A visual artist from Grand Rapids and Public Arts Coordinator at Lions and Rabbits Center for the Arts (LRCFA), Jasmine Bruce has made leaps and bounds within the artist community. In 2020, Bruce—who earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from GVSU and works with mediums like acrylic, oil and digital painting—led hundreds of artists in the Windows GR project, which spoke on social injustice through art. In her role with LRCFA, Bruce has led various public art projects like After Dark, Women's Way and more.
Knowing her work is a powerful driver of community, we sat down with Bruce to learn more.
What's your approach to your art and what do you hope people gain from it?
Art is a tool for healing. I use it to reflect, connect and evolve. When I'm creating, I'm reflecting on and recording my healing story. At the same time, I'm sending out bat signals to anyone who might connect with this story. When the signal is intercepted, a connection is made and we have the chance to share, reflect and heal. Healing is transformation, evolving into our highest self. How can we push the envelope for healing with art?
Art as a tool for healing has been at the root of my career from the start. Whether in the position of the creator, admirer or critic, there is always a moment of dynamic reflection. Within these moments, our true self, perspectives and opinions stare back at us. The parts of ourselves we ignore, or don't understand, become tangible. This allows us, whether we want to or not, to heal. When we can see ourselves outside of ourselves, we gain greater understanding. We all need healing in some way, shape or form. I've been amazed with how my artwork has created a moment for people to reflect, connect and heal
In your role with LRCFA, how do you hope to use art as a tool to improve our community?
Our work is thorough and focused with the artist and community always at the center. We understand the framework and support for artists to build freelance careers is lacking. We aim to improve this by creating job opportunities, providing professional development resources and advocating for artists. Our team surveys communities, listens to what people want and need, and collects data in order to create sustainable connections and drive communities forward. What does that look like? We like to use this term called "placeHEALING" ... creating a place using artwork (murals, installations, etc.), a mission and a stellar team of local artists, businesses and community members. We strive to build prosperous creative independence for all.
How can the community engage with and support local artists and art initiatives?
Engaging with and supporting the arts is easy! Visit lionsandrabbits.com to donate and sign up for our monthly newsletter to keep up with our journey. We host events and fundraisers and would love to meet you. If you or someone you know wants to activate their space with artwork, we have a client portal on our site. For artists, we have an artist newsletter which provides any job opportunities available.
What can people expect from LRCFA in 2023?
Growth! In 2023, we are branching out into communities outside of Grand Rapids including Wyoming, Muskegon and more! We're excited to create even more connections and opportunities within each community. Thank you for your support!
Edited by Sarah Suydam, Managing Editor for West Michigan Woman.
This article originally appeared in the Feb/Mar '23 issue of West Michigan Woman.