Happy Mitten Monday everyone!
One of my favorite events in the whole entire state is starting this week and I’ve been so excited to tell you all about it! Back in my college days (ugh. I feel so old saying that) a little thing called Art Prize came to Grand Rapids. No one really knew what it was, or what it was all about, but we knew one thing… the media was totally hyping it up.
So, me and all my friends (newly sophomores in the Valley) made our way from Allendale to Downtown to check out what everyone was talking about. And Oh. Em. Gee. We were freaking amazed.
ArtPrize is unlike any art competition you’ve been to before. It’s not like going into a museum, where you quietly walk around and can’t touch anything. It’s quirky, it’s weird, it’s interactive and it’s down right amazing. And if you haven’t been, you are seriously missing out. It is the number one most attended art competition on the PLANET. The number one mission of ArtPrize is to start a conversation about what art is, and why it is important. Every fall, three square miles of Downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan finds itself covered in art from around the globe. It covers every inch of downtown, from massive exhibits on the lawns of the parks to over 160 venues, which include museums, bars, galleries, theaters, walls, bridges and even the river. And guess what? It is all FREE for the public to enjoy. No joke!
Here is how it works. Anyone over the age of 18 can submit their art to be a part of ArtPrize, and any place within the ArtPrize district can be your venue. Do you even have to be an artist to participate? NOPE. You can be like me, someone who literally can’t draw anything except a beach scene, and enter your work. And then, the public gets to vote.
Well it gets even cooler. The winner takes home $500K. In cash.
Now, I have never (and probably won’t ever) submit any work to ArtPrize, but that won’t stop me from visiting every year. ArtPrize makes the city come alive. It something that can’t be put in to words, and you truly need to see it for yourselves. There is nothing like spending your day weaving in and out of streets, buildings, bars and galleries. Every year I go, I end up filling up my SD card with pictures because I just can’t seem to take enough. I’m super excited to be heading there the first weekend in October to check out this year’s art with my family!
So, long story short, make your way to Grand Rapids! ArtPrize begins September 21st, and ends on October 9th. (Be sure to download the ArtPrize app before you go, for inside information, voting, and a map of all the art.) Here are a few pictures of my absolute FAVORITE ArtPrize moments from the past 7 years. I can’t wait to head back for year 8!
Check out some videos from past years of ArtPrize here (scroll down to the bottom)!