Last night, the Division Avenue Arts Cooperative (DAAC), a venue for independent music and art in downtown Grand Rapids was visited by the Grand Rapids Fire Prevention Bureau. According to the Grand Rapids Press, the fire inspector who visited the site said that 143 people were in the venue, exceeding its 100-person capacity. Additional violations were also reportedly found, although they were not specified in the article published in the Press.
The DAAC had the following announcement on its website from long time DAAC volunteer Jeff Vandenberg:
OCTOBER 29 2004 – DECEMBER 27 2007
Well, the mighty hand of bureaucracy finally came down on us last night.
Apparently, some kid’s parents called the fire marshal on us for being over capacity. They wrote us up for several violations, and said I can expect calls from various other city inspectors today. I do not believe this is a battle we can win (or afford) so this is it, the end of an era. All shows are canceled. Thanks to everyone who played or booked or came to shows. It’s kind of amazing we made it over 4 years.”
The DAAC will no doubt be missed, as it had a long history of hosting a variety of independent cultural events including art exhibits, independent music concerts, and movie showings. Unlike other music venues in Grand Rapids, the DAAC was run cooperatively and emphasized the inherent value of art–whether music or otherwise–over profit. In its four years of existence, the DAAC hosted hundreds of musical events by local and national touring bands covering a wide range of music.
While there are no plans to open again at the current site, there is discussion about the future of the DAAC. The website G-Rad.org has an ongoing discussion about the DAAC on its forum. Moreover, there is a meeting planned for Saturday, January 5 at 12:00pm at Foodsmith (122 S. Division Ave.) to discuss the future of the DAAC.
For more on the history of the DAAC, there is an article on the venue on the Grand Rapids wiki Viget.org.