For 19 days, approximately three square miles of the downtown Grand Rapids area is transformed into a place where the locals and tourists from all over the world come to interact and experience the largest art competition in the world for free.
In January, TIME Magazine rated ArtPrize as one of the top five festivals in the world that is considered a “must see” for 2013. It was the only festival on the list that was to take place in the United States.
Who would have guessed that Grand Rapids, also known as Beer City, and home to Grand Rapids Community College, hosts what TIME called the “most lucrative art competition” in the entire world? ArtPrize returns to Grand Rapids for its fifth year after the great success that has come with it in the years past.
According to ArtPrize’s Communications Director, Todd Herring, “because of the announcement in TIME, there has been a large amount of public interest very far in advance this year for ArtPrize than what there has been ever before.”
Rick DeVos founded ArtPrize in 2009 as an independent art competition in which anyone over the age of 18 that pays the $50 application fee and can get a venue to enter their art into.
The aspect that makes ArtPrize so welcome to the public is that in addition to having a panel of judges pick some of the winners, the really big winners are selected by the public who attend the event. ArtPrize gives away a total of $560,000 total in cash prizes. $360,000 is awarded by the public, and $200,000 is awarded by a panel of judges.
“Every year we have all new art, many (from) brand new artists, and a whole new experience to offer to the visitors who come to see the exhibits each year, ” Herring said. “This year we will be using venues like Calder Plaza much more, which is a venue in the past we have not put a ton of art at.”
Herring said that his favorite part of ArtPrize is simply “seeing people experience new things. Grand Rapids allows 400,000 people to come together to experience new things through art. The worst part of my job is simply seeing everything taken down on October 6. Everything that we work for all year to pull together is well worth it at that point.”
The GRCC Student Guide to ArtPrize:
- GRCC has two exhibits on our campus. On the fourth floor of the Main Building in the Collins Art Gallery, several pieces are featured, as well as in Spectrum Theater.
- Spectrum Theater: 160 Fountain St. NE, 5-8 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, noon to 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays.
- Collins Art Gallery: Fourth floor, Main Building, 143 Bostwick Ave. NE, Mondays through Thursdays, noon to 8 p.m Fridays and Saturdays, and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays.
- If you have more than just a few minutes between classes to hit up some venues, head to The B.O.B, and Amway Grand Plaza- both within walking distance of GRCC, and are a great way to see many pieces of ArtPrize all at once. On your walk to these locations other key art venues are along the way.
- The museums in the area- Ford Museum, Grand Rapids Public Museum, Urban Institute for Contemporary Art, and the Grand Rapids Art Museum also have great displays both inside and outside of the museums. For the first week and a half of ArtPrize many artists will be standing by their pieces, talking to people and trying to get votes. If you want to meet an artist of a specific piece, that beginning time is when you should do it.
- The ArtPrize app is a free download, and it includes a way to register to vote, a full list of every piece of art registered, and every venue that has pieces of ArtPrize art in it.
- Art bike tours are running at three different times throughout ArtPrize. It costs $5 to participate, and it goes through many of the major venues of ArtPrize.
- Among other activities happening at ArtPrize, there will be ArtWalks going on at various different times as a tour of many big venues of ArtPrize. There are also many opportunities to hear guest speakers at The Hub during ArtPrize.
- To find out more information, vist www.artprize.org.