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A Guide to Arts and Culture Events this Summer in Downtown Kalamazoo

Posted on May 11th, 2021

A summer weekend in Downtown Kalamazoo puts everything you could want – good food, art, music and maker culture – right at your fingertips!

 

Whether you’re admiring the murals that grace the walls of our buildings or sculptures in the city’s parks, visiting the art museum or attending free live music events, the city is filled with public art to enjoy.

 

If you’re interested in getting your own creative juices flowing, DIY opportunities and hands-on activities are abundant! Want to learn more about the makers of one of Kalamazoo’s most popular craft? Take advantage of the variety of craft beer and makers tours.

 

 

Enjoy Art & Music 

 

 

 

Art Hop – the first Friday of every month

Art Hop takes place the first Friday of every month and features local artists at various locations in downtown Kalamazoo.

 

 

Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

The Kalamazoo Institute of Art (KIA) has a rotation of special exhibits every year that feature both local and well-known artists. These exhibits feature multiple art mediums including watercolor, sculptures, oil painting and more!

 

 

JumpstART – June 2-6, 2021

JumpstART, previously called June Jubilee, is chock-full of fun, art, food, and music in an entirely outdoor setup featuring events the community has come to know and love: Art on the Mall, Do-Dah Parade, and KIA Arts Fair.

 

 

Black Arts Festival – July 2021

Black Arts Festival (BAF) is a public arts and cultural festival founded and run by the Black Arts & Cultural Center of Kalamazoo. Since 1986, the festival has hosted artists from across the globe and brought hundreds of businesses to the downtown area — creating a cultural destination in our community.

 

 

Beats on Bates – Every Wednesday in the Summer from June-August

Downtown Kalamazoo’s live music scene is a special part of the city. Adding to the already vibrant music scene is Beats on Bates – a free live music series that offers visitors and locals alike the chance to wind down on a Wednesday evening, indulge in a meal and some drinks, and enjoy the musical stylings under the beautiful lights of Bates Alley.

 

 

State on the Street

The historic Kalamazoo State Theatre hosts State on the Street – a free event with live music from their iconic marquee, drink specials, giveaways and more! All of the events will are held on Fridays, starting at 5PM with live music from 5:30-8:30PM!

 

 

Music on the Mall – Saturdays in the Summer from June-September

Located on downtown’s historic Kalamazoo Mall, Music on the Mall will occur every Saturday from June through September, featuring regional artists performing a wide variety of music. Performances start at 3 p.m. and continue over the dinner hour until 6 p.m.

 

 

Performance Theatre

There are over a dozen theatre companies in Kalamazoo County, with many of them located downtown. Check out the following theatre companies below for their Summer 2021 show schedules.

 

 

Take a Self-guided Wall Crawl

Kalamazoo is home to some of Michigan’s most outstanding murals. These king-sized wall paintings offer a colorful, and vibrant sights – making the perfect background for some Insta-worthy selfies. Plenty of the county’s countless murals are located downtown.

 

 

 

 

Craft Culture

 

 

 

West Michigan Beer Tours

West Michigan Beer Tours offers beer and makers tours on foot, bike, or bus. They’ll act as your beer concierge and share the history of Michigan beer and Kalamazoo’s place in the state’s historic rise to one of the world’s beer meccas. WMBT will also introduce you to the people behind the beer in a fun, informative setting.

 

 

Central Commons Social District

Kalamazoo is now home to the Downtown Social District and within it the Central Commons Refreshment Area. You can grab a drink from a participating business and enjoy it while you stroll and shop through downtown.

 

 

Make Your Own Wine at Tempo Vino Winery

Taste and sample wine at Tempo Vino’s tasting bar to let your pallet decide which kind of wine you want to make, then have the experts craft a perfect recipe just for you! You’ll schedule a separate date to fill, cork, label, and seal your wine bottles.

 

 

 

Maker Culture

 

 

 

Shop 2nd Saturdays

Shop 2nd Saturdays is a monthly opportunity (the second Saturday of every month from June through October) to head downtown and check out local businesses, entrepreneurs, and makers.

 

 

Glass Art Kalamazoo

Glass Art Kalamazoo offers a variety of classes and experiences in glass blowing, lampworking, bead making, kiln fusing, and cold working. You can take in-person classes or purchase one of their take-home projects! They’re experts in their craft and are eager to share the beauty of glass making!

 

 

 

Mason Jar Plant Shop

The Mason Jar Plant Shop is a brand new store located downtown Kalamazoo! They are an independent plant shop offering house plants, a DIY terrarium bar, and a fabulous selection of curated gifts and decor.

 

 

Kalamazoo Candle Company

The Kalamazoo Candle Company Marketplace offers walk-in DIY candle making, as well as DIY candle kits that you can purchase on their website here. For walk-in candle making, your $15 studio fee ($10 for ages 5-12) includes all materials plus help from their candle making experts. Choose from dozens of fragrances and a variety of vessels!

 

 

Aroma Labs

The Aroma Labs offers a unique, interactive experience creating your own personal fragrance!

 

 

Bee Joyful

At Bee Joyful, eco-minded DIY enthusiasts can choose to attend one of many different workshops ranging from creating sugar and lip scrub, organic lip balm, and even a reusable beeswax wrap class.

 

 

Art Classes and Workshops with the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo

The Arts Council has a comprehensive list of workshops and classes available throughout the year.

 

 

 

Check out more information on Kalamazoo County’s Handcrafted Culture or how Kalamazoo is Made For You!