Unpainted figurines and pottery pieces stand in single-file lines on the pine shelves of Haze Ceramics and More, patiently waiting for guests to brandish paint-dipped brushes and embellish their blank surfaces with artistry. The studio's instructors lead classes and special events throughout the week, demonstrating techniques for mixing colors and achieving a variety of smooth or grainy textures. Aside from giving children and adults the chance to select a ceramic coffee mug, coin tray, or spiked mace from the studio’s expansive collection, classes include all glazes, paints, and firing fees. Special events, such as ladies' night, fuel outbursts of creativity with wine and snacks, and private parties clear out the room so that birthday boys and girls can gleefully bash away at terra-cotta piñatas.
Geology guru Bill Rotay stocks The Golden Apple's shelves with sterling silver and semiprecious-gemstone jewelry, drawing from his University of Michigan degree and lifelong adoration of sparkling baubles. The shop's name alludes to the Greek myth that amber was harvested from the garden of Hesperides, where immortality-bestowing golden apples grew. Over the course of more than a decade, the store's original, predominantly amber, inventory blossomed to include a collection of Chinese freshwater pearls, sterling silver, and gemstones from Thailand, Mexico, Bali, and India. The Golden Apple also peddles a variety of mineral rocks and pottery, as well as fossils of ancient organisms and Betamax tapes.
One hundred fifty years in the making, the permanent collection at the University of Michigan Museum of Art now totals more than 19,000 pieces. Displayed throughout the museum's galleries, those collected masterpieces include canvases by Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso, as well as a 1638 self-portrait by Rembrandt. Far from a narrow representation of the art world, the museum asks questions about the global nature of art by juxtaposing the aforementioned artists alongside African work, Indian bronzes, and Chinese ceramics.
After exploring the museum's permanent and special exhibitions, visitors can decompress at the DialogTable. Not only does the interactive table show guests films about the art they've seen, but it can also answer the age-old question "what is being a table like?" To supplement its exhibits, the museum hosts numerous programs and events every year, ranging from student programming and a reading series to artist talks and art-making workshops. The artistic attractions even spill through the museum doors with seven sculptures surrounding the building.
Founded by local civic leaders in 1854, the Grand Rapids Public Museum continues to keep the city’s history alive in the minds of its current residents with a promise in it mission statement and a trove of exhibits that explore West Michigan’s natural and cultural past. Current exhibits and standing collections cast a spotlight on past and future centuries, giving voice to the stories that helped shape our modern world while speculating about when our politicians will be finally replaced with robots. If visitors to the three-story Van Andel Museum Center can pry their eyes away from the exhibitions inside, they will be treated to stunning views of the downtown skyline; similarly, the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium enthralls with its panoramic photographs and up-close looks at the night sky.
Just as history constantly replenishes itself, the Grand Rapids Public Museum never stops working to collect local treasures, educate members through camps and special programs, and develop projects for the future.
From the air, the pathways at Country Corn Maze come together to create detailed images of cows, stock cars, tractors, monuments, presidents, and various other American icons. From the ground, though, they seem to wind endlessly without any sense of reason, providing adventurers with acres of maze to lose themselves in.
Each year, the Martindale family collaborates with Maze Play Inc., which uses computer-aided design software and GPS-directed tractors to carve out intricate pieces of art. The Martindales’ life on the farm and the culture of the rural Corunna countryside inspire the shapes of their mazes, which can range from a pictures of a farmstead to an homage to the firefighters of 9/11. After construction is complete and the maze walls have grown to the proper height, they invite guests to explore the 5-foot-wide pathways during the day or at night by flashlight. To keep patrons energized while they wander the corn labyrinth, Country Corn Maze also provides seasonal produce and concessions in its 1900s-era barn, from warm donuts to cups of hot organic cider or cocoa.
Engines start to roar, propellers spin, and a large parachute expands into the sky, carrying a light aircraft and its passengers toward the clouds. Silver Lining Aviation's certified instructors create adventures like this every day as they teach visitors to soar behind the controls of sport aircrafts such as powered parachutes, weight-shift trikes, and gyroplanes. Led by licensed FAA flight instructor Craig Ewing, Silver Lining's team takes prospective pilots on introductory flights that allow them to experience aircrafts such as the Airwolf 912 and nibble on different flavors of clouds. The aviation experts also sell sport aircrafts, which patiently wait onsite as customers work through custom ground- and flight-training programs. In most cases, the flight instructors prepare their pupils for aerial navigation in as little as two weeks. They also assist new pilots with replacement parts, provide 24/7 support, and cook oil soup to feed hungry aircraft.
The Bogey Golf Tour grants golfers a chance to take to the links and compete against fellow amateurs in tournaments scheduled at some of the finest courses in the London, Windsor, Detroit, and Kitchener/Waterloo areas. At each event, scratch golfers compete in the Birdie division, 0–15 handicaps square off in the Par division, and 16+ handicappers trade pinpoint approaches and sequined divot tools in the Bogey division. The top five finishers in each division receive prize money—which can be paid out in gift certificates or cash—and the Tour also holds prize competitions for longest drive, closest to the pin, and 3-iron jousting. The Tour publishes the results from each tournament in local newspapers, and players can chart the peaks and valleys of their careers on the Tour Members list, which compiles all of their tournament results. Along with providing an outlet for amateur golfers to exercise their long-suppressed competitive side, the Tour and its sponsors have raised $74,000 for various area charities since 2003.