Mural by Ellen Rutt, Photography by  Justine Montigny.

Mural by Ellen Rutt, Photography by Justine Montigny.

The Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, Michigan’s largest contemporary arts center, organizes the Exit Space Project (ESP). As part of UICA’s exhibitions and community outreach programming, ESP is a dynamic experiment carried out by contemporary artists who investigate ideas, images, and conversations within public space. ESP began by featuring public works and street artists from the Midwest and continues to support local and regional artists while also attracting talent from the global community to bring exceptional works to West Michigan. The essence of ESP continues to evolve into the public space on sanctioned utility boxes, buildings, parking lots, construction sites, and other venues throughout West Michigan.

Street art and public art are somewhat indefinable genres. For ESP, UICA considers murals of all mediums, including paint, wheat-pasted prints and posters, and 3D installations. Artists are welcome to explore the variety of concepts and complexities that is street art, and the idea of it as an art movement. We do not seek to define street art but hope to showcase all that it is and can be.

To date, UICA has curated and installed over 15 murals in Grand Rapids and is in the process of site and artist selection for several more throughout the city. Thanks to the generous support of the Grand Rapids community, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., Herman Miller Cares, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, new public murals will continue to populate the landscape of West Michigan.

Exit Space Locations Include (additional locations added as approved):

UICA Exit Space
2 Fulton West, Grand Rapids, MI

Retaining Wall of I-196 Exit Ramp,
North Division Street, Grand Rapids, MI

Lincoln Park Lodge,
1120 Bridge ST NW Grand Rapids, MI

Grand Rapids Ballet Co.,
341 Ellsworth Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI (see back of building from Grandville Ave. or Wealthy Ave.)

Exit Space Artists include:
Louise '0uizi' Chen
George Eberhardt
Eliza Fernand
Nick Nortier
Kelly Allen
Ellen Rutt

About ESP

UICA Exit Space Project About

The UICA will act as host for a dynamic experiment investigating the ideas, images and conversation being conveyed by contemporary artists working within the public space. The essence of Exit Space Project installation will be continued into the public space on sanctioned utility boxes, bus stops, buildings and construction sites among others throughout West Michigan.


UICA Exit Space Project Dimensions

ESP is open to all artists 18 years of age and older. With respect to the indefinable genre of Street Art and Public Art, all mediums will be considered including but not limited to: modern graffiti and stencils, wheat pasted prints and posters, stickers, video projections, performance, sculpture, and site-specific public installations. The panel measures 8 x 16 feet with variable depth. Visit to apply.