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Ride The Rapid To Special Events Throughout September 2018

Ride The Rapid to events throughout September

While summer may be coming to an end in September, we get to welcome fall with a variety of activities! Take in the gorgeous autumn weather while riding to events throughout Grand Rapids. If you’re planning your next date night or looking for a fun family outing there’s plenty for everyone to enjoy.


Hosted by the West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC), the 15th Annual Mayor’s Grand River Cleanup is on Sept. 8! The event takes place at 6th Street Park in Grand Rapids and goes from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Lunch and a beer garden supplied by Founders Brewing Co. follow the cleanup and there will be live music by Dunegrass. All volunteers welcome!

Register here:

Routes: 7


Feeling spicy? The Grand Rapids Public Museum is hosting this culinary workshop on Sept. 8 at 11 am. This class will provide instruction on how to make salsa and hot sauce harvested fresh from Urban Roots Community Farm. Workshops are open to 20 participants each month and tickets are $12 for the general public and $4 for Museum members.

Routes: 7, 9, 12, 50  

Vintage Street Market

Shop at Grand Rapids’ only vintage market! On Sept.  9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the Downtown Market is hosting a free day of vintage shopping. From clothes to furniture, the antique options are endless!

Routes: 1, 2, 5, Silver Line


On Saturday, Sept. 14, join in on the silent dance party at the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM). Guests wear headphones to listen to cool tunes from COMPLETE VII, DJ Monica Parke, and DJ Slim Tim. The event begins at 9 p.m. and ends at 11:45 p.m. Admission is  $10 for GRAM members, $15 to the public in advance, and $20 at the door. Ages 21+ only. Buy your tickets here.

Routes: 6, 9, 11, 13, 50, Silver Line


Kentwood End of Summer Food Truck Festival is celebrating its third anniversary. The event features beer, live music and 30 food trucks. On Sept. 15, the Kentwood Library is hosting this free event. Join in the fun and bring the whole family.

Routes: 2, 44


It’s that time again. Everything kicks off on Sept. 19 at Rosa Parks Circle with the ArtPrize 10 Opening Ceremony. This 19-day festival features installations from artists all over the world. Explore various venues and exhibitions downtown until Oct. 7.  ArtPrize is free and open to the public.

Routes: 6, 9, 11, 13, 50, Silver Line

Healthy Body Healthy Mind 5K

This 5K is free for all Grand Rapids area families. This is the perfect opportunity to celebrate health and wellness in the community. The event includes a run/walk through the beautiful Riverside Park on Saturday, Sept. 22 from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Healthy food options will be available for purchase afterward from local food trucks. Children are encouraged to attend.

Routes: 13


The best place to find artisan gifts, local treats and Michigan made and grown goodies. This free marketplace takes place on Saturday, Sept. 22 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Downtown Market.

Routes: 1, 2, 5, Silver Line


On Sept. 30 at 12 p.m. head to the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum with your children for some fun activities. This free festival will feature painting, sculpting, drawing, and live performances. ArtFest takes place during ArtPrize so families can enjoy the displays while they create.

Routes: 1, 4, 6, 13, 14, 15


Celebrate GR College Week this year on Sept. 10 – 16. The city of Grand Rapids is encouraging students to explore the Downtown area and enjoy special events and college rates at local attractions, restaurants, and businesses!

Plan your trip to get to these various events!

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Cities with Higher Public Transit Use Have Lower Traffic Fatalities

Full bus

Metropolitan areas with higher public transportation use – among modes such as heavy rail, light rail, frequent bus service and commuter rail – can cut their traffic fatality rate up to 40 percent, according to an analysis released today by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and the Vision Zero Network.

The analysis, Public Transit is a Key Strategy in Advancing Vision Zero and Eliminating Traffic Fatalities, shows that metro areas with higher public transportation use have lower traffic fatality rates.  Specifically, metro areas with frequent public transit use of more than 40 annual transit trips per capita, have up to 40 percent of the traffic fatality rate of metro areas with fewer than 20 transit trips per capita.

“One of the most powerful traffic safety tools a city can employ to eliminate deaths and injuries due to road traffic crashes is its public transportation system,” said APTA President and CEO Paul P. Skoutelas.  “It takes just a modest increase in public transit use to result in a dramatic decrease in traffic fatalities.”

Metro areas that move from 20 annual public transit trips to 40 per capita represent a modest increase in public transit mode share but can provide disproportionally larger traffic safety benefits, according to the analysis.  On average, this increase would translate to people taking just two additional public transit trips per month.

“Every day 100 people die due to traffic crashes on America’s roads, and increasingly communities are committing to Vision Zero because they believe that everyone deserves to be safe on our streets,” said Leah Shahum, Founder and Director of the Vision Zero Network.  “Investing in strong public transit systems helps communities improve safety for everyone on the roads.  For too long, we have undervalued the significant safety benefits of robust public transit networks, so we look forward to stepping up cooperation to grow public transit and safety together.”

The analysis of this most recent data shows that for individuals public transportation continues to be one of the safest ways to travel. It is ten times safer per mile than traveling by car.

Public transportation modes that serve longer trips can help reduce total vehicle miles traveled and provide safety benefits to users, according to the study.  For instance, traveling by commuter and intercity rail is 18 times safer for passengers (measuring fatalities) than traveling by auto.  Public transit benefits even people who do not use it and are otherwise safe drivers because it helps reduce the risk of being the victim of other drivers’ mistakes, according to the analysis.

The study highlights that a robust public transit system creates these life-saving benefits because it provides for a greater mode shift from the auto to safer travel on public transit; an alternative for high-risk and vulnerable road users; and compact development which provides for lower and safer traffic speeds.

The latest data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there were 37,461 deaths due to automobile traffic crashes in 2016.  This is a 5.6 percent increase from the previous year.  In addition, these auto traffic deaths cost the nation $871 billion per year.

“It is essential our elected leaders on all levels continue to provide strong investments in public transportation because of its extensive traffic safety benefits,” said Skoutelas.  “We are partnering with the Vision Zero Network to encourage city leaders, public transit and traffic safety professionals to collaborate and leverage the use of their public transit systems to move towards the goal of zero deaths and injuries on our roadways.”

This analysis is based on the methods used in the APTA research publication The Hidden Traffic Safety Solution: Public Transportation. APTA is pleased to partner with the Vision Zero Network to share promising strategies for greater coordination and cooperation between public transit professionals, Vision Zero proponents, and others interested in safe mobility for all.

For more information, go to

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Grand Rapids leaders celebrate kickoff of fare-free Route 19 bus service along Michigan Street

Route 19

City leaders today kicked off a three-year pilot program partnership with the Interurban Transit Partnership (The Rapid) and Spectrum Health that improves bus service by offering fare-free rides to help reduce traffic and ease parking congestion along the Michigan Street corridor, one of Grand Rapids’ most heavily traveled routes.

“We recognize that as the Grand Rapids community grows, it’s vital for our city planning and transit systems to adapt to the changing needs of users, including city residents and downtown-area employees,” Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said during a news conference at Rosa Parks Circle.

The Rapid’s agreement with Spectrum Health and the City of Grand Rapids to help fund access to public transportation represents the first-of-its-kind public-private partnership since the City created what was then called the Grand Rapids Transit Authority in 1963.

“The Rapid’s new and improved Route 19 is a game changer for Grand Rapids,” said Andrew Johnson, the new CEO of The Rapid. “For people who live, work, study or enjoy relaxing near the Michigan Street corridor or want to travel fare-free on the DASH throughout downtown, the new Route 19 service is a fast and easy way to all of the places and activities that the Michigan Street corridor offers.”

The debut of free fares along the new and improved Route 19 – in combination with the City’s fare-free DASH service and City-sponsored fare-free portion of the Silver Line north of Wealthy Street – will provide free travel throughout downtown Grand Rapids without the hassle of parking. Another feature is the convenience of buses coming every 10 minutes on Michigan Street during peak afternoon and evening travel demand.

“This new Michigan Street corridor partnership will help Grand Rapids achieve its goal of providing safe and equitable service that connects people to jobs, promotes economic development in a vital business district and offers a first-class transit experience,” said Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) President and CEO Tim Kelly.

Route 19 runs along the Michigan Street corridor from Plymouth Street in northeast Grand Rapids and continues west along Heritage Hill and the Medical Mile to the City’s near West Side along Bridge Street up to Stocking Avenue.

The route includes stops near such anchor institutions as Spectrum Health, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Community College, Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine, Meijer’s soon-to-open Bridge Street Market and more than 50 additional popular, high-traffic destinations. Many of these businesses will offer special deals and discounts to patrons who simply mention the “Route 19 Discount” while at the establishment through Sept. 23. Details are available HERE.

More highlights of the Route 19 improvements include:

  • — Offering free fares by subsidizing service with approximately $293,000 in annual funding support each from Spectrum Health and the City’s Mobile GR and Parking Services Department. An awareness and education outreach effort will encourage Spectrum Health staff to use The Rapid to travel between offices and the medical center for meetings vs. driving personal vehicles.
  • — Expanding the service to operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday to better meet the needs of employees and students. Estimates suggest Route 19 ridership will grow from approximately 54 daily passengers to as many as 800 during the workweek. No weekend service is currently proposed.
  • — Increasing the frequency of The Rapid’s Route 19 service. Buses will arrive and depart at stops every 15 minutes from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. as well as from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. Buses will stop every 10 minutes during the afternoon and evening peak from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Grand Rapids is part of a national trend of businesses increasingly drawn to downtown environments where they can attract young talent. The Route 19 improvements are part of Grand Rapids’ broad strategy to alleviate parking congestion as more businesses and workers locate downtown.

“The new Route 19 will benefit the City’s parking customers by providing them more options,” said Josh Naramore, the City’s Mobile GR and Parking Services manager. “This partnership allows Michigan Street corridor employees and residents, for example, to connect with existing facilities that have capacity on the west side of the river.  That includes the Scribner Lot and Lots 7, 8 and 9, which have available monthly permit parking for $48 or daily parking ranging from $2 to $4. It also gives us the opportunity to pursue additional park-and-ride investments along the corridor to deliver more capacity and options.”

The City Commission’s decision to upgrade Route 19 service aligns with recommendations in the Michigan Street Corridor Plan. The report notes that even with four lanes in each direction, the Michigan Street path can move about 4,000 cars per day – a volume of traffic that is routinely exceeded at certain times of the day and occasionally poses hazards to emergency vehicle drivers’ ability get through the corridor due to gridlock and congestion. Projected development by 2035 predicts the corridor will have 15,000 daytime employees arriving and then leaving over two peak hours in addition to the creation of up to 10,000 new residential units.

City Commissioners Ruth Kelly and Joe Jones, who serve the city’s Second Ward that includes the Michigan Street corridor and Route 19, said they look forward to promoting the innovative public-private partnership with Mobile GR and The Rapid.

“The new Route 19 service will inspire people who have never previously considered public transportation and build acceptance of transit as a viable alternative for getting around Grand Rapids easily and efficiently,” Kelly said.

The plan also will help Grand Rapids develop lasting solutions to challenges, such as parking, while allowing for long-term growth along the entire Michigan Street corridor, Jones noted.

“This historic agreement will help create jobs and provide reliable transportation for both workers and people who live along the route,” Jones said. “It’s a major step forward in improving the quality of life in Grand Rapids.”

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DASH Improvements Bolster Downtown Grand Rapids’ Fare-Free Travel Experience

Better routes. Later hours. Always free!

City of Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss encourages everyone to hop on board DASH and enjoy a convenient, easy and free ride to where you need to go down in Downtown Grand Rapids.

On Monday, Aug. 27, the City of Grand Rapids’ DASH will begin rolling with expanded service featuring later hours, weekend rides and more convenient routes. The best part: It’s all free for riders!

The new operational hours for DASH West and North are:

  •  – Monday through Wednesday, 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. (expanded by a half-hour)
  •  – Thursday and Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. (three hours)
Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. (new service)
  •  – Thursday and Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. (three hours)
  •  – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. (new service)
  •  – Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (new service)

Destinations accessible via DASH routes:

DASH West serves the West Side, Monroe Center and Heartside. Ride DASH West ti David D. Hunting YMCA, Kendall College of Art & Design, Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, Van Andel Arena and Bridge Street Market.

DASH North serves Creston, City Center and Medical Mile. Hop on board to access DeVos Place, Downtown Market, Founders Brewing, Spectrum Health and Belknap Park.

You can’t miss the new bright pink buses traveling around Grand Rapids!

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Say Hello To Faster, Easier Fare Payment With The Wave

The Wave Ride The Rapid

The Wave arrived on Aug. 14, 2018. Have you had a chance to get your Wave card yet?

If you missed the buzz, The Wave is your new ticket to ride The Rapid! Say goodbye to dealing with paper tickets or fussing with cash and change. Your Wave card is a faster, easier and more convenient way to pay your fare. You can purchase your Wave card at Rapid Central Station or at

If you missed the buzz and are still wondering what The Wave is, we can help! The Rapid is the first Michigan public transportation agency to introduce this innovative e-fare payment system. We’re also one of the first in the nation to utilize a special technology called fare capping. Here are a few reasons why we’ve made the switch to e-fare:

1. The Wave is faster and easier than using a paper ticket or cash

Say goodbye to paper tickets or struggling to find the exact fare. With The Wave, you’ll simply need to touch your card to the reader every time you board or transfer. There will be Wave readers on every bus and at every Silver Line Station. This means faster boarding times and no fussing with the farebox.

2. It’s a pay-as-you-go system

When you ride The Rapid using your Wave card, you can get the savings of daily, weekly and monthly passes, but without the commitment or the upfront cost. You pay your way one trip at a time, and you’ll never pay for a trip you don’t take. The Wave will give you the best deal on your fare based on how much you ride. It’s a ‘pay-as-you-go’ pass: Earn a day pass after riding twice in one day, or a monthly pass after riding twice a day for 20 days.

In other words, once you’ve reached the cost of a monthly pass, you’ll receive unlimited rides for the rest of the 31-day period. So everyone gets the savings of a pass without the upfront cost.

3. Load value anywhere with the mobile-friendly website

Top off your account anywhere, anytime using or by visiting the Information Center at Rapid Central Station. You can also use the auto-load feature to add funds when your balance is low!

It’s simple. Once you add a payment method to your account, just choose the balance amount you want auto-load to kick in at and then select the amount you want to add to your Wave card.

4. Managing your card or your family member’s card is a breeze

You can quickly register your card and set up a funding source using our mobile-friendly website. Your Wave account allows you to manage multiple cards, see a history of your recent trips and transactions, and deactivate/reactivate a lost or stolen card. And don’t forget to set up auto-load, so you’re never stuck without fare.

Get your Wave card today and start tapping your way to savings!


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The City of Grand Rapids DASH offers expanded service hours and routes

DASH Shuttle in Grand Rapids

The City of Grand Rapids’ Downtown Area Shuttle – or DASH – will launch expanded service that features later hours, weekend rides and more convenient routes all for free and with a new look starting Monday, Aug. 27.

The weekend service is a first for the DASH, which has operated in downtown Grand Rapids for 20 years. Late-night rides also will be available, with service until 1 a.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Pickups are scheduled to take place every eight minutes during operational hours at multiple stops along two DASH routes: DASH West and DASH North. All routes will continue to be free and do not require a ticket or pass.

The changes are aimed at increasing ridership and accessibility, said Josh Naramore, manager of the City’s Mobile GR-Parking Services Department.

“With later hours and weekend service, the DASH becomes accessible to second-shift workers and more downtown visitors and residents,” Naramore said. “This makes it easier for people coming downtown for a night out or to run errands to park once and ride.”

The new operational hours for DASH West and North are:

  • — Monday through Wednesday, 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. (expanded by a half-hour)
  • — Thursday and Friday, 6:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. (three hours)
  • — Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. (new service)
  • — Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (new service)

Routes have been shifted and expanded slightly, and stops have been reconfigured to include more popular downtown destinations. DASH West will provide access to the West Side, Monroe Center and Heartside. Points of interest on this route include David D. Hunting YMCA, Kendall College of Art & Design, Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, Van Andel Arena and Bridge Street Market. DASH North will service Creston, City Center and Medical Mile. Points of interest on this route include DeVos Place, Downtown Market, Founders Brewing, Spectrum Health and Belknap Park.

Along with expanded service hours and routes, the DASH also will have a new look.

“We wanted to update the DASH brand to something playful and approachable but still distinctive and recognizable. That’s how we landed on a bright pink bus,” Naramore said. “You won’t be able to miss it.”

With these improvements, the Mobile GR team hopes to double DASH ridership within the next year, resulting in 60,000 monthly users.

“It’s a lofty goal, but I think it’s achievable,” Naramore said. “Real success for us would be seeing transportation via the DASH become a cultural norm in Grand Rapids.”

For more information, CLICK HERE.

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The Wave: It’ll Move You

Your new ticket to ride The Rapid is arriving on Aug. 14, 2018. The Wave is a smart, easier and faster way to pay your fare to ride The Rapid. Your Wave card holds pay-as-you-go value. This means you pay your way to the savings of a pass one trip at a time, and you’ll never pay for a trip you don’t take!

Learn more about the benefits of The Wave.

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Ride The Rapid to amazing events throughout August 2018

august events

August has arrived! Enjoy the warm weather while it lasts and ride with us to events throughout Grand Rapids and the suburbs. There’s no shortage of good music, tasty food and tons of entertainment.

Restaurant Week Grand Rapids

Taste the city from August 8 – 19 for Restaurant Week GR! Savor specially priced lunches, dinners or both at 60+ area restaurants. Special options include 2 courses for $15 per person; 2 courses for $25 per person; Chef’s Choice for over $25 per person.  View participating restaurant menus and start planning your restaurant visits.

Plan your trip to participating restaurants throughout Grand Rapids.

Movies on Monroe

This month, catch Shrek and Hidden Figures on Aug. 3 and Wonder Woman and Black Panther on Aug. 17! This event is free of charge and is the perfect chance to enjoy your favorite movies outside on the big screen. Gates open at 6 p.m. with pre-movie entertainment beginning at 6:30 p.m. The first movie starts at 7:30 p.m. Bring your own snacks or enjoy local fare from the food trucks! Don’t forget your chairs.

Ride DASH and Routes 7 or 11 to get to 555 Monroe.

Grand Rapids Hispanic Festival

Don’t miss this celebration of the rich heritage of the Hispanic community! The Hispanic Festival takes place at Calder Plaza on Aug. 10 -12 and is free to attend. This exciting and immersive event includes a variety of musicians, dancing, food and an outdoor Mercado. Don’t forget to bring cash if you’re planning to shop and eat.

Routes 11, 13, 50 and the Silver Line can get you to Calder Plaza.

Grand Jazz Fest

The seventh annual GRandJazzFest takes place on August 18 and 19 at Rosa Parks Circle in the heart of Grand Rapids. Enjoy performances from notable jazz musicians as well as up-and-coming artists for diverse audiences. No admission is required for this family-friendly event. All you’ll need is a blanket or folding chairs and some snacks. Check out who’s performing!

Routes 6, 9, 11, 13 and the Silver Line can get you there.

Bands at Blandford

Hop on the Route 7 and ride to Blandford Nature Center to listen to music! Blandford is hosting an outdoor music series featuring talented bands that are ready to give your friends and family a fun and relaxing night at the farm. Catch Deep Greens and Blues on Aug. 24 and members of Appleseed Collection on Aug. 31.

Ride Route 7 to get to Blandford Nature Center.


Don’t miss the popular summer concert series that takes place at Lamar Park. This month, prepare for a rollicking good time with Yellow Brick Road—Dueling Pianos in a free, fun, family-friendly setting. There will be giveaways and a variety of activities to accompany these performances. All concerts start at 7 p.m. Learn more here.

Ride Route 24 to get to Lamar Park.


On Aug. 11, ride Routes 2 and 44 for a day of celebration at Kentwood City Hall! Starting at 9 a.m. and lasting until 10 p.m., there will be a farmers market, food trucks, live music, a talent show and so much more! View the full Celebrate Kentwood schedule for details.

Route 2, 44 can get you to Kentwood City Hall.


Every week, the City of Grand Rapids Parks and Recreation Department offers a variety of free fitness classes taking place throughout downtown Grand Rapids. This program is a joint effort through Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. and the City of Grand Rapids Parks & Recreation Department. Free, no-registration classes include Zumba, Tai Chi, yoga and more. Classes take place at Rosa Parks Circle, the Blue Bridge, Sixth Street Bridge, Rapid Central Station and more! View all classes, dates and times here.

Routes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6+ can get you to fitness classes throughout Grand Rapids.

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Public Invited to Attend Open House Highlighting Route 19 Improvements

Route 19

Mobile GR and The Rapid invite the public to join community, business and civic leaders who are attending an open house to learn details about the Aug. 27 launch of plans to significantly improve The Rapid’s Route 19 service that operates along the “Medical Mile” on Michigan Street through a section of the near West Side along Bridge Street up to Stocking Avenue.  The route includes stops near such anchor institutions as Spectrum Health, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Community College, Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine and the soon-to-be-open Bridge Street Market.

The open house will take place at Rapid Central Station on Monday, July 30, 2018 and will highlight how the introduction of free fares along the route will – in combination with the City’s fare-free DASH service and City-sponsored fare-free portion of the Silver Line north of Wealthy Street – essentially allow free travel throughout downtown Grand Rapids without the hassle of parking. Another feature is the convenience of buses coming every 10 minutes on Michigan Street during peak travel demand.

The public transit service upgrades along Route 19 are part of a new three-year pilot program partnership with the City’s Mobile GR and Parking Services Department, the Interurban Transit Partnership (“The Rapid”) and Spectrum Health that will dramatically increase bus service to help reduce traffic and ease parking congestion along the Michigan Street corridor.

Details for the Route 19 Open House:

11-11:30 a.m.
Monday, July 30, 2018
The Rapid Central Station
250 Grandville Ave. SW
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

We encourage you to ride The Rapid to attend this meeting. But you can access free parking in the Amtrak lot at 440 Century.

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The Rapid’s Community Art Project

Community Art Project

If you’re looking for a fun, easy way to showcase your art skills, The Rapid’s Community Art Project is perfect for you.

Show us your stuff and you could have your artwork displayed during this year’s ArtPrize on the side of a bus! All you have to do is color a scene showing your favorite place to visit in Grand Rapids. Download and print this page and use the full sheet for your design. Once you’ve completed your piece of art, here’s what to do:

There are three ways to enter your drawing:

  1. Deposit it in the specially marked boxes near The Rapid bus at the Maranda Park Party in Kentwood on July 19, 2018.
  2. Deposit in the specially marked box at The Rapid offices at 300 Ellsworth Ave. SW, Grand Rapids
  3. Mail to The Rapid, ATTN: Michael Bulthuis, 300 Ellsworth Ave. SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.

Entries must be received by Aug. 1, 2018.

By submitting your design you are agreeing that your community coloring design may be chosen as a part of a community art project that will be displayed at ArtPrize 10. Like The Rapid on social media to watch the project being developed.