KCAD educator and artist Devin DuMond paints path for public art

Devin DuMond, a multidisciplinary artist and faculty member at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University ( (KCAD), has spent their summer teaching public art in their Mural Illustration course. 

The course, which wrapped up this week, immerses students in the art of mural creation, allowing them to work directly on KCAD’s walls and explore various techniques, client collaborations, and contracts. 

DuMond's dual roles as an artist and educator underscore their commitment to nurturing talent while leaving a lasting impact on the community through public art.

“Murals matter because they bring art to public spaces,” DuMond says. “So many times art is only found in galleries or museums. With murals, you get art right where you are connecting to the public, and it's a really exciting way to bring that kind of experience to the world.”

CourtesyDevin DuMond's mural at Third Nature Brewing.

They are among the six local artists who contributed to the newly expanded Concourse A at Gerald R. Ford International Airport. This project, part of a $110 million expansion, includes custom terrazzo flooring, an aerial art installation, and murals. This initiative aims to enhance the travel experience by showcasing the natural beauty of West Michigan and inspiring travelers from around the world.

“We were honored to partner with Devin DuMond and other West Michigan-based artists to paint murals in our newly expanded Concourse A,” says Tory Richardson, president and CEO of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority. “DuMond’s mural captures the variety of Grand Rapids’ architecture while creating an enjoyable experience for all guests traveling to and from the Airport. We are grateful for their creativity and artistic talent in our community.”

DuMond's mural, “Twilight on the Rapids,” draws inspiration from their hometown of Grand Rapids, blending the city's architectural forms with the organic shapes of the Grand River and lush landscapes.

DuMond, who graduated from KCAD with a bachelor of fine arts degree in Illustration in 2005 and a master of fine arts in 2010, began their mural work over five years ago. Their journey into mural art started with a project for their yoga studio, and through referrals, they have expanded their portfolio to include about 10 murals around West Michigan.

“There are some buildings in the skyline that represent Grand Rapids specifically, but I kind of mashed up different architectures. It was almost memory-based, my associations with Grand Rapids and the buildings there,” DuMond says about their creative process.

Photo by Tommy AllenAlyssa Macek works on her mural.

CourtesyDetail of Devin DuMond's mural at Third Nature Brewing.
CourtesyDetail of Devin DuMond's mural at the Matchbox Diner.

For DuMond, the appeal of murals lies in their visibility and the challenge of creating large-scale, site-specific art. 

“Being able to connect with potentially thousands, if not more, people who might not find themselves inside a gallery or an art museum is really cool,” they say. “Murals bring art to public spaces, making it accessible and integrated into everyday life.”

As murals gain popularity, especially in the Grand Rapids area, DuMond sees a movement towards more public art, fostering opportunities for diverse artistic perspectives and styles. This summer marks their third year teaching the mural class at KCAD, a testament to the growing interest among students in acquiring mural art skills.

As more communities and businesses commission murals, both exterior and interior, this art form is creating demand for mural tours. If DuMond were to give a tour of some or their mural work, here’s what it would include: 

CourtesyDetail of Devin DuMond's mural at Gerald R. Ford International Airport.

Ford Airport Mural
Located at gate A9 at Gerald R. Ford International Airport, Grand Rapids
This mural depicts a detailed grid design showcasing a cityscape and houses inspired by her hometown of Grand Rapids. While some of the imagery included are specific landmarks (the Blue Bridge, the Varnum building, and the Grand River), other parts are creative “mash-ups” to represent different types of architecture found throughout the city. Rather than a literal representation of GR, this is her interpretation based on memory and experience.
CourtesyDevin DuMond's mural at 12th House.

12th House Mural
Located at The 12th House, 8 Jefferson Ave. SE, Grand Rapids 
This mural features a large zodiac wheel with the 12 astrological signs and larger-than-life flowers that hold personal meaning to the shop owner. The colorful rainbow stripes within the wheel are a nod to the LGBTQ+ community, an important aspect of the shop’s identity.
CourtesyDevin DuMond's mural at the Matchbox Diner.

Matchbox Diner Mural
Located at Matchbox Diner, 1345 Lake Drive SE, Grand Rapids
Celebrating the Eastown neighborhood, this mural includes elements that symbolize some of the area’s businesses and the community as a whole. Bright colors, whimsical dogs on bikes, and stylized forms come together to create an eye-catching design.
CourtesyDetail of Devin DuMond's mural at Third Nature Brewing.

Third Nature Brewing Mural
Located at Third Nature Brewing Co, 7733 Childsdale Ave. NE, Rockford 
This mural juxtaposes geometric forms and scenes from nature to not only capture the branding of the brewery but also the scenic landscape that surrounds it. The mural’s features include “Hoppy” the groundhog (a resident of the brewery), flowing hops vines, and other animals found in this area.

CourtesyDevin DuMond's mural at Van Andel Arena.

Van Andel Arena Mural
Located in the suite entrance at Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids
This mural showcases a variety of fun illustrations depicting events and features of the arena on the lower wall with elements of Grand Rapids on the upper wall. The irregular grid design adds visual movement throughout the piece and utilizes a limited color palette.

Photos by Tommy Allen and courtesy of Devin DuMond.

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