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ArtPrize starts in Grand Rapids after a two-year absence

ArtPrize starts in Grand Rapids after a two-year absence

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – ArtPrize started Thursday in Grand Rapids and drew visitors to downtown to check out 881 items, ranging from sculptures and paintings to murals and more, scattered throughout the city.

In the middle of the afternoon, visitors, university students and office workers could be seen examining items at the Monroe Center, in front of the Amway Grand Hotel and elsewhere in the city center.

“It puts Grand Rapids on the map in terms of art,” said Daniel Yonge, a 34-year-old Kentwood resident who, along with his wife and children, checked out Tin Man. The 17-foot-tall steel sculpture of the Oz character wizard stands on the corner of Pearl and Monroe streets in front of the Amway Grand Plaza hotel.

“It’s a great way to showcase the city,” Young said.

This year, ArtPrize marks its return to Grand Rapids.

The event, which runs until October 3, was last held in 2018 after being canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. And while ArtPrize is back, this year’s version is especially different from this year’s past.

As COVID-19 infections increase across Michigan, driven by the infectious Delta variant, ArtPrize has focused on outdoor venues, and some indoor venues have fewer entries than in previous years. Almost half of this year’s venues are outdoors.

There is also less art than in the current year – 881 entries this year compared to around 1,260 in 2018.

With sunshine and temperatures close to 80 degrees, Thursday’s weather was ideal for exploring ArtPrize.

“It’s a beautiful day and I’m excited to be outside and enjoy art and many people’s creations,” said Elizabeth Hartzler, a Greenville resident who said she has attended ArtPrize on opening day every year since the event. held for the first time in 2009.

She, too, checked out the Tin Man sculpture as she talked about her experience Thursday. She said her day started at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, followed by a stop at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, and that she was now on her way to check out items near the Amway Grand.

“I really enjoyed it,” Hartzler said when asked what she thought of the ArtPrize 2021. “Some great exhibits and many things that might interest a number of people.”

She said she had not seen enough of this year’s event to compare it to previous years.

But she added: “I would say that one of the things I enjoyed about the first year was that you could walk around the city, you could get to know the city, and every time you made a turn, you would there be another work of art. Later it was more limited to the venues … I do not know what to expect this year, but so far I enjoy being outside. ”

Other changes this year include the elimination of the public vote, the mechanism used since the start of the event to select the main prize winner. ArtPrize does not announce top 100, top 20 or top 10 payers based on the public vote.

ArtPrize has replaced it with an interactive game in hunter hunting, where participants individually award prize money, ranging from $ 250 to $ 1,500, directly to artists. This means that every artist, not just the main prize winners, has a chance to take home prize money.

The prize money as well as non-monetary prizes are digitally hidden inside QR codes that can be scanned with a smartphone, at ArtPrize locations throughout the city. A contestant who scans a code and discovers that he or she has won a prize will then award that prize to any artist of their choice.

Overall, there is also less prize money for artists this year – $ 250,000 compared to $ 500,000 in 2018.

The winner of the main prize will be “determined by interactions (prizes awarded) within the game-they can be monetary or non-monetary”, according to ArtPrize. The winner will be announced on October 1st.

As in other years, ArtPrize will offer ArtPrize Education Days.

Sponsored by PNC Bank, Education Days offers opportunities for PreK-12 students in the region and state and provides educators with resources like Digital Education Kits to help students create their own experiences.

On Sunday, September 19, the winner of the SmartArt competition will be named among 10 Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) finalists. The annual competition, which focuses on energy-related art, is a partnership between ArtPrize, Consumers Energy and GRPS. The winner will receive a $ 1,000 scholarship from consumers.

The finalists’ artwork will hang on a banner outside Consumer’s Energy Electric Transformer Station in downtown Fulton Street and Market Avenue during ArtPrize.

Read more:

‘It’s like a holiday:’ Grand Rapids companies are preparing for the return of ArtPrize

Your guide to ArtPrize 2021

Artists are preparing their contributions to ArtPrize 2021

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