Pekich Park Concert Series; building a community through action

8-5-11 UPDATE: Catalyst Radio on 88.1WYCE on 8-5-11 featured Hugo Claudin in the 2nd half of the show discussing the Pekich Park Concert Series. Listen to the audio and see the article
Pekich Park on Division St in Grand Rapids is definitely a landmark in the city of Grand Rapids. What was once just an ordinary street corner was recently turned into a “pocket park“by the city in an effort to improve the area while doing some much needed construction improvements at the intersection of Division and Oakes. Many people had high hopes for the area, which in recent years was suffering economically. Community members were actively working to turn the area’s bad reputation around.
Almost immediately, the park became overrun by people (many of them patrons of the homeless shelters and social services in the area) in the neighborhood using it as a convenient place to drink and do drugs. Critics of the city’s plans had tons of ammunition to throw in the face of the city. Several media stories came about because of the situation, including an excellent series by citizen reporters M Tuffelmire and N Manes
The GRPD announced plans to increase patrols in response to the issues shortly after the problems escalated. Again in 2011 they announced another increase in several areas, including Pekich Park.
While the efforts of the city to create a more attractive area were a great start, and GRPD coverage helps keep things under control… the missing component to the solution is community involvement. To actively make the area a place where everybody wants to be takes a community investment. Keeping the place clean and safe and inviting are all very important. And when these things are accomplished effectively, it makes it a lot harder for illicit activities to continue unabated.
One such group of community members has begun to contribute in exactly this way. Local artist and community activist Hugo Claudin has organized a concert series through the support of Avenue for the Arts.
Events like this will be an essential part of getting people of the couch and out into the streets to engage their community, to take part in the activities going on, to really know what it means to own a piece of the community.
As an active member of the Grand Rapids downtown community, Avenue for the Arts regularly hosts events along Division St and throughout the surrounding area, bringing positive experiences and opportunities for local residents to enjoy.
Empowering people with a sense of community and ownership is exactly what this town needs. Division St needs it even  more than many parts of the city. Please see the press release below for more info:
Contact: Jenn Schaub
Tel: 616.855.0435
Website: www.avenueforthearts.comPekich Park Concert series begins July 28th
Local concert series to start in community park on South DivisionGRAND RAPIDS, Mich. –Beginning on July 28th local bands and musicians are coming together to create a new concert series along South Division Avenue in Pekich Park.
Coordinated by Hugo Claudin, proprietor of Mexicains Sans Fronteriesthis five part outdoor concert series will feature local bands in a unique outdoor setting.A great time to visit the Avenue for the Arts the concert series will feature an eclectic mix of entertainment– ranging from live bands and DJs to dancers and poets. Performers will take the stage in Pekich Park from 7 until 9pm. Residents, neighbors and supporters of the Avenue for the Arts are invited to grab a chair and enjoy the performances of some of Grand Rapids up and coming bands!

The concert series is a reoccurring event and will continue every other Friday in August and September. Concert series event dates include: July 29, August 5, August 12, August 26, September 9 and September 23rd.

The Pekich Park Concert series is supported by the Dwelling Place, The Downtown Alliance and coordinated by Hugo Claudin.

For more information about the series contact Hugo Claudin at 616-706-7963 or For more information about the Avenue for the Arts contact Jenn Schaub at or 855-0435

What: Pekich Park Concert Series
When: July 29, August 5, August 12, August 26, September 9 and September 23rd.
Where: Pekich Park at Cherry and South Division
Why: To positively engage public space and celebrate community, art, music and local businesses, in the Heart of Grand Rapids


About analogmutant

art, music, food, movies, citizen journalism, activism, and whatever else i am into at the moment...
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2 Responses to Pekich Park Concert Series; building a community through action

  1. Pingback: Grand River Whitewater? - Page 2 - City-Data Forum

  2. Pingback: Broken Mirror Baby by Alejandra O’Leary; Analog Mutant Music Review | Analog Mutant: Grand Rapids MI

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