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      Dynamic Variation:

      ArtPrize is Back

      September 16 - October 3, 2021

      The streets, sidewalks, parks, bridges, and buildings of downtown Grand Rapids will once again be overflowing with art this fall, as the world’s most-attended public art event returns after a two-year absence.

      If you’re already an ArtPrize fan, you know that this 18-day celebration of creativity, connection, and community is a one-of-a-kind experience. If you’re new to ArtPrize … well, there really are no words that can prepare you for the joy, inspiration, and excitement that ArtPrize brings. You must see it, feel it, and share it to believe it!

      New For 2021

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      ArtPrize 2021 retains the basic structure of its past: more than one thousand artists from around the world will display their newly created works all over downtown Grand Rapids for visitors to see, absolutely free, in the hopes of earning cash prizes. But there are some new wrinkles that will make this year’s event unlike any other ArtPrize:

      • Visitors will now be able to award prizes and interact directly with artists through the ArtPrize app, opening up the possibility that more artists than ever will take home a portion of the $250,000 in cash prizes.
      • A new platform will enable artists to sell or auction off their works directly to the public.
      • Artists from underrepresented communities will be spotlighted in a stunning outdoor exhibition funded by $200,000 in grants.
      • An enhanced digital map will make it even easier to find art and maneuver around downtown Grand Rapids.
      • An even greater emphasis on outdoor art installations will help mitigate coronavirus concerns.
      • An even greater emphasis on outdoor art installations will help mitigate coronavirus concerns – there’s even a map of outdoor exhibits only!

      This year will also see the return of juried awards and the opportunity to explore the difference (if any) between “expert” opinion and public opinion.

      Beyond Downtown

      ArtPrize satellite locations outside the three square-mile downtown neighborhood offer additional viewing and engagement opportunities:

      • The Creston neighborhood in the city’s North Quarter hosts a street party on September 11 – Creston After Dark features an artisan market, local food & drink, kid’s activities and more. Creston’s Lions and Rabbits Center for the Arts will be displaying art and holding additional events throughout ArtPrize.
      • Garfield Park, 10 minutes south of downtown, is the site of Open Portal, an ArtPrize installation promoting conscious healing, positive energy and harmony. The park hosts live performances – musicians, spoken-word artists, meditations and more – every Friday through Sunday from Sep. 17-Oct. 3
      • Grand Rapids Center for Community Transformation, 2.5 miles south of downtown, hosts various events during ArtPrize, including live art and entertainment, a community market and more.    

      ArtPrize Weekends

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      Visitors can also enjoy a host of community festivals& events leading up to and during ArtPrize, including:

      First Weekend:

      MSU Gran Fondo, Sep. 18

      Second Weekend:

      Confluence, Sep. 24-25

      Bourbon Fest, Sep. 24

      Oktoberfest, Sep. 24-25

      Global Water Festival GR, Sep. 25

      African American Arts & Music Festival, Sep. 25

      Third Weekend:

      Brews at the Calder, Oct 2

      Cat & Nat Reunion Tour, Oct 2

      Fall Bonsai Show, Oct 2-3

      Dan + Shay - The Arena Tour, Oct 3

      Chelsea Handler, Vaccinated & Horny, Oct 3

      ArtPrize & Kids

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      ArtPrize is a great event for kids of all ages to harness their creativity and imagination. Parents will want to download the ArtPrize map to plot out the most efficient route for their family and make sure to include stops at these exhibits kids will love. Educators can access a free Digital Education Kit to help customize an ArtPrize experience for their students. Interactive exhibits invite kids to participate in various ways. And kids 13+ can scan QR codes on select ArtPrize signage throughout the city to open up a game that allows them award monetary or non-monetary prizes to artists. 

      ArtPrize Newsletter

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      Stay Up to Date

      Details will continue to be expanded and refined as ArtPrize draws closer. Follow ArtPrize on social (FacebookInstagramTwitter) and sign up for the ArtPrize Newsletter for the latest updates.

      ArtPrize History

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      ArtPrize: The First Decade

      ArtPrize began in 2009 as an experiment – a totally new event, unlike anything the world had ever seen. Radically open by design, it transforms Grand Rapids into an open playing field where anyone can find a voice in the conversation about what is art and why it matters. Powered by technology, the exhibition organizes independently with artists from around the world submitting their entries for display at hundreds of venues throughout the heart of the city. And it’s all free and open to the public who ultimately decides the winners.

      In 2014 and 2015, London-based The Art Newspaper declared ArtPrize the world’s most attended public art event, topping exhibitions at the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia (#2 in 2014) and The Tate Modern Gallery in London (#2 in 2015).

      After celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2018, ArtPrize was scheduled for an every-other-year format, alternating with another community-wide art festival (Project 1). However, ArtPrize 2020 was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With vaccines reducing case counts and outdoor events deemed much safer, ArtPrize is back for 2021.

      Experience 10 years of ArtPrize history with this entertaining recap.

      Find a Hotel

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      As you can imagine, there is tremendous pent-up demand for a full-fledged community festival after the COVID-19 restrictions of the past year or so. Book your hotel as soon as possible to guarantee a room. (Scroll through the list of hotel options.)

      More to Explore

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      Save on Attractions with Our Culture Pass

      Receive admission into many cultural attractions around Grand Rapids as well as additional exclusive discounts with our $20.00 Culture Pass.

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