41 Sheldon Blvd. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
You know what I always say: if you don’t know what to call something, just call it what it is. And that’s exactly what Art Prize is: a huge art competition every fall in Grand Rapids where you get prizes if you win.
Actually, Art Prize is a lot more than that. It’s become an art phenomenon, with nineteen days, three square miles, almost two hundred different venues and over 1,700 artists from around the world competing for almost a half million dollars in prize money. Everywhere you look in downtown GR you’ll find some of the most amazing, creative and overwhelming art you’ll see anywhere.
Grand Rapids has a great collaborative spirit, and the entire city embraces this colossal event. The entire downtown turns into a giant gallery with art literally everywhere. You’ll see everything from colossal displays in public spaces to showcases in stores, lobbies and even on the sides of buildings. From giant sculptures and even mechanical contraptions to classic, modern and the abstract, every creative kind of art in every medium is represented. It’s eye candy for the human spirit.
The real prize in Art Prize is what it does for the human condition. After experiencing it, you feel alive and proud to be a creature from Planet Earth. And even prouder to be from Michigan.
Next time you’re looking for something cool to look at in a cool city with tons of cool people and cool things to do, check out Art Prize. It’s one of the coolest things you’ll ever do.
One of the artists we followed through Art Prize was Ritch Branstrom. He’s an amazing found-object artist who shared an incredible story with us. For years he concentrated solely on his art and went without a television. One day he decided to reconnect with the broadcast world and went out to buy a TV. He returned home, turned it on and the very first thing he saw was Under the Radar Michigan featuring some of his art at the Crooked Tree Art Center in Petoskey. Imagine not watching a TV for years, and the first thing you see when you turn one on is some weird guy with a hat and mustache jumping up and down about how great your tin can fish art is. Wonderfully weird, and so UTR! If you get a chance, look up Ritch’s work. Incredible.