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ArtPrize 2014 is coming to Grand Rapids in two weeks

Table and chairs on top of the blue bridge - 2009.
Table and chairs on top of the blue bridge - 2009.
Thomas Scheidel

ArtPrize returns to Grand Rapids for year number six of this radically open art competition. Over 1,500 artists will have their work on display in 174 venues scattered across a three square mile section of downtown. Over 400,000 people are expected to visit Grand Rapids between September 24 and October 12. That’s a lot of people looking at a lot of art.

ArtPrize 2014 poster

For 19 days there will be art everywhere; outdoors, in galleries, and in restaurants and bars. Some pieces are huge like the Steam Pig that hovered over a parking lot three years ago or the giant table and chairs that sat atop a pedestrian bridge over the Grand River during the first ArtPrize. There are also more intimate pieces in quiet gallery spaces. Even dance and musical pieces are represented in the artistic mix. In short there is something for everyone from art aficionado to those who would have trouble with a “paint by numbers” set.

Artists come from all 50 states and over 45 foreign countries. The artists will be competing for a share of $560,000 in prize money. Awards are voted on by both the public and select juries of professional artists. The Grand Prize in both categories is $200,000, making this the biggest and most lucrative art competition in the world. Last year’s winner was “Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore”, a 20 foot wide landscape quilt created by Ann Loveless of Frankfort, Michigan. A full list of winners from past years can be found at the ArtPrize web site, along with a list of this year’s entries.