La Grande Vitesse, Grand Rapids

4.3
La Grande Vitesse, a public sculpture by American artist Alexander Calder, is located on the large concrete plaza surrounding City Hall and the Kent County Building in Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States.HistoryThe sculpture was the first public art work funded by the Art in Public Places program of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Fabricated in Tours, France and assembled on the plaza, the steel sculpture is 43 feet tall, 54 feet long, and 30 feet wide, and weighs 42 tons. It is painted in Calder's signature bright red. The title is French for “the great swiftness”, which can also be translated as "grand rapids".Calder’s design for La Grande Vitesse was consistent with other monumental sculptures he was commissioned to create during this period in his career. He dubbed these works “stabiles,” a counterpart to his mobiles. Whereas a mobile’s motion is generated by air currents, a stabile activates a viewer’s motion. The sculpture is a popular gathering place for residents and tourists alike, and it is the centerpiece of the city’s annual Festival of the Arts.A panel of local officials and nationally recognized art experts selected Calder for the commission in 1967. After Calder was chosen and residents learned of his plans, a controversy ensued. Opponents wrote letters to the editor and created songs and cartoons deriding the sculpture, and advocates used the mayor’s bully pulpit and public service television to call attention to Calder’s credentials and vision. La Grande Vitesse was formally dedicated on June 14, 1969, and has since become a popular civic symbol.
La Grande Vitesse is just one of the many highlights you can arrange to see using our international travel planner, Grand Rapids Edition.
Source
Create an itinerary including La Grande Vitesse
map
La Grande Vitesse Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
50 reviews
Google
4.5
TripAdvisor
  • October 1, 2017
    This plaza is home to many a festival and end/beginning of several 'runs'. There is some interesting artwork in addition to the Calder. They are planning a renovation for the plaza which update the pl...  more »
  • September 11, 2017
    There were people out and about in the plaza. Parking is limited to a few on street parking spots in front of the plaza.  more »
  • July 25, 2017
    When the structure (stabile?) was first put upthe votes were not all in as to whether this would be a good addition to downtown GRR ... but after 40+ years it has become a welcoming sight for those of...  more »
Google
  • October 9, 2016
    Pick a good day for your stereotypical Grand Rapids photo. This piece of artwork is so beautiful.
  • October 18, 2016
    Beautiful. Great spot for Art prize.
  • January 15, 2017
    A must see, this just shows how far ahead the city is.
  • June 22, 2016
    Looks great all the time!
  • May 22, 2013
    It is kinda shaped like the ArtPrize logo if you tip your head left.

Plan your trip to Grand Rapids

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Where to stay in Grand Rapids

Only five hotels provide lodging downtown, but each charms its guests with a distinctive character. A small collection of bed and breakfasts and inns populate Old Town. These hotels are a five-minute walk from the city's main attractions, top restaurants, and conference centers, so they tend to fill up fast. Book a room early to ensure you get the lodging of your choice. There are also hotel chains near the airport and in residential areas; public transport and taxi service link these to the city's downtown.
Live like a local, find unique places to stay
Millions of travel reviews on TripAdvisor

Plans in Grand Rapids by other users

11 days in Michigan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, outdoors, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: October, outdoors, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Michigan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Michigan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 3 days in Grand Rapids BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, museums, shopping, hidden gems PREFERENCES: November, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in Grand Rapids BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES November, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, museums, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: November, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 8 days in Michigan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, popular PREFERENCES: October ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Kent County BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: October, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 3 days in Grand Rapids BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, popular PREFERENCES: October, outdoors, relaxing, romantic ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Michigan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, popular PREFERENCES: December ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 1 day in Grand Rapids BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, relaxing, popular PREFERENCES: January, relaxing ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 22 days in New York City, Grand Rapids & Washington DC BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM September, culture, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: September, culture, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 5 days in Michigan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES October, kids, popular PREFERENCES: October, kids ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans