We quite often tout the amazing things that go on at the library now a days. The days where the library was defined by the somewhat short tempered lady behind the desk who was quick to get her index finger to her lips and shush anyone who dared speak above a whisper are long gone. Yes, the library is still a place where courtesy is still best practiced when it comes to shared space with others, but they have also become centers for cultural happenings, media outlets and community gatherings centered around interesting speakers and topics that you'll probably not hear anywhere else. They are especially important in communities to share historical knowledge and to bring in exhibits that you'd be very hard pressed to find anywhere else on topics of any kind. Books are great, but what if you were able to bring those books to life for people and invite in those who fill the pages? What if too, you were able to bring in someone to speak first hand on someone who left a lasting impression on their field and inspired so many others? Well, that's happening tomorrow night, November 16th at the Loutit District Library in Grand Haven.
Laura Grimshaw is the widow of renowned artist Gary Grimshaw. Back in the 60's Gary spent some time in the Navy and while in San Francisco, he got to spend some time at some "psychedelic" concerts. He went to the Avalon and the Fillmore and saw the light operators at work. After his time in the service, he came back to Detroit and Russ Gibb hired Gary to perform light shows at his new venue called the Grande Ballroom. Gary designed the first poster to spread the word about a show coming. The show was to be "A Dance Concert in the San Francisco Style" by a band called The MC5. You might have heard of them. Gary went on to design not only a great deal of the art for shows and venues around Detroit, but he also did commercial work for other companies and endeavors and worked with some other remarkable artists along the way. He was pretty politically active at points. His artwork appeared in "underground" publications like "The Berkeley Tribe" "The Fifth Estate" and "The Ann Arbor Sun". He spoke out against the Vietnam War, he was arrested on a marijuana charge which he later beat in court and for a while there, he was an associate art director for Creem Magazine, if you can remember back then.
Well, all of that art...and all of that experience is now being told by his wife of 25 years Laura Grimshaw. She's still in Detroit, right in the same neighborhood where it all went on all those years ago, and she's brought her collection to Grand Haven to speak about and for you to see until the end of November. On display will be some of the bigger pieces. Some of the commercial art as well as some of the more famous pictures that you'll recognize. As we were setting up to tape, I was even kind of surprised at how many passers by stopped and said "I remember that". Sure, it was just before I was hatched...but those memories for some are like yesterday.
I had a chance to meet Laura Grimshaw as she was just coming in to Grand Haven to start getting set up for the show. Take a listen to our chat below.
A pretty facsinating topic, from a pretty fascinating time. Head down to Grand Haven to meet Laura and hear her talk about Gary. I am sure there will be plenty of fascinating stories and you'll get a chance to see first hand some of the amazing art she's kept over the years and brought to share. The exhibit runs until the end of November but you get one night to meet Laura and her her stories. Don't miss it. For more at the Loutit Library, click on their logo below.