For the past 50-years, Festival of the Arts has be entirely run by volunteers, and has become Grand Rapids unofficial Summer kickoff.

As times change, it has become apparent that the major, downtown weekend of free fun and entertainment, needed a more consistent leadership. The volunteer co-chairmen changed every year, as well as other leadership positions, and consistency and funding has become a real issue. So, the Festival of the Arts Board of Directors proudly announces the first-ever Interim Executive Director for Festival of the Arts.

David Abbott is the new Interim Executive Director.

Brian Kelly

This new position provides an evolution from an all-volunteer run event and offers consistent leadership year-to-year. Abbott will lead Festival into its 50-year anniversary in 2019, and will begin work with 2018 event co-chairs Melissa Bush and Jessi Nix Gould today, April 2, 2018. By the way, Festival of the Arts isn't too far away, as it takes place the first full weekend of June every year, and is being celebrated in 2018 on June 1, 2 and 3 in downtown Grand Rapids.

Abbott, an independent brand consultant and serves several clients locally, and has held a series of influential positions across West Michigan, including Development and Merchandise Director at ArtPrize and Owner of A.K. Rikk’s Menswear. He also spent significant time working as Development Director at Goodwill Industries of Greater Grand Rapids and with Gilda's Club’s Laughfest on the ideation and sponsor development. He also teaches as an adjunct at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University.


A primary direction of Abbott’s role focuses on fund development and building collaborative relationships within the community. Additionally, he will provide direction and continuity for the Festival Operations Committee and event Honorary Chairman, and support to the Board of Directors.

For complete information regarding Festival, log on to their website