Straight Street at Wealthy 2015

At the Plum Grove

December 9, 2015

Civic Studio presented AT THE PLUM GROVE, an exhibition at 336 Straight St, on Friday, December 11, 2015. The exhibit emerged from multiple studio inquiries and took form around the studio's plum orchard research. Included were projects Cover the Land and Westown Scenarios. The project concluded with a Public Dialog about the Scenarios and Studio.

The plum grove is where we want to be.

Addressing multiple layers of historical context, AT THE PLUM GROVE, takes the history of a nearby Indigenous plum grove and mythologizes it into an idealized picture of what society could be, placing it in the context of the Westside. Concerns about looming gentrification, policy, and generational trauma press in on the Westside neighbors. Struck by both the geographical proximity of these two visions and the ideological conflict, AT THE PLUM GROVE highlights the tension, questioning who has a right to thrive in the Westside of Grand Rapids.

The plum grove calls to us, enticing us to partake. Inspired by the romantic notion presented by the grove, the exhibition aims to present concrete examples of a new public imaginary, staying tied to the here and now, confronted with the issues of Westside residents.

A closing discussion took place on Wednesday, December 16th from 4-5:50, reviewing the events that have taken place and critically examining the studio's presence. The discussion addressed the exhibition's responses to the question "Who thrives in Westown?"