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Vines & Verses

Enjoy a night out complete with jazz, specialty food and drinks highlighting features grown on vines! The James & Shirley Balk Café will offer food and drink specials available for purchase. Music and poetry will be showcased throughout the evening in the Garden Pavilion, featuring the sculpture Utopia by Jaume Plensa.
Music & Poetry | 6–8 pm
Food & Drinks | 5:30–8 pm
Enjoy a mix of jazz, R&B, and poetry from artists like Bedrock: The Foundation, Gleason Edwards, Caleb “The Negro Artist” Rainey, and Foster aka AutoPilot.
This event is included with admission.


Artist Information


Bedrock: The Foundation has been playing together since 2014, after meeting while playing in a former group. Bedrock had been in the making for a long time. Members have been playing together unofficially since the mid-2000s as parts of other bands. Founded in Grand Rapids, the band consists of Kamyle Jackson on bass, Orlando James on drums and Rodney Rhodes on keys. They’re known to play with various musical artists in Michigan and have guest musicians join them on occasion. Usually playing a mix of hip-hop and R&B, Bedrock: The Foundation can play as many genres as their eclectic music tastes allow.


Foster aka AutoPilot is a professional orator who can be seen capturing hearts on movie sets, moving minds on panels, igniting spirits with spoken word, and commanding the city’s largest stages. Foster is rich with humor and brings that joy into his work as a teaching artist with one of the city’s premier arts and culture nonprofit organizations—The Diatribe—which he co-founded.

A dedicated father who currently resides in Grand Rapids, this Michigan Native was born in Detroit and raised in Muskegon. AutoPilot is a graduate of Grand Valley State University, playwright, lyricist, nightlife extraordinaire, and the brainchild who co-curated “The Drunken Retort,” one of the “Must Experience Events in the City.” —Grand Rapids Magazine

AutoPilot breathes impromptu truths and truly lives to connect people, be that through community organizing, officiating weddings, or The Original Back to the ‘90s party—which he co-founded—that has sold out nearly 30 shows.


Instagram: @IamAutoPilot


Gleason is a Michigan poet and performer whose sharp tongue and soulful heart educate, encourage, and inspire. Gleason’s work has been commissioned by local and national organizations, including The Hope Network and The National Fair Housing Alliance. They have represented Grand Rapids in poetry slams on national stages and co-coached The Retort United Slam team from 2017-2019, which took home the third-place trophy for Group Piece Finals at the 2018 National Poetry Slam.

Raised in a fundamental, evangelical church where their faith was often at odds with their soul, Gleason has rooted their art in the idea that poetry is a way of seeing the world, a way of seeing god in unexpected places. They believe in pipe dreams and that words have the power to change the world. They have spoken at TEDX events, education conferences, and universities across the country and their work has been featured by NPR,, Curve Magazine, and DivaMag UK. They love kayaking and biking and spending time with friends.


Caleb “The Negro Artist” Rainey is an author, performer and producer. He has published two books, Look, Black Boy and Heart Notes; released two albums; is the winner of several slams across the United States; and curates a community of spoken word in Iowa City through his high school program, IC Speaks, and producing events like the Mic Check Poetry Fest.




Nov 14 2023


5:30 pm - 8:00 pm


Featured Event


Sunday 11 am - 5 pm
Monday 9 am - 5 pm
Tuesday 9 am - 9 pm
Wednesday 9 am - 5 pm
Thursday 9 am - 5 pm
Friday 9 am - 5 pm
Saturday 9 am - 5 pm


Members (with ID) FREE
Adults (14-64) $20.00
Seniors (65 and older) $15.00
Students (with student ID) $15.00
Museums for All $2.00
Children (3-13) $10
Children (2 and younger) FREE


scheduled grounds maintenance

On Tuesday, April 16, the Treehouse Village and Woodland Boardwalk in the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden and the Gwen Frostic Woodland Shade Garden will be closed due to tree removal for the safety of our guests. Thank you for your understanding. 

Garden closures

Please note: The Harvey Lemmen Sculpture Gallery in the Sculpture Park will be closed May 20-21 for scheduled tree work. Thank you for your understanding.

Spring Break Hours

Extended Hours

Enjoy extended spring break hours until 9 pm on April 1-5.

Extended Member Early Hours

Each Sunday from 9-11 am during Fred & Dorothy Fichter Butterflies Are Blooming and Saturday, April 6, from 8-9 am. 


Sunday 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Monday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tuesday 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
Wednesday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thursday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Friday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm


Members (with ID) FREE
Adults (14-64) $20.00
Seniors (65 and older) $15.00
Students (with student ID) $15.00
Museums for All $2.00
Children (3-13) $10
Children (2 and younger) FREE