Story by Bhavya Thamman, Reporter
Photo Courtesy Bhavya Thamman
Grand Rapids’ most anticipated event of the year is fast approaching! ArtPrize 9 is slated to run from September 20 to October 8. This will be the ninth installment of GR’s premier art festival, drawing in artists and viewers alike from all parts of the world.
Artists compete in two main categories based on audience votes and jury votes; both grand prize winners will earn $200,000 each. What makes ArtPrize so special is the way it overtakes the downtown Grand Rapids area. Art is exhibited both indoors and outdoors, in galleries, museums and restaurants, as well as on the sides of buildings, storefronts and even in the middle of the Grand River. Last year, ArtPrize 8 featured 1,453 works of art created by artists from 40 states and 44 different countries, and ArtPrize 9 is expected to be bigger and better yet. Most importantly, this is a completely free event open to the public, so make plans to head downtown and enjoy the festivities ASAP!
ArtPrize artists are taking it upon themselves more and more each year to make a statement with their work. ArtPrize 9 is expected to bring an immense range of perspectives and commentaries on a variety of hot topics. Grand Rapids City Hall has curated a broad spectrum of art pieces under the title “Unapologenetic;” this collection of works by various artists will speak to the idea of humanity as a unified entity, regardless of genetics. The artists participating in this collection are of a variety of nationalities, hailing from extremely diverse cultural backgrounds. Monroe O’Bryant, the curator of this collection, urges viewers to take the time to view and understand each of these pieces as they stand alone, and as a collective.
Artist Eliza Fernand engages another topic that has been at the forefront of debates in 2017. Located at the Ladies Literary Club, Fernand’s piece “Equity not Equality” can be seen on the exterior of the building. The installation explores the ideas of equity rather than equality across gender, race, and educational lines. Of course, the placement of this piece is very much deliberate and sends a clear message to viewers and passersby alike.
Along with the artwork scattered across the downtown area, there are also plenty of interactive and hands-on components to ArtPrize 9. From printmaking to painting for the whole family to swing dancing, there is something available for everyone. Between September 20 and October 8, the people of Grand Rapids (and those commuting into the city to join the fun) have the opportunity to immerse themselves fully in the arts and let their creative juices flow.
For more information about ArtPrize 9, and for a full list of venues and events, visit www.artprize.org or stop by one of the ArtPrize 9 Hubs located across downtown Grand Rapids. Trust me, you don’t want to miss the best ArtPrize yet!