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Art Prize 2011 is upon us!!!!! 🙂

The city has been transformed and at 6:00 p.m. today, it will begin. The third year of this annual event…. ARTPRIZE! I am so excited!!!!! 🙂

A little over a month ago they started disassembling “Steam Pig” in the B.O.B parking lot and I knew exactly what that meant… Artprize was right around the corner! Slowly over the past couple of weeks, various works of art have been popping up all over downtown! It’s such an exciting time for this city!!!!

Artprize started three years ago with an idea that was birthed from the mind of Rick Devos. It was to be part arts festival and part social experiment. Artists may register their piece of art, locate a vendor (in which their artwork will be displayed) anywhere within the square radius of Alpine (West), Leonard (North), College (East) and Wealthy (West) and then work feverishly to have a finished product by the second to last week of September for the kick off event!!! Nearly 1,600 artists have entered pieces of art and over 160 venues have offered to host the art!

So the artists enter their work, but why?!?! To help create conversation? Yes. To help create community? Yes. To gain notoriety? Yes. To have a chance at taking home the first place prize of $250,000? Yes.  The total money given for prizes this year? $449,000!!!!! That is crazy! And I know they are trying to get the community involved in donating, so check out this link here if you would like help support Artprize: https://npo.networkforgood.org/Donate/Donate.aspx?npoSubscriptionId=1004141&code=NetworkForGood

All of this is fine and dandy, but I’m sure you are trying to figure out where you fit in!!! And this is the best part! YOU are the voter- YOU decide who wins the competition and YOU benefit from the interesting conversations the pieces of art will spark! Take a few days to walk around downtown and see as much art as possible!

Where do you begin with all of this? Stop by any of the 8 exhibition centers: Grand Rapids Art Museum, St. Cecillia’s Music Society, UICA, Dioceses of Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids Public Museum, Frederick Meijer Gardens, Women’s City Club- which are locations with 25+ pieces of art, an official art prize store and a voting registration kiosk. This is where you will register to be able to vote via text, phone app, or online for your favorite piece! YOU MUST REGISTER IN PERSON!!!!! Also pick up a map, guidebook and metro pass (all bundled for a mere $15 altogether) so that you might ride the RAPID and the ARTBUS for the entirety of Artprize!

Once you are registered you are free to walk around and find artwork around downtown. Jump on the Artbus or the Rapid to visit the locations outside of Center City! Go on one of the following GO TIME days to be eligible for prizes:
Westside: Friday, 9/23
Center City: Saturday, 9/24
Hillside: Sunday, 9/25
Heartside, Monday, 9/26
Monroe North/Belknap: Tuesday, 9/27

For the first week, you can vote for ANY artist (yes, you can vote as many times as you please!) that you think deserves to be in the TOP TEN. Voting for this part of the competition ends at 11:59 p.m.September 28 with the TOP TEN being announced on the 29th, thus beginning the second part of the voting process! From September 29th thru October 5th you may vote ONCE for the pieces of art that have been selected for the TOP TEN. On October 6th the winner will be announced (you may purchase tickets for this event)!

Other exciting things?
*Audio guides for Artprize- look for the logo and number which you can call to hear a statement about their artwork
*Hope network will have buses to come and fetch people who are unable to attend otherwise
*41 Sheldon is the HUB (the brain of the organization)

If you have more questions, please visit artprize.org and do some research! OR you can find a person on the street with an “ASK ME!” vest on! Or visit the HUB (the brain of this event) and there will people there to answer questions!

website: artprize.org
location: entire radius between Alpine and College, and Leonard and Wealthy
hours: “official hours” where there will be ASK ME people on the streets and all venues are REQUIRED to be open
Mon- Thurs: 12pm- 8pm, Fri- Sat: 12pm- 10pm, Sun: 12pm- 6pm
dates: September 21- October 9