The City of Grand Ledge was awarded an exciting opportunity to add another piece of public art to the already vibrant landscape in our community. Grand Ledge was one of three recipients of a $10,000 Public Art Grant to commission and install a new piece of public art for year-round display. This project was made possible by a grant from the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) with support from the PNC Foundation.
The Commons is a beautifully landscaped area nestled between the historic Grand Ledge Opera House and the Grand River. This setting provides a picturesque showcase for the unique metal sculpture, “All Things”, created by the nationally recognized sculptor and West Michigan native, Johnny Blue. All Things was donated to the Opera House in 2005 by students at the local art cooperative, Ledge Craft Lane. The art students produced and sold a book of recipes and original paintings earning $10,000 to purchase the sculpture and promote art in Grand Ledge.
Throughout the centuries, art and music have served as a reflection of our culture. In early 2014, the City of Grand Ledge Downtown Development Authority (DDA) purchased 4 metal sculptures created by Michigan artist, Robert Barnum that link the synergy between music and art. The DDA and the Grand Ledge Chamber of Commerce held a contest to name the sculptures and by mid-2014, the newly named, “Bridge Street Four” were placed prominently within Bridge Street Plaza. The Bridge Street Four mix well with the multitude of events held at Bridge Street Plaza, including; Music in the Park, Grand Ledge Farmer’s Market, and Movies in the Park.
The sculpture titled, “Growing Progress” was created by Michigan artist, Thomas Sheerin and is made entirely of repurposed metal. You can find the sculpture on the corner of West Jefferson and Harrison Streets in downtown Grand Ledge. The inspiration for the sculpture was to honor the Huhn family and their legacy in Grand Ledge from farming to selling Chevrolets. In 1919, Leo Huhn broke from the family’s agriculture roots and opened a Chevrolet dealership in Grand Ledge. Standing 10 feet tall and 11 feet in length, the base of “Growing Progress” represents a plowshare transforming into a wheat crop to pay homage to the Huhn’s family beginning as immigrants whose livelihood was based in agriculture. The top of the sculpture represents an eagle/jet-shaped hood ornament similar to a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air and signifies the country post WWII, strong and growing into the Jet Age. The entire sculpture signifies that after years of war and depression, the country is looking up.
In 2004, artist Tony Hendrick invited the community to aid in the design and painting of a mural depicting highlights in the City of Grand Ledge, both past and present. The end result is a colorful 58 x 26-foot true work of art affixed to the side of the City’s former 1855 Fire Hall. Here, the mural is proudly displayed above Fitzgerald Field and is easily viewed from the City’s Riverwalk Trail connecting Island Park and Jaycee Park, as well as from Bridge Street that spans across the Grand River.
The mural was funded with a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the City of Grand Ledge.
“The Ledges” sculpture depicts the awe-inspiring and unique sandstone ledges that occur naturally in Grand Ledge. Installed in 2015, The Ledges sculpture stands nearly 18-feet tall and is 9-feet wide. The climber affixed to the side of the sculpture recognizes the residents and visitors that frequent nearby Oak Park to admire and climb the ledges.
Located at Riverfront Park, The Ledges sculpture is centrally located in downtown Grand Ledge overlooking the Grand River. The Ledges serves as a reminder of the many beautiful parks and unique recreational opportunities available within Grand Ledge. The Ledges was funded through a partnership with the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) and the City of Grand Ledge.
In 1938 James Calder painted the oil-on-canvas mural "Waiting for the Mail." The colorful mural hangs above the Postmaster door in the historic Grand Ledge Post Office. It is said that Culder's mural is the ideal portrayal of the American family after the New Deal was sealed. It was a time when Henry Ford had done the impossible connecting the agricultural world with the urban landscape; creating a new and exciting time for both industries. The mural depicts the interdependence between our nations farmers, and the manufacturing and transportation industries.