GRAND RAPIDS—The foundation that provides ArtPrize' $449,000 in awards has purchased the 28,000-square foot Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts building at 41 Sheldon Blvd. SE.
The Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation announced its purchase today of the early 1900s-era building and former auto dealership showroom, which they will transform into an “open, progressive office and work space designed to house arts organizations,” a press release stated.
The foundation paid the appraised price for the building, but a dollar amount wasn't specified. The property had been listed for $1.25 million.
The sale is a major boost for UICA, which has struggled to complete an $11.5 million capital campaign to fund the completion of its new home in the Gallery on Fulton complex. Opening of the new UICA already has been delayed because of of an inability to secure the funds needed to finish the project.
In 2009 the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation announced a $2.5 million challenge grant for the new UICA. The couple's son, ArtPrize founder Rick DeVos, is the chairman of a portion of the UICA fundraising effort.
ArtPrize and the Compass College of Cinematic Arts, located on Fifth Street NW, will be the first organizations to move into the space.
“Our interest is to help build strong management structures and, ultimately, sustainability within the local arts and cultural organizations,” Betsy DeVos said in a statement. “Allowing these organizations to share space will also help them build capacity in their programming and encourage them to strengthen their core competencies like fundraising, artistic and strategic planning and board development.”
The building in its urban location was selected for this new creative space thanks to its proximity to downtown, the new UICA Gallery on Fulton and the growing S. Division Avenue area with its galleries.
The acquisition of the building follows the foundation's recent $22.5 million commitment to the Kennedy Center to support its DeVos Institute of Arts Management, which is a program offering training to arts managers and board members.
Occupancy will be finalized in the next several weeks at the venue.
Both Compass and ArtPrize are supported in various ways by the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation