunlight filtering through the windows of the Grotto of the Nativity. His work is showing at the Women’s City Club. Mary Myszka, President of the Rogue River Artists Association, has entered her acrylic painting, “Fluxus” which won 4th prize at the West Michigan Regional Art Competition this year. Fluxus means “to flow” and is an example of her highly original abstracted and colorful style. Myszka’s work will be showing at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. More information on these artists and the entire ArtPrize event can be found on their website: The Rogue River Artists Association has enjoyed a surge in membership this year as a local non-profit […]

RHS Arts Student of the Week, Lyssa Daniels

September 19, 2013 // 0 Comments

This week’s RHS Arts Student of the Week is Senior Lyssa Daniels, nominated by theater teacher Kaelynn VanBuren. In nominating Daniels, VanBuren says, “During our summer stock production of Urinetown, Lyssa really found a new level of creativity. As her teacher and director I was impressed by her growth and commitment.” An arts lover, Daniels participates in choir (Advanced Women’s Ensemble) and takes piano lessons in addition to acting. Crediting her teacher, she says “Miss VanBuren has been an indescribably extraordinary mentor for me and many others. She challenges all her students in a way that applies perfectly to each student individually.” She continues, “The arts have helped me find many new relationships with wonderful people. It has created a home-like feeling for me at school and taught me things about myself that I never would have expected.” VanBuren passes the credit back to Daniels, saying “Lyssa always gives 110%. She leads by a quiet, focused example. She rises to every challenge, creating wonderful characters. She is the exact type of student that directors love to work with.” Daniels hopes to pursue a career in music education or musical theater. RHS Arts Student of the Week is a new initiative being spearheaded by the arts faculty at Rockford High School.  

Third annual Labor Day Duathlon off and running

August 29, 2013 // 0 Comments

By John Hogan Duathlon fever is starting to grip the normally quiet Village of Cannonsburg as preparations hit full-stride for the third annual Labor Day event. “I’ve never been in a Duathlon, but it’s what a lot of people are talking about,” said Dave Kaechele, co-host of morning radio’s Andy & Dave show on WFGR 98.7-FM. “Absolutely,” agreed Andy O’Riley, a Sparta native who hosts the morning show on the classic rock station. “People are talking about the race – and the car, of course.” The car is a yellow, 1979 Mercedes Benz 450-SL convertible to be given away as part of WFGR’s “98 Days of Summer” promotional campaign. O’Riley and Kaechele were broadcasting live in the parking lot of The Gristmill Thursday, Aug. 22 with the car parked nearby. Although the car raffle had nothing to do with the Sept. 2 Duathlon, questions kept coming. “People asked ‘are you running on Labor Day?’ I told them I’ll be providing moral support from my couch,” laughed Kaechele, who co-hosts the radio morning show and provides traffic updates for WZZM 13 morning news. “This race must be a popular event.” Popular indeed. The Honey Creek Duathlon charity event, which benefits North Kent Community Services and The Kids’ Food Basket, has seen participation grow more than 50 percent since its debut in 2011. This year’s race gets underway 9:30 a.m. but it’s really an all-day party celebrating the end of summer, organizer Don Kurylowicz said. If you can ride a bike, walk or run, you can participate in the Duathlon, which consists of a running leg, followed by a cycling leg and concluding with another running portion similar in format to triathlons. Participants cover slightly more than 18 miles on foot and on bike through one of Kent County’s most beautiful areas, including Townsend Park. “Our goal is to surpass the 150 participants we had for last year’s race,” Kurylowicz said. “As of now, we’re on track to exceed our goal. “I’m hoping people understand there’s the Duathlon – a paid event, but the after party with food, bands and beer is open to the public whether you ran the race or not,” he added. The post-race celebration is a carrot at the end of the stick. […]

Annual Art In The Park event scheduled for Saturday September 7

August 29, 2013 // 0 Comments

Crowds of art-lovers will once again line the banks of the Rogue River for the 2013 Art In The Park event from 9 am to 5 pm on Saturday, September 7, hosted by the Rockford Area Arts Commission. Under the white tent canopies, visitors will find original paintings, pottery, sculpture, photography, pastels, jewelry, glassware and more offered by the 40 plus artists participating in the event. Artists and booths will be judged during the event with plaques awarded in several categories including” Best in Show”. The extensive array of visual art will be accompanied by musical entertainment performing in the pavilion of Garden Club Park. Ryan DeVries, Event Chair and member of the Rockford Area Arts Commission, said, “We’re welcoming the New Revival Jazz Band for the first time at 11:00 am, followed by Gordon Proulx and his brothers – a festival favorite – at noon. Wrapping up at 1:00 pm is local Karli Morehouse. Whether you’re interested in visual art or performance art, this festival has something for everyone.” Local Rogue River Artists Association will be onsite with four tents at the north end of Rockford’s Garden Club Park exhibiting and selling work by numerous members, handing out literature on upcoming events and generally being available to answer questions and provide information. More information can be found on the Rockford Area Arts Commission website  

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