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GRCC hosts ArtPrize venue, event expected to attract crowds to Grand Rapids during opening weekend

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The three exhibits located on the south end of Juan R. Olivarez Student Plaza for ArtPrize 2021. (Photo Courtesy of GRCC Communications)

By Mia Kerner

From Thursday, Sept. 15 to Sunday Oct. 2, the streets of downtown Grand Rapids will be beautified by the creative minds of those who dare to make their visions reality. 

Being a staple of the city, Grand Rapids Community College will also be home to numerous art installations over the course of the 18-day event. 

GRCC’s Paul Collins Gallery will be home to at least three art installations. The pieces were created by artists Ginger Creasy and Jessica Newell, a student-teacher duo, Morehead State University instructor Gary Mesa-Gaido, and South Korean solo exhibitionist Seongbae Cho.

Located on the fourth floor of the Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall, the Paul Collins Gallery will be open from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

Accompanying the ArtPrize submissions, there will also be a gallery full of GRCC students’ artworks at the same location. 

GRCC Fine Arts Department Head Nick Atonakis, said of this gallery “even though these artworks are not entered in ArtPrize, our community will be able to enjoy the talented expressions of our students while they visit our venue.” 

GRCC student Christina Hindley has also submitted an ArtPrize entry near campus, located at Park Congregational Church.

Hindley’s piece, which features 14,114 quilled paper hearts, is titled, “For the Love of Hope and Harmony.”

Investing hundreds of hours into her work, Hindley explained in her artist statement that My purpose is to show everybody that we are a lot more similar than we are different. All of the hearts are individual but similar and then put together in what looks like a sunset because that’s something that everybody can see all over the world from anywhere you are. So, it’s a unifier. I feel like there’s just so much division right now. I wanted to do something to pull people together.”

A new category has been added to the ArtPrize roster this year: Digital art. This category includes any piece that can be displayed electronically on TVs, tablets and projection equipment.

Though this new category will be an interesting addition to the variety of art pieces, paintings, drawings, sculptures and the like will not be in low supply.

Over 750 artists are competing in this year’s ArtPrize, each contributing entries for the public to admire. 

“ArtPrize provides an opportunity for the public to have conversations/discussions about art, to contemplate the meaning of artworks and the impetus that produced the artworks on exhibition; to share with friends the art they have enjoyed, and to be involved (even for a brief time) in the world of art,” Antonakis said. 

“The city of Grand Rapids becomes an artistic center, a place where art becomes the center of our dialogue and our community,” he said. “Culturally this makes our city very desirable as a destination and it makes those of us who live here very proud. Year after year we share ArtPrize, we enjoy ArtPrize, and we share it in community.”

To find out where installations will be located, refer to the digital map and guidelines provided by ArtPrize Grand Rapids.

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