Project 1 by ArtPrize: A Great Off Year Filler For ArtPrize
Art Prize, the most popular art festival in the world, is now a biennial festival. This means, instead of having ArtPrize as a full-blown festival every year, it will be celebrated every other year. On the “off” years, such as this year, Project 1 by ArtPrize will take its place. This year, Project 1 by ArtPrize will run from September 7- October 27. It will feature the art from 5 different artists, spread out across the entire city, with multiple exhibits and shows. The them for Project 1 this year is “Crossed Lines”. This explores the complex and unique conditions in Grand Rapids, featuring large exhibits addressing many civic and social issues. Some of the exhibits also double as stages for performances, as well as interactive exhibits for visitors.
While changing the festival to every other year has left a sour taste in some people’s mouths, the change actually brings a lot of good. Throwing Art Prize in all of its glory and splendor on a yearly basis takes an enormous joint effort. Having it biannually offers relief to those planning it and spreads the logistical responsibilities out. Over the course of the ten years that Art Prize has been running, more than 3 million visitors have enjoyed the exhibits and art displayed all over the city. In order to make sure each participating artist has a venue or place to display their work, local businesses volunteer to serve as venues. As one could imagine, this takes a lot of time and coordination. Each potential vendor must be contacted and approved, as well as those looking to renew their location as a vendor.
For Project 1, only 5 artists create and display their artwork to the public, greatly reducing the amount of logistics needed. There are three main locations displaying art for the festival: Downtown, the Martin Luther King Jr. Park, and Tanglefoot Studio. The downtown location is Rosa Parks circle, a staple location in the city, at the corner of Monroe, and Monroe Center. The Martin Luther King Jr. Park is on Fuller Ave, to the south of town. Tanglefoot Studio is an artists haven made out of a re-purposed industrial yard. Located just outside the city, this location will boast some interactive exhibits and artwork.
Project 1 this year features 5 different artists:
- Rafael Lozano-Hemmer: Interactive installations
- Amanda Browder: Large-scale fabric installations
- Heather Hart: Interdisciplinary
- Paul Amenda and Ted Lott cooperatively: Interactive installations
- Olalekan Jeyifous: public art, installation, drawing, collage and design
Tips for Attendance
Always take a look at the event ahead of time. The art pieces are spread out over a relatively large area, and without proper planning, you could miss something. Be sure to check social media or the ArtPrize website to find where any particularly unique art is displayed. Sometimes people with similar tastes post about the art they like, and it would be beneficial to keep an eye out for news there. It is also smart to check the hours for each venue participating in the festival, as some close before others.
Grand Rapids has a lot of parking downtown via parking garages, or paid meter parking. The key here, is finding a central location to walk from. If you end up parking on one side or the other of town, you may have a long walk to the venues. Also remember, if you go to the festival during the week, you will not have to deal with as much parking. This is nice, but be aware that parking meters are enforced until 6pm during the week. If you don’t want to worry about parking, try getting a hotel downtown! You can park your car at the hotel where it is safe and then walk around from there with no hassle.
Grand Rapids has seemingly countless places to grab a delicious bite to eat. The problem isn’t finding a place to eat though, its being able to get a table in a reasonable amount of time. With the vast influx of visitors to the city, local restaurants and bars become crowded gathering places that prove difficult to get into quickly. Plan ahead here again, and call the places you would like to eat and set up a reservation if they accept them. If they do not, be sure to set aside enough time to wait in line and get sat.
If you are a local, it is still very easy to miss out on Art Prize, and subsequently Project 1. Make sure you stay up to date on the events and dates! Even if you live here, be sure to check out the most popular pieces as well, because they too will generally leave at the end of the festival. If you are visiting from out of town, it is imperative to at least see the major exhibitions, and then find the small unique pieces while you can. Grand Rapids will continue to have an art based festival every year; they just want to spread the workload, while giving more artists exposure. For more information visit http://www.artprize.org/.