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      Art Rapids! gets state grant towards Walk of Art exhibit

      Art Rapids!, the Elk Rapids arts organization, has been awarded a grant from the state towards it's "Walk of Art" sculpture exhibition in Elk Rapids Day Park.

      Art Rapids!, the Elk Rapids arts organization, has been awarded a grant from the state towards it's "Walk of Art" sculpture exhibition in Elk Rapids Day Park.

      The $4000 award is part of $3 million in art grants being awarded statewide through the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs under the "Pure Michigan" campaign.

      It supports the first phase of a three-year plan for Walk of Art, including design and production of signage and marketing materials, and installation and landscaping of six sculptures in time for a June opening.

      Walk of Art Chair Sherri DeCamp said Art Rapids! will announce its sculpture choices soon and will still be taking applications for future installations.

      "We envision up to 30 sculptures when the park is fully developed," DeCamp said.

      Art Rapids! will work with schools to develop educational field trips and projects for artist-led creation of student installations at the park.

      "Our mission is not only to encourage artists and the arts," DeCamp said, "but to give gifts of art to the whole community."

      DeCamp and her committee worked closely with Antrim County officials for several months to develop the concept. The county is hoping the program will attract more visitors to a park that is only lightly used.

      The park is 15 acres of forest and dune, and a quarter mile of East Bay beach. It also has public rest rooms and a paved walk for handicap access.

      "The park offers wonderful recreation," DeCamp said. "It has secluded picnic sites and a maze of trail, and a beautiful stretch of waterfront, and our project is completely attuned to preserving and protecting the property, and not interfering with existing users."

      Since it's founding in 2005, Art Rapids! has attracted thousands of visitors to the community for its annual art shows and free summer concerts. It has also provided $43,000 for scholarships, art grants, community gifts and awards to artists.