Main city square in Bielsko-Biala with fountain in front of Sulk

The Bielsko-Biała committee has experienced exciting growth in the last few years and has added a number of unique and exciting projects to their agenda.

In June 2015, one committee member represented Grand Rapids at the Bielsko-Biała annual Festival of Partner Cities Celebration and carried out important conversations about upcoming projects with the sister city staff.

For the first time, two artists from Grand Valley State University (a professor and a student) will travel to our Polish sister city in June 2016 for an artist-in-residence program, guided by Bielska Gallery BWA. The city asked the artists to create an artwork in Bielsko-Biala, inspired by the city.

A Pen Pal Program started through the Cook Library in Grandville in 2015; the first few letter exchanges between the students have already been carried out.

The Committee again hosted an artist, photographer Inez Baturo, from Bielsko-Biała during ArtPrize 2016. In 2014, artist Natalia Pawlus from Bielsko-Biała arrived and exhibited her art piece called “Whiteness” at the DeVos Place. The unique handmade, traditional linocut technique and the display made ArtPrize visitors curious and engaged. While in Grand Rapids, she completed a mural that is permanently displayed in a City of Grand Rapids Parking Structure.

The music of Bielsko-Biała’s local jazz artists has been introduced yearly at GR JazzFest.

The Economic Development Department of the City of Grand Rapids and its partners the Regional Development Agency of Bielsko-Biała and the Strategy and Economic Development Department of the City of Bielsko-Biała have started to exchange studies and learn more about their partner sister cities’ economic incentives and programs. Their collaboration is planned to move toward sharing best practices and professional expertise.

Cultural trips to Chicago and Hamtramck are planned for the future.