“World of Winter” FREE Outdoor Art is in Grand Rapids for Jan, Feb 2021 – Includes Glowing Seesaws, Ice Luminaries, Giant “Koosh Balls” & MORE

free outdoor art coming to grand rapids in Jan, Feb 2021

Interactive Art Returns to Grand Rapids, MI for World of Winter 2021

Every year in January and February, Grand Rapids celebrates winter with the WORLD OF WINTER FESTIVAL in an attempt to get people outside and enjoying the Michigan winter and we think they’ve hit it out of the park for 2021!

This year, the festival promises to be bigger and better, with the DDA pouring extra funds into the event.

Numerous family-friendly large-scale, interactive art exhibits are en route to Grand Rapids right now, including a 20-minute colorful light show that’ll be projected onto the side of a downtown building for all to enjoy.

Additionally, this year, the event will feature over 80 ice sculptures during Valent-ICE – scattered around Downtown.

Check out the maps below and come back to this article – we’ll be adding to it as more information about the festival, slated to start January 15, 2021, is released. Plan on bringing your family dowtown this winter to join in on fresh air, outdoor fun!

World of Winter is organized by Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., The City of Grand Rapids and numerous community partners. #WorldOfWinterGR

Please check the World of Winter website for the most up-to-date scheduling for events & exhibits. Weather and other factors may influence this event.

Map of Art Installations

Here’s a quick glance at the locations of the large-scale exhibits coming to Grand Rapids in January and February 2021 for World of Winter.

WORLD OF WINTER 2021 art displays
click map for interactive version

How long of a walk is it between art displays?

If you were to start at the southern end of the map and walk to all art displays (minus the light show), it would be about 1.6 miles one-way and take approximately 40 minutes to walk without stopping.

If you would like to see everything in one round-trip experience, you’d end up walking about 3 miles and you’d need at least 3 hours if you want to stop and experience the art at each stop. (Please note, the light show is only activated on Friday and Saturday evenings in February. )

Read on for more details about each specific exhibit.

Winter Tumbleweeds – Giant Pool Noodle “Koosh” Balls

Winter Tumbleweed at the Blue Bridge
Friday, January 15, 2021 – February 28, 2021

The Blue Bridge, Grand Rapids MI 49503

Rawdesign entered Winnipeg’s annual Warming Hut competition with these colorful pool noodle creations back in 2013 and came out with a traveling, interactive art display.

The interactive art installation is made out of over 5,000 pool noodles and features five large tumbleweeds, three small tumbleweeds, four groves, and 2 chain anemones.

The inner layer is made from aluminum tubing that resembles a playground climbing structure.

Pool noodles are layered on that structure. Visitors are encouraged to interact with the giant pool noodle sculptures.

Nuzzles from Bridge 1000
Nuzzles” – or Tumbleweeds – pictured along the Assiniboine River Ice Skating Path in Canada. Photo: RAW Design

Ice Luminaries at the Gillett Bridge

Ice Luminaries at the Gillett Bridge in Downtown Grand Rapids
Friday, January 29, 2021 – February 5, 2021

The Gillett Bridge connects Ah-Nab-Awen Park to Lyon Square in Downtown Grand Rapids

“Ice Luminaries” is an interactive art installation featuring 10 giant “icicles” with lights frozen in the center, creating an illuminated experience.

Each luminary is over 600 pounds, which makes the installation a total of over 6,000 pounds.

This is one of the exhibits in World of Winter crafted locally. Downtown Grand Rapids will host Ice Luminaries in partnership with Grand Rapids-based business, Ice Brigade, at the Gillett Bridge.

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“Seasonal Wonders” Projection Show at the Civic Auditorium

“Seasonal Wonders” Projection Show at the Civic Auditorium
Fridays & Saturdays in February

Lyon Street NW, Grand Rapids MI 49503 (at DeVos Place)

Bundle up and bring a lawn chair to the sidewalk, this free projection light show will run every Friday and Saturday evening in February at 7, 8 & 9 PM.

Each show is approximately 20 minutes and will showcase the four seasons of Michigan.


Huge Geometric Light Sculptures – Hybycozo’s

HYBYCOZO’s at Ah-Nab-Awen Park in Grand Rapids
Friday, January 15, 2021 – February 28, 2021

Ah-Nab-Awen Park, 299 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids MI 49503

HYBYCOZO (the Hyperspace Bypass Construction Zone) is a series of large geometric art pieces that play with lights and shadows, creating an immersive visitor experience.

The display may remind you of the winning ArtPrize entry, Intersections, from 2014.

HYBYCOZO is collaborating with the Grand River Bands of Ottawa Indians and other local tribal members to create a seventh piece, with patterns reflecting the area’s Native American culture, that will remain in Grand Rapids.


Glowing Seesaws – Impulse on Monroe

Impulse on Monroe in NW Grand Rapids
Friday, January 22, 2021 – February 28, 2021

555 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids MI 49503 (the Movies on Monroe site)

The same group that brought us Prismatica last winter, RAW Design (with the help of CREOS), is bringing another light therapy installation to Grand Rapids for 2021.

Impulse is an interactive art installation that consists of 15 seesaws that light up and create sound when put into motion by people.

Impulse is a light and sound experience activated by people. 

When the seesaws are not in use, they will take a stabilized position with a reduced level of glow. When a user interacts with the see‐saws, LED lights and speakers are activated, increasing the light’s intensity triggering accompanying sounds.

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IMPULSE at the Blink Festival in Cincinnati

The Singing Tree

The Singing Tree at Canal Park in Grand Rapids
Friday, January 22, 2021 – February 28, 2021

Canal Park, 941 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids MI 49503

Interact in real-time by singing, clapping, or yelling to create an unforgettable and magical experience.

The Singing Tree has visited a number of cities across North America and Europe and is now stopping in Grand Rapids!

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Here’s a video of the tree in action.

Ice Piano Concert
Saturday, Jan 23, 2021 from 7-8 pm

Canal Park
Experience live music by Grayson Nye on a piano made of ice as you enjoy the World of Winter | Singing Tree at Canal Park art installation!
Please bring your masks and practice social distancing as needed.
Ice piano created by Ice Brigade.

Ice Sculptures for Valent-ICE 2021

The annual ice sculpture display, Valent-ICE, is a part of World of Winter and returns in mid-February for 2021 with over 80 ice sculptures spread throughout downtown Grand Rapids, MI.

Sculptures include a Reindeer at MadCap, Wonder Woman at Studio Park, Batman & Yoda at Vault of Midnight, and a Polar Bear at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

Here’s a look at all of the ice sculptures planned for 2021:

Saturday, Feb 13, 2021 from 10am-1pm

Rosa Parks Circle Ice Rink, 135 Monroe St SW, Grand Rapids MI 49503
Witness the live carving of the publicly voted 5,000-pound ice sculpture by the Ice Brigade‘s Randy Finch!
Want to cast your vote for this year’s largest ice sculpture design? Vote here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/valentice-2021
Polls close on January 31, 2020.

Ice Sculpture Walking Tours
Friday, Feb 12 at 6 pm / Saturday, Feb 13 at 10am, noon, 2pm, 4pm, Sunday / Feb 14 at noon, 2 pm

Rosa Parks Circle Ice Rink, 135 Monroe St SW, Grand Rapids MI 49503
Bundle up and join these FREE walking tours about the 80+ ice sculptures scattered around #DowntownGR!
The Valent-ICE exhibition features the largest ice sculpture gallery in Michigan, created by local ice carver Randy Finch of Ice Brigade. Some are life-size, some are interactive but all of them have their own backstories.
Join Grand Rapids Running Tours to learn about all the sub-zero.
All tours start at Rosa Parks Circle. First come, first served. 25 persons maximum. Please bring your masks and practice social distancing.

More World of Winter Events

See the full World of Winter Calendar here.

The Chilly Challenge (Heartside Walking Tours)
Wednesdays, Jan 13, 20 ,27 / February 3, 10 ,17 from noon – 1 pm

Studio Park, 123 Ionia Ave SW, Grand Rapids MI 49503
Join us for this FREE six-part weekly walking series through Downtown Grand Rapids! We’ll be outside in whatever weather Mother Nature throws at us.
Participants will enjoy a unique Heartside Neighborhood Walking Tour, traversing the sidewalks and learning with Caroline Cook of Grand Rapids Running Tours.

Dance at Hybycozo
Friday, Jan 15, Sat Jan 23 & 30, February 20 & 28 from 7 – 7:30 pm

Ah-Nab-Awen Park, 299 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids MI 49503
Experience the World of Winter | Hybycozo’s at Ah-Nab-Awen Park interactive art installation alongside an interpretive performance by Dance in the Annex – DITA! Their dance is a quartet performance utilizing the play of light and shadows around the Hybycozo’s. Livestreamed & performed to the music of Pink Sky.

Outdoor Ice Games
Friday, Jan 22 – Jan 24

Various Locations in Downtown
Frozen fun games will be scattered around #DowntownGR for you to enjoy on your own time!
Ice games include foosball, cornhole, chess, checkers and plinko. Find their locations here: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/viewer…
Please bring your masks and practice social distancing as needed! These ice games are brought to you in partnership with Ice Brigade.
Ice games will remain Downtown until they melt.

Miles of Murals Walking Tours
Sun, Jan 24 at 1 pm or 3 pm

Rosa Parks Circle Ice Rink
Bundle up and join your tour guide for a FREE walking tour exploring #DowntownGR’s public art and murals! Swirling all about us in Grand Rapids, in each of our city neighborhoods, vibrant, and intriguing artwork is appearing outside on sides of buildings, underneath highway overpasses, on retaining walls, street surfaces and utility boxes.
These are murals, street art, wall art, painted by artists that celebrate beauty, or calls to action, and tributes to heroes. Grand Rapids Running Tours‘ Caroline Cook will guide you through as many murals as possible in a one hour walk through downtown.
All tours meet at Rosa Parks Circle. First come first serve, 25 person cap.

Black History Walking Tour
Wednesdays, Jan 20, 2021 from 6-7 pm / Feb 4 @ 6pm, Feb 7 @ 1 pm, Feb 20 at 10am & noon, Feb 21 @ 1pm

Rosa Parks Circle Ice Rink, 135 Monroe St SW, Grand Rapids MI 49503
Join your Grand Rapids Running Tours for a FREE walk through Grand Rapids’ Black history.
This tour specifically examines the African American population from 1826 until the present; The remarkable people, places, events, issus, legends and facts about being Black in Grand Rapids.
Tour guide Caroline Cook will walk you through a maze of touchstones in #DowntownGR that prompt intriguing narrative.rs.

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