Flint, MI—A new art exhibit in Grand Rapids opening this weekend will feature work from a multicultural set of artists from both Grand Rapids and Flint. 

The exhibit, titled “Reuniting,” was curated by Trinidadian artist Marvin Dabideen. Prior to living in Grand Rapids, Dabideen earned his degree, a BFA in painting from UM-Flint. It was during his time in Flint that Dabideen grew close with many of the Flint artists being featured in the exhibit, such as Pauly Everett, Jjenna Hupp Andrews, and Isiah Lattimore among others.

This will be the second time Muse, the gallery hosting the exhibit, will host Flint artists. In 2019 it held a “Flint City Artists” exhibit which was also curated by Dabideen. “Reuniting” will have its opening reception on Saturday, Oct. 16 from 4 to 7 p.m.

Dabideen said living in both Flint and Grand Rapids, two cities that seem to “represent the polar opposite of experiences in America,” made him curious to see how the art created in these communities differed. He also wanted to see how the extensive isolation and division brought about by COVID-19 and its politicization affected the way artists worked. 

Flint artist Pauly Everett begins working on his mural design in Buckham Alley in downtown Flint on April 18, 2021. Everett’s mural is one of the first five Flint Public Art Project murals of 2021. (KT Kanazawich | Flint Beat)

“Cities are where cultures are formed, so the question arose about what kind of culture was being produced at this unique moment in history.… I was curious to see what artists within the two cities had produced in response to the pandemic as well as the cultural-political divisions within the U.S,” Dabideen said. 

Dabideen said he chose the word “Reuniting,” in present tense, because “it’s an ongoing process, after a long period of separation and division due to the pandemic as well as culturally and politically.”

Curious about how isolation and division have affected the world, Dabideen also holds out hope that “we can live united despite our differences.”

The exhibit, Dabideen said, is going to be composed of artists from different cultural backgrounds and generations in the hopes that the wide spectrum of human emotions and experiences will offer visitors something new to learn about as well as something to relate to. 

Pauly Everett, one of the Flint artists being featured in the exhibit, said he is excited to see what the gallery will look like once all the artists’ work is laid out. 

“I’m not sure what’s all coming from Flint but I know some artists are bringing some of their larger works and possibly a life-size sculpture. There are going to be oil paintings and big triptychs. I think even the gallery owner is going to put out some work so it’s just going to be a huge mix of art from a bunch of different people,” Everett said.

Santiago Ochoa is Flint Beat's Latinx Community reporter. He is always looking to write about anything Flint or Latinx. He especially enjoys investigative reporting and human-interest stories. A communications...