Warm welcome for new director of Grand Rapids Arts Museum

Jul 15, 2011

Dana Friis-Hansen started at the Grand Rapids Art Museum Wednesday.

He told those gathered at a reception Friday he wants to make the downtown museum into center for all creative thinking, not just art.

“I really believe that as we look to the 21st century museums need to be community conveners and to be sites for bringing together people of different interests, different ideas.”

Friis-Hansen says the museum’s spaces and location in the city center will provide a good platform for that goal.

He directed the Austin Museum of Art for the last nine years. Between ArtPrize, the Grand Rapids Lip Dub and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts reopening next week – he says there’s a lot to be excited about in the art world here.

“This is why I’m here, because I feel there’s something clicking,” he said, snapping his fingers.

Lizzie Williams is the marketing coordinator at the Center for Community Leadership, a group that fosters leadership in Grand Rapids. She’s confident he can really pull people together.

“We have a space, we have the location, what we need is the motivation and we need the leadership and I think that’s what Dana offers.”

Friis-Hansen says he want to use the museum as an incubator for creative ideas. He hopes that will prove a useful investment in the city’s future.