Or, Welcome Back, I should say! I’m absolutely in love with our city. I love playing tourist and checking out new places, so naturally I tend to geek out over ArtPrize every single year.

This year, ArtPrize is taking over Grand Rapids from September 19 – October 7 and will have over 1,000 artists and 200 of our amazing venues participating.

If you are not familiar with ArtPrize, you’ve come to the right place although, there’s so much information, you should probably check out the website after reading this blog. But long-story-short; it’s an open art competition judged equally by public vote and expert jury. Any kind of art can be submitted. Art is displayed EVERYWHERE like coffee shops, museums, restaurants, outdoors, vacant buildings, the river, etc. There’s even art ON the buildings. Basically, you have to experience this if you haven’t already!

I understand that it can be overwhelming, especially if you are in the mood to “see it all”. My advice is to start at a few venues and see where the day takes you!

Here are my three favorite places to start:

  1. The Amway Grand Hotel – not only is the hotel incredibly beautiful, they usually have some pretty large pieces, and several of them! They have a newly renovated bar if drinks are on the agenda, otherwise The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck is a favorite for lunch!
  2. The Blue Bridge – gorgeous views and cool art! Sometimes you’ll even find an interactive piece here. A must see!
  3. The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum – There is no admission to enter so you can check out the awesome museum AND ArtPrize at the same time. You can also meet some of the artists that are on display there on September 20 at 6:00 pm. VERY COOL. (More info on this event can be found at: https://www.fordlibrarymuseum.gov/)

Additionally, here are some helpful hints that I wish someone had told me the first time I visited ArtPrize:

  • Wear comfy shoes! This is such a good opportunity to walk the city and get some fresh air.
  • Vote!! There is a $200,000 cash prize that does to the artist with the most votes – decided by the PUBLIC. That’s you! You can vote on the ArtPrize app or online.
  • Go to new places. As much as I love to go to new places, I tend to end up at the same tried and true restaurants. Venture out!
  • Don’t shy away from bringing kids! The Children’s Museum is open and there are tons of exhibits kids will find interesting. It’s never too early to expose children to the great art of GR.
  • Downtown condo shopping is also super fun during this time because the vibe of the city is so energized! If you are in the market for home shopping, please connect with me – I’d be happy to assist!

Author: Brooke Finlan

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