ArtPrize! I blew it!

ArtPrize: I really blew it.

Well, just when a major and I mean Major Art World Moment  was occurring in Grand Rapids, my home town, I was off with my husband lallygagging around Colorado, Utah and New Mexico.  It was all very fun and beautiful but, oh my gosh!  Like many people, I was caught by surprise and missed much of it.DSC_0014

The whole thing was pretty amazing.  A huge art competition that broke all the rules and brought thousands of people downtown to vote, talk and explore their city.  Details are in post to follow this one.

Rick DeVos, the who createad this brainchild  said his goal was to, “reboot the conversation around art.”   That he did.

Trust me.  I won’t miss ArtPrize again.  Already got the time slot blocked out on my calendar.    Next year I’m pounding the pavement daily to see as much as I can see.  Hope to host artists in our home and take part in a big way.  Will Post! Post! Post!

photo-10But since I don’t feel I can be a self respecting design and travel blogger without including ArtPrize on DesignDestinations someplace,    I’m going to post some photos and a summary of what I think are the most interesting comments and observations about ArtPrize that I have read or heard.

I hope anyone from GR who attended ArtPrize will add his or her thoughts in the comment box.DSC_0021

A big question throughout the entire event has been “What is Art?”  Is it a large replica of the Loch Ness Monster in the Grand River?  Tricycles with recycled toilets attached?  Beautiful oil painting depicting gorgeous scenes on our planet? Glass mosaics? A gigantic table with schmaltzy art folk painting?  Photo images on salt? Sculptures made from nails? Portraits painted in thumbtacks?  All these and much more—over 1200 pieces were folded, welded, painted, and submitted as ArtPrize entries.

Thousands of people showed up every day for three weeks to gawk and vote and talk. One commentator said we were “conversing ourselves senseless.”   Another one said, “I’m ArtFried.”

Artprize, planned and executed by 20Somethings, left some of the more mature members of the art community in Grand Rapids scratching their heads with the changes in rules and guidelines. It was a rapid pace prototyping.

The entertainment reporter for  the Grand Rapids Press said, “it’s big.  It’s lucrative.  It’s quirky.”

Some of the venues were outdoors, on bridges, front lawns, parks, museum walls.  Some like the B.O.B., a downtown restaurant and entertainment venue,  were carnival like.  Others like Tanglefoot, an old warehouse populated with artists’ studios—industrial and raw and open.

One observant blogger described the whole thing as a gigantic scavenger hunt.  “Find the artist, climb inside this venue, poke into dark corners, visit a new neighborhood and move to the next one.  It’s a massive multi-player, explore your own city game.”   From the little I saw, I agree.

It was a respite and retreat from the world’s troubles.  It was truly amazing.

DSC_0031My favorite comment of all: “While it is interesting to see who has taken home the money, the real winner is Grand Rapids.”

This entry was posted in Amazing. Simply Amazing!, ArtPrize, Experiences, MIchigan and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to ArtPrize! I blew it!

  1. Peggy DePersia says:

    Like you, I was out of town during most of Artprize. Though Jerry and I attended the initial information meeting at UICA when Artprize was announced in May. our first thought was that it was going to be a messy undertaking but ‘more power to them’. We were pleased and impressed that ‘the youngsters’ pulled it off so well. We caught some of the outdoor art with our son and his girlfriend the day before the event closed. It was a sometimes cold and windy day yet people were crawling all over downtown GR, young people, old peopled, children in strollers and all ages in between. It was exciting and an image of what all of our cities could look like again ….bustling, alive, and filled with people participating in and enjoying a grand attraction. It was an image of a kind of city I knew as a kid, an image that has suffered dramatically over time. One woman, interviewed on TV, exclaimed that she was so proud of our city. I had that fulness of feeling for the good vibe that Artprize had created for Grand Rapids as well.

  2. Like you, we were out East ” camping and exploring” West Virginia. We will not miss next year. We did get a chance to tour some of the outdoor pieces but no time for indoor venues. What an amazing initiative and community response. I have always felt “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” and the opportunity for everyday people to have an equal vote is what set this competition apart. I just wish they would keep pieces up longer – disappointed my far away college kids cannot see their very cool city at it’s best!

  3. tommyallenart says:

    Susan, Happy to see you made a posting about ArtPrize. It was a great event to be a part of and while I did not show at Tanglefoot, I would have loved to have had you and Jack visit the Kissing Booth. It was a wonderful experience for me.

    Looking forward to your coverage of ArtPrize 2010.


  4. smithsj says:

    I’m sorry we didn’t get to the Kissing Booth. Would have enjoyed that! For sure next year if you do it again or something equally as creative.

    Thanks for your comment.

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