La Grande Vitesse, Grand Rapids

4.4
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. Popularly referred to as simply "the Calder", since its installation in 1969 it has come to be a symbol of Grand Rapids, and an abstraction of it is included in the city's official logo.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", in contrast to his mobiles. 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
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
50 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • 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 »
  • 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 »
  • 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
  • If you are a person who is very into the arts you must stop by and see it. Calder plaza is a large space that commonly is used for artists to display their art during Art Prize and Festival of the Arts.
  • Very neat which is quite fine. Very fine which is quite neat.
  • Pick a good day for your stereotypical Grand Rapids photo. This piece of artwork is so beautiful.
  • Beautiful. Great spot for Art prize.
  • A must see, this just shows how far ahead the city is.
Places to stay near La Grande Vitesse

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.

Plans to La Grande Vitesse by other users

60 days in Michigan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 59 days in Michigan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 4 days in Michigan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 10 days in Michigan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 12 days in Michigan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, popular PREFERENCES: May ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 3 days in Grand Rapids BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 13 days in Michigan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES July, popular PREFERENCES: July ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 9 days in Michigan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES April, culture, relaxing, romantic, historic sites, popular PREFERENCES: April, culture, relaxing, romantic, historic sites ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 31 days in Grand Rapids BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 37 days in Grand Rapids BY A USER FROM GHANA May, relaxing, shopping, fast-paced, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: May, relaxing, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 4 days in Michigan BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES June, slow & easy, popular PREFERENCES: June ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Slow & easy 12 days in Michigan SEE PLAN April, popular PREFERENCES: April ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans