ArtPrize begins downtown

File photo.
File photo.

It’s almost the end of September, which means only one thing for Grand Rapids: ArtPrize.  For those of you who have been under a rock for the past three years, who are simply new to Grand Rapids and may or may not know anything about this fine community you currently find yourself in, ArtPrize is the biggest thing that has happened to Grand Rapids since Gypsum mining (just kidding, but really).

With over 1,500 different spaces and artists, the fourth annual ArtPrize has many different art pieces to offer. From photography exhibits, to paintings, sculptures and interactive art-pieces, this year has a any kind of art you can imagine and more; for example dinosaurs.

Gary and Travis Fields “A Second Chance at Life” is something that looks thrilling and exciting. This life-size sculpture of a tyrannosaurus rex skeleton is on display outside of the Ford Museum. This must-see exhibit is made out  paper mache  that is overlayed onto 75 percent recycled material, creating a piece that is supposed to represent breaking away from hardships.

Created by father and son, this 45 feet long and 23 feet high sculpture took over 4,000 hours of work this year. But this is just one of the thousand art pieces that took hours to create. No matter the scale of the work or mass the art appears to be, artists pour hours into creating what they have to offer whether it seem to be simply a photograph or just a drawing.

Beginning in 2009 as a competition, this 16-day art festival is unlike anything that has ever happened seemingly anywhere. Calling artists to display their work within contributing venues around Grand Rapids, this event is more than merely a festival; it’s the ultimate competition extravaganza.

But it gets better: the artists that win are all up to you in, through the use of any smartphone, texting or internet. Left to the choice of the voters, this art event really brings together the community. In the past three years, over one million people have visited and more are expected each year as the competition grows in both number of works displayed and public knowledge.

For those of you who know or have experienced ArtPrize, you know the chaos that explodes downtown, creating a delicious frenzy of people from across the world trying to discover what these talented artists have created for the audiences’ aural, visual and experimental enjoyment.

Commencing the 19th, the first round of voting will last 11 days for the audience to vote which pieces they think should go on as one of the top-ten pieces. September 30th, round two shall begin and will last 6 days until the winner and grand prize of $200,000 is determined. The runner up will win $75,000, $50,000 will be given to the 3rd winner, and the rest of the 10 winners will win $5,000 according to “M-Live.”

This is sure to be the best year for ArtPrize yet, so make sure you leave room in your busy schedule to go tour the 3 art-filled square miles of Grand Rapids, the 1517 entries, the 161 venues and the hours of enjoyable art-viewing.

About the Author

Colleen Keehl

Colleen Keehl is the Chimes Arts and Entertainment editor for the 2012-13 school year.

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