Story by Sierra Mason, Reporter
Photos courtesy of Sierra Mason
On September 20, the famous Grand Rapids ArtPrize opened numerous exhibits all throughout downtown. ArtPrize is an event that occurs every other year in downtown Grand Rapids where artists from all over have the opportunity to compete for a grand prize of $200,000. The exhibits feature a wide range of genres from both newcomers and veterans alike. A majority of the outdoor displays include sculptures made from multiple materials, from scrap metal to plywood. Most of the paintings and drawings can be found inside buildings, such as hotels.
One exhibit that stands out in particular consists of a bunch of colorful reflective surfaces and an array of lights. This particular artist, James Kristan, has an emotional, personal backstory to this piece.
Inspired by David Bowie, this display had a far-out, psychedelic feel. According to Kristan, “My first love, that I ever had, we used to sit back when they had the discs and we used to sit there in her parents’ living room all day listening to David Bowie’s ‘Ziggy Stardust’ album.” In addition to the lights, he will be performing Ziggy Stardust live for the first ten nights of the event.
Another local artist by the name of Joshua Clark had carved and painted a massive mandala out of a single piece of plywood. Clark has participated in ArtPrize in the past, making it into the top twenty. This year, however, he hopes to reach his goal of entering the top five. His piece took him more than 500 hours to construct, starting with thumbnail sketches. Clark described the process as “sort of a meditation or just a very slow slog.” It took hours and hours of trial and error until Clark felt he had finally perfected the design.
ArtPrize will be running for two and a half weeks, from Sept. 19 to Oct. 7. The exhibits will be present all day every day.