Getting to Know Fred Bivins, “Mr. Festival”

Fred Bivins, image credit Dianne Carroll Burdick Photography.
2018 Festival for the Arts Fed Galleries exhibition, image credit Christine Fisher.

On this episode of Light Conversations, Holly Bechiri got a chance to sit down with one of the biggest supporters of the arts—and artists—-in our region. Known to many of us as “Mr. Festival” because of his long-time involvement and leadership in the annual Festival of the Arts event and its coinciding Regional Arts Competition, Fred Bivins gives us all the inside information. The Festival, kicking off the warmer months this June 7, 8, and 9, is celebrating its 50th year this summer.

2018 Festival of the Arts, Calder Plaza stage, photo credit Eric Zuniga.

2018 Festival of the Arts, Calder Plaza stage, photo credit Eric Zuniga.

2018 Festival of the Arts, photo credit Eric Zuniga.

2018 Festival of the Arts, photo credit Eric Zuniga.

Fred Bivins, a local artist who works in wood and printmaking, has also been involved in Festival of the Arts for decades. We talk to him about how he got involved in the event, and what’s so special about this 50th year.

We also get a chance to learn more about the Regional Arts Competition. With around 500 works of art predicted to be submitted for consideration, over 200 of them are selected for the show at the Fed Galleries at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University. We talk about all the reasons local artists should participate. Did you know that there are over 40 awards for artists in this show? And that many sales happen through the event? Or that a smaller selection of works will make their way to the Grand Rapids Art Museum after the initial exhibition?

Learn how to submit work, where and when to see it, and catch up on the new offerings, the photography exhibit hosted at the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives (GRAAMA) and the comics, graphic novel, and anime exhibit hosted at MadCap Coffee.


That and much more was captured in this conversation with Fred Bivins—tune in to hear all the news or visit the Festival website for plenty of information on volunteering, submitting work, and attending.

You may also view Fred’s art at http://www.vinecroft.com/