Friday, October 4th:
We were off to Grand Rapids to check out ArtPrize and see what this little town was all about. On our drive to Grand Rapids we passed through Spring Lake (only about 10 minutes from Emily and Ian’s) and look who we found playing in Spring Lake the next night: Pat McGee Band. The band that brought Michelle and I together. We were so bummed to have to miss the show, but we had to keep on moving. Hope you rocked out Pat (although, we have no doubt that you did!).
We arrived in Grand Rapids, starving and ready to get out of the car – even though it was only an hour drive. We took Renee’s suggestion and popped into Hopcat for lunch – and a brewski. Hopcat is ranked 3rd best beer bar by Beer Advocate. Tasty lunch and fell in love with their beer. Yum!
We had never heard of ArtPrize prior to being told about it and were intrigued and interested to see what it was all about. ArtPrize, this being the 5th year, is an international art competition that lasts 19 days. What makes this art competition different from others is that it is juried (voted on) by the public.
What we found really intriguing about it, was that the entire town gets involved in hosting the artists. You will find some art hanging from the roofs of businesses, some in the museum (which is open to the public), some in parking lots, music stores, bars, restaurants, even the barber shop! It’s a great way to get the public – locals and visitors – into local businesses as well as to share art from all over the world.
The voting happens by registering and then you can either vote in certified areas throughout town, but most votes happen virtually – through your phones and computers. Each piece has a number you can text your vote too. Such a cool idea.
The art on display is vast. Three dimensional pieces, furniture installations, sculptures, artists working while on display, sustainable pieces, you name it.
The winner was announced on Friday night and the town was packed for the big announcement. Winner gets $200,000 while over $500,000 is given out total.
What a cool way to engage anyone and everyone to join the conversation about what they like, why and what art is. Here are a few of our favorites:
Thank you so much to Andrew, Grace’s brother, for having us in Grand Rapids. We showed up at his apartment with bags in hand and the poor guy was probably not sure what he had gotten himself into. We had an awesome night with Andrew, celebrating International Taco Day and heading out on the town. He had no idea it was International Taco Day and was already planning on making turkey tacos. Yes!
After an amazingly delicious dinner we headed over to Founders Brewery for a brewski (or two!).
Also, how amazing is this street artist we found while walking around!