03.30.16

Peters Applauds Restoration of Iconic Grand Rapids Tire Swing

Peters Sent Letter Urging Expedited Restoration of Treasured Landmark

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) today applauded the restoration of the tire swing to the “Motu Viget” art installation at the Gerald R. Ford Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse. Peters recently sent a letter to the Government Services Administration (GSA) urging the agency to expedite the safety enhancements needed to complete the restoration of the tire swing and ensure the “Motu Viget” installation will be available for future generations to enjoy.

“The “Motu Viget” tire swing is a valued piece of the fabric of Grand Rapids,” said Senator Peters. “Grand Rapids has a long tradition of supporting public art, and I’m proud I was able to work with Mayor Bliss and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. to help restore this treasured and iconic symbol of the strength of the Grand Rapids community.”

“On behalf of all those who live, work and play in City of Grand Rapids, we’re thrilled to see the Motu Viget sculpture back better and safer than ever. High-quality parks and public spaces bring people together. They’re also a key factor in enhancing quality of life and supporting both residential and job growth in our community. The 'Tire Swing' provides an experience unique to Grand Rapids, and we’re grateful that Senator Peters and the GSA made it a priority to get the piece back in good working order for our children, families and downtown visitors,” said Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss. 

“Recreation and fun are critical components of building an attractive and liveable Downtown neighborhood. Like the Van Andel Arena or the Grand Rapids Public Museum, assets such as the Motu Viget sculpture enable unique experiences and memories for the people of the Grand Rapids region. We deeply appreciate Senator Peter’s leadership and the GSA’s impressive responsiveness to restore this important piece of our urban playground,” said Kristopher Larson, President/CEO of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.

The “Motu Viget” sculpture was installed in 1977 and is a locally cherished piece of public art. It is a popular location for children to play, wedding party photos, and other outdoor activities. The swing was removed after an accident in September 2013, when it broke and injured two children.

The City of Grand Rapids has a proud history of supporting public art. It is also home to Grand Rapids Public Museum, Grand Rapids Art Museum, and has hosted the ArtPrize international art competition since 2009.

The full text of Peters’ letter is copied below, or available here.

January 13, 2016

Ann P. Kalayil, Regional Administrator

General Services Administration

230 S. Dearborn Street

Chicago, IL 60604

Dear Administrator Kalayil:

I am writing in regards to the art installation titled “Motu Viget” located at the Gerald R. Ford Federal Building & U.S. Courthouse in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Motu Viget is the motto of the City of Grand Rapids, which means “strength in activity”.

The City of Grand Rapids has a long history of support for public art. In 1969 the first public art work funded by the Art in Public Places program of the National Endowment for the Arts was Alexander Calder’s “La Grande Vietesse, located near City Hall and the Kent County Building.  The City is home to the Grand Rapids Public Museum, Grand Rapids Art Museum, and has hosted the ArtPrize international art competition since 2009.

The “Motu Viget” sculpture was installed in 1977 and is a locally cherished piece of public art. It is a popular location for children to play, wedding party photos, and other outdoor activities. Prior to September 2013, the installation included a tire swing which allowed visitors to interact and engage with the sculpture. In September 2013, two children were injured when cables supporting the tire swing broke and the swing was removed.

An operational tire swing which allows for visitor engagement and interaction is a critical part of the “Motu Viget” sculpture. I encourage you to work with the local community to facilitate reinstallation of such a tire swing with appropriate design and safety enhancements. It is my understanding that Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., an entity which manages Grand Rapids’ Downtown Development Authority and Downtown Improvement District, has offered to assist financially as a partner in a restoration effort for the tire swing.

The “Motu Viget” tire swing is a valued piece of the fabric of Grand Rapids. I urge you to work expeditiously to restore the swing with necessary safety enhancements so that it may once again be enjoyed by visitors to the Ford Federal Building. Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Sincerely,

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