This page is dedicated to the life and memory of Benjamin J. Schaafsma, friend, brother, and son. Ben was accidentally struck by a car in Brooklyn, New York while walking on the morning of Thursday, October 23, 2008. He passed away on Saturday, October 25, 2008.
Ben was a native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he attended Forest Hills Central High School before earning his Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts at Calvin College. During his time in Grand Rapids, Ben was instrumental in bringing musical performances to the local venues and co-founded many community organizations and initiatives for culture and the arts, including The Division Avenue Arts Cooperative , G-RAD, and many more.
In the summer of 2006, Ben moved to Chicago to pursue a Master's degree in Arts Administration at The School of the Art Institute. His studies took him all around the United States and Europe. During his stay in Chicago, Ben co-founded InCUBATE, an institute that focused on bringing art into the practice of living and vice versa.
In August of 2008, Ben moved to New York City as a program director for Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts.
Ben Schaafsma was a man of many gifts, not least of all the ability to bring people together, as only a passing consideration of the diversity of people who have become friends through Ben's introductions reveals. Ben was characterized by his earnest humility, keen intellect, tireless creativity, generosity, and gentleness of spirit.
Though he will be dearly missed, Ben would be delighted at the occasion of those who survive him coming together to grow in friendship and community. Indeed, his life and memory will remain in the lives of those whom he befriended and inspired.
- Jonathan Dawe, friend.
Elsewhere: G-RAD Forum Discussion, NewCity Chicago Obit, Propositions Press, Gapers Block, Kimya Dawson [1 , 2], The New Black, Grand Rapids Press Notice, UHX Discussion, Hackneyed, Bad At Sports, BB, Death Notice (Guest Book)
There will be several community events to celebrate Ben's life in the Grand Rapids and Chicago areas. If you are making the trip to Grand Rapids and need a place to stay, please consult this thread. We will accomodate you!
Sunday Wednesday Soup
Wednesday, October 29, 2008 7:00 - 10:00pm (EST)
115 S. Division Ave.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
G-RAD, InCUBATE, and the DAAC are hosting a special potluck version of Ben's Sunday Soup granting program (read about all about it here) on Wednesday evening after his visitation. This is a potluck, so please bring a dish to pass, if possible. Otherwise, there will be loads of soup and other food available. We would like to use this opportunity to raise a little more money for Ben's family with a suggested donation of $10 per person. But any amount (or lack thereof) is welcome. Come remember our friend Ben.
We are currently collecting funds to assist Ben's family in this difficult time. You can help out by clicking the orange "ChipIn!" button in the little red widget to the right.
You can further spread the word by putting a copy of this widget on your own page. You can do that by pressing the "copy" button and copying and pasting the code it provides where you want it in your website's layout.
Michelle Harris is setting up an online art auction on ebay to help Ben's family with medical costs and to eventually establish a grant in his name. If you are interested in donating a piece that would be wonderful. To do so, please email her a quality image of the piece along with title, medium, size, and year of execution. Please keep in mind that it should be something easy to mail and that it will be your responsibility to do so. When the piece sells I will contact you with the buyer's information so that you can mail it to them.
If you have questions, please email Michelle or call her at (773) 218 9946.