La Grande Vitesse was formally dedicated on June 14, 1969 and has since become the civic symbol that represents the City of Grand Rapids. Festival of the Arts began a year later to celebrate the installation of the Calder.
The event started with two stages, some artwork and a few food booths. Today, Festival of the Arts covers most of downtown Grand Rapids with six performance stages, dozens of food booths, and endless art and activities for all ages. Festival is the largest all-volunteer arts event in the nation, and one of the longest running festivals in the State of Michigan.
Co-chair Valerie Clarke says, “Dana’s art captures the spirit of Festival, past and present. Since this is the 45th year, we thought it was fitting to choose someone who has been familiar with the Grand Rapids art scene for many years. Dana has been with Festival since its inception.
Dana Ziebarth was born and raised in Indiana. She studied art at the Ray-Vogue College of Design in Chicago before moving to Grand Rapids in the 1950s.
She continued her studies at Grand Rapids Community College, Aquinas College, the University of Michigan and Michigan State. She also studied art history in Florence, Italy and attended master watercolor workshops in Florence, Italy; Paris, France and Oxford University in England.
In the late 1960s, Dana opened a studio in downtown Rockford. It was there that she met the Swedish baker, Arne Fahlen, (owner of Arnie's Bakery and Restaurants). He hired her to do paintings for all his menus and placemats. Among the Arnie's locations today, Fahlen's 54th Street location has a full room dedicated to displaying Ziebarth's paintings.
Ziebarth has been in many art shows including forty-five years at the Charlevoix Waterfront Art Fair, the Reeds Lake Clothesline Art Festival, Saugatuck Artists Co-op, Grand Valley Artists, and the Rockford Area Artists Council.
Transition of art style & media. Over eight decades of life, Ziebarth has transitioned her style many times. he began with charcoals and pastels, then large traditional pieces using contemporary oils. Later the freshness of watercolor drew her eye. She has used a variety of art styles over the years and continues to study and learn new techniques even today.
Her motto: "You have to keep growing, studying, learning new things. Otherwise you lose your vitality."
I’ve won many prizes, but money and prizes were never as important as someone coming up to me and complimenting my artwork, Ziebarth said. She continued "It's a great honor to be chosen as the 2014 Festival poster artist."