At their January 2021 board meeting, the Steelcase Foundation board of trustees approved a two-year $50,000 grant ($100,000 total) to The Diatribe to support The 49507 Project, an artist and youth-led community celebration commissioning Black and Brown artist to bring large-scale murals to prominent buildings on the southeast and southwest side of Grand Rapids. Youth will learn from and work with artists to conduct listening sessions, inform the concepts for the murals, and plan and participate in the mural unveilings, sharing their own work at the events.
Youth participants will be recruited from Diatribe’s Writing to Write Wrongs program, a nine-week partnership with the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan, which teaches students about housing discrimination, redlining, and gentrification, and how housing impacts daily life, providing youth background on the history of their neighborhoods and empowering them to ask questions and make change where they see inequities.
Below are two videos from The Diatribe detailing the education component of the project and the overall idea behind The 49507 Project.
We’re so excited to see the murals come to fruition and become a part of the landscape of the southside of the City for generations to come. Check out the below map to see where you can find the murals following their unveilings in September.