Living Artfully: Gifts from Dana Friis-Hansen and Mark Holzbach

Sep 10, 2022 — Dec 3, 2022
Level 1 Galleries

Throughout its history, the Grand Rapids Art Museum’s collection has grown primarily through the generous gifts of donors from our community. As part of the 10th annual Live Artfully event, GRAM celebrates the artful and civic contributions of Dana Friis-Hansen and Mark Holzbach, accompanied by an exhibition of their gifts of art to the Museum’s permanent collection. 

Dana Friis-Hansen and Mark Holzbach came to West Michigan when Dana was appointed GRAM’s Director and CEO in 2011. Mark has been locally active as a volunteer and networker in various community organizations, and after two decades in high-tech, he started Tiny World Tours in 2015, an international cultural tourism company. They have contributed gifts of art to GRAM since 2019. 

Dana started collecting art while still in college, buying works by emerging artists from alternative spaces and pop-up art sales. Over their three decades together, Dana and Mark have built strong relationships with artists, galleries, museums, and cultural institutions, allowing them to collect the work of well-known artists as well as artists at the beginning of their careers. 

For the first time, this exhibition draws together a majority of the gifts donated by Dana and Mark over their 11-year history with the Museum, as well as the promised gifts they plan to donate in the future. 

Travel has been a central part of their lives, continually shaping the art they’ve collected over the years. Career moves have brought them from Boston to Tokyo, then Houston to Austin, and most recently, to Grand Rapids, and they have acquired work by artists in each of these cities.

When we lived in Japan, we came to understand that rich culture better through the art we saw and artists we came to know, and we are excited to share it with GRAM.” said Dana. Japanese artists such as Yayoi Kusama, Takashi Murakami, and Hiroshi Sugimoto, as well as Enrique Chagoya (American, b. Mexico) Shahzia Sikander (American, b. Pakistan), and Olafur Eliasson (Danish, b. Iceland) were selected for gifts to broaden the international diversity of the Museum’s permanent collection.” 

Dana and Mark’s artistic legacy is built upon their strong commitment to supporting and collecting from a diverse community of artists. Their gift of art enables GRAM to increase the breadth and depth of living artists within its collection — adding works by unrepresented artists and complementary works to objects already within the collection. 

It is especially meaningful for us to donate works by artists who have exhibited at GRAM or are already in the collection, including Anila Quayyum Agha, Louise Bourgeois, Steve Frykholm, Adonna Khare, Christian Marclay, and Alexis Rockman, among others.” 

This exhibition celebrates the spirit of generosity that is so readily apparent in the demeanor, actions, and passions of Dana and Mark, and represents just one of the many ways they have contributed to GRAM and the Grand Rapids community.