Grandville Avenue Arts and Humanities (GAAH) provides two safe havens for learning: the Cook Library Center (formerly the Grandville Avenue Neighborhood Library) and the Cook Arts Center (formerly the Grandville Avenue Academy for the Arts.) Administering the programs of the Cook Arts Center and the Cook Library Center, our mission of transforming lives in the Grandville Avenue neighborhood through reading and the arts and by celebrating the community’s cultural richness is played out every day through the programs and services that we offer.
Situated in a predominantly Latino neighborhood, GAAH was created in 1999 as a result of several years of collaboration between the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association, the Grand Rapids Dominicans, and area residents. Endeavoring to address the needs in the Grandville Avenue neighborhood surrounding gang-activity, housing, and inadequate municipal services on behalf of the materially poor and marginalized, GAAH invested with other community organizations, churches, and businesses to build and staff a Neighborhood Library, and an Arts Academy, to assist children and adults of the Grandville Avenue neighborhood in having a safe environment in which to pursue reading, study, and the arts.
The Grandville Avenue Neighborhood Library, located at 1260 Grandville Avenue SW, opened its doors in the fall of 1996. After quickly outgrowing that facility, GAAH built a new facility at 1100 Grandville Avenue SW which opened on October 1, 2008 and was named the Cook Library Center. Since the original library opened more than 4,000 library cards have been issued to youth and adults of the Grandville Avenue neighborhood. Library programs and services include:
- Access to resource materials, books, magazines, and periodicals
- Access to public computers for homework and internet access
- A weekly storytelling session for kindergarten students at Hall Elementary school
- A monthly after-school story time and activity session
- After-school homework assistance by the librarian and college volunteers
The Grandville Avenue Academy for the Arts, located at 644 Grandville Avenue SW, opened in June of 2001 and was renamed the Cook Arts Center in December of 2008. Located approximately 1 mile north of the Cook Library Center, the Cook Arts Center serves a population that is 74% Latino and 11% African American. Children who reside or attend school in the Grandville Avenue neighborhood are able to take classes for free. Arts programming for children and adults includes:
- Art classes (drawing and painting, watercolor, sculpture, after-school art studio, multicultural beads, mixed media, printmaking)
- Sewing classes (children and adult sewing, multicultural sewing)
- Clay classes (children’s potter’s wheel, after-school pottery studio, parent-tot pottery, adult pottery open studio)
- Dance classes (Mexican Folkloric dance, ballet, world dance, Hawaiian dance, creative movement, Latin dance, pre-ballet, hip hop)
- Music lessons (guitar, piano/keyboard, violin)