Grand Rapids Magazine February 2021

Page 12

Members of the DAAC's core committee, (pictured left to right) Alison Christensen, Sam Kubiak, Sal Moreno, Kyle Brand and Charity Lytle, stand outside the new building that will house the organization.

ISSUES

The DAAC is back GR art collective reopens in Creston neighborhood. BY SAMANTHA SUAREZ

// PHOTOS BY DAVID SPARKS

After many years of closure, the Division Avenue Arts Collective (DAAC) will reopen at its new permanent location, 1553 Plainfield Ave. NE, in the funky Creston neighborhood. For nearly 10 years since 2003, the volunteer-run institution served as a substance-free, all-ages venue for music, visual art, exhibitions and community meetings without the pressure to make a profit. “We try to represent folks who don’t have an opportunity to get out there because they’re just starting out or aren’t established yet,” said Sal Moreno, core committee member of the DAAC. “If you’re a musician, it’s a venue for your performance. If you’re an artist, it’s a space for your gallery. If you’re hosting a meeting or a gathering and need access to tables, chairs and snacks, it’s available to you at a low cost.” Its goal was to provide truly accessible space for local, independent and up-and-coming creatives to experiment with artistic expression regardless of their age or circumstance. “Grand Rapids has so many art schools and colleges around. The DAAC gives folks the opportunity to have their first exhibitions without having to get into a more traditional gallery space,” said Alison Christensen, another DAAC core committee member. “We still talk about the shows we had at the DAAC back in 2007. Having those experiences for the first time as a young adult really sticks with you and we want others to have those experiences too. It’s 10

GRAND RAPIDS MAGAZINE / FEBRUARY 2021

“The DAAC gives folks the opportunity to have their first exhibitions without having to get into a more traditional gallery space.” Alison Christensen

important for younger artists to have a space where they feel respected for their ideas and feel empowered to put a show together and learn without worrying that they’ll be judged. Everyone is here to help you.” The DAAC’s influence on Grand Rapids’ creative scene is so central that many of the collective’s core committee members were once also young artists that used the space. “I played my first show with my band at the DAAC,” said Charity Lytle, DAAC core committee member. “It was cool that we didn’t have to bring our own P.A. system or worry about mics and lighting. The DAAC provides that for you, as well as the volunteers that run the equipment.” Much to the creative community’s dismay, the DAAC was displaced from its Division Avenue location in 2013 due to new building ownership. It reopened temporarily in 2016 at 333 Rumsey St. SW. Since then, the group searched for a