Motu Viget

Experience Grand Rapids
Written By Experience Grand Rapids

Get ready to be wowed - Grand Rapids never fails to surprise visitors with the huge variety of things to see and do here: World-renowned art, museums and historic sites for cultural vacationers. World-class golf, recreation and beaches for nature lovers. Incredible farm-to-table restaurants for foodies and wholesome "playcation" fun for families.

“Motu Viget” is the official city motto of Grand Rapids. It’s Latin for “Strength in Activity” and that is just what this 33-foot high, 12-ton sculpture is meant to portray. It was created by internationally renowned sculptor Mark di Suvero, who is known for designing large-scale public artworks that interact with the wind, their surroundings and their audience.

This work was commissioned by the U.S. General Services Administration for its current spot outside the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Building. But the sculpture you see is quite different than the one di Suvero originally proposed – so different that the General Services Administration considered rejecting the finished piece. More than 1,000 local residents signed petitions and wrote letters to convince the agency otherwise, and the sculpture was installed in 1977 for an event called Sculpture off the Pedestal. Di Suvero told the Grand Rapids Press that “All of us are children at heart – or were children and have forgotten it. The child in us can respond to the piece.” Generations of local children have grown up swinging on the sculpture’s tire. No wonder, then, that most of us typically refer to the sculpture as simply “The Tire Swing.”

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Motu Viget

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