First weekend of ArtPrize brings crowds to downtown Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Residents and visitors form across the state and beyond descended on downtown Grand Rapids Saturday for the first weekend of ArtPrize 2022.

The 18-day interactive art competition that touts 750 works of art displayed in 150 venues across the city. The event, which kicked off Thursday, runs through Oct. 2. The artists are vying for a share of $250,000 in prize money.

People are flocking to various venues around town. Some venues have just one piece, while others, such as DeVos Place, the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives, and the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, host numerous entries.

Related: ‘It’s hustling and bustling down here:’ ArtPrize 2022 kicks off in Grand Rapids

Vendors crowded the AC Hotel by Marriott parking lot at 50 Monroe Ave. NW on Saturday, Sept. 17, selling pastries, jewelry and handmade crafts for the Makers Market. Visitors can buy directly from artists.

At Calder Plaza, in front of the city and county buildings, artists worked on Noah Kaplan’s entry “EIRO.” EIRO: Affinity is a sound and light sculpture best experienced during the evening hours, according to ArtPrize.

“It is an interactive sculpture that metaphorically explores how the world is both physically and virtually seen. Standing two stories tall, it features state of the art audio and expressive lighting technology. With each landing, EIRO’s mission adapts to share a new story with an opportunity for growth, connection, and understanding,” according to the ArtPrize website.

Richard App, the retail retention specialist for the city of Grand Rapids, told MLive Thursday he could already feel the energy of the people walking through the streets, eager to see what the annual event offers this year.

Related: ArtPrize means big crowds, big business

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