ArtPrize 10 awards thousands in Artist Grants

Courtesy /

Courtesy /

Arie Nienhuis

For 10 years, ArtPrize has been a significant event for the greater Grand Rapids area. With the city lined up with thousands of artistic pieces, festival-goers are able to see work created by artists from around the globe. 

Recently, ArtPrize awarded $165,000 in grants to several contestants to support their artistic ventures. These grants will fund large-scale outdoor pieces as well as many smaller projects appearing in various locations throughout the city. These works include murals painted on shipping containers, crystalline glass sculptures and a large orb floating in the Grand River.

These grants will allow ArtPrize to enhance the festival and draw more attention from fine art connoisseurs around the world. Artists from regions as far as Milan and Rio De Janeiro were awarded grants, adding new perspectives to the festival. Communications Manager for ArtPrize, Jaenell Woods, said she sees these grants as a way to enhance the festival and give attendees a richer experience as well as make Grand Rapids a big name in the global art scene. 

“[With the grants] artists from across the country can realize projects they might not otherwise be able to bring to Grand Rapids” Woods said. “Having these immersive, interactive pieces that 500 thousand visitors can experience, as well as having some big name artists come here can help put [Grand Rapids] on the map. These are really ambitious projects that take a lot of funding… and having these big pieces outside really enhances the public experience.”

There are many reasons for the public to be excited for this year’s ArtPrize offerings. Throughout downtown, festival-goers will be able to see the same enormous number of art pieces in a huge number of venues. Woods also expressed excitement for the various multimedia attractions present in the city, with some very close to GVSU’s downtown campus.

“I’m excited for the Blue Bridge Music Festival to come back, and for our film festival to come back,” Woods said. “I’m especially excited to see Cracking Art from Italy, where alligator statues will be crawling out of the water.”

ArtPrize is a common means for a student new to the Grand Rapids area to learn about the city. By exploring the city and checking out all the art, students will learn more about the culture of the city and get used to navigating the area. For students interesting in getting involved with ArtPrize, Woods highlighted the festival’s volunteer program.

“Volunteering is a great way to get involved,” Woods said. “It’s very flexible, and some volunteers come every day. You can volunteer for our education program or you could help artists install their work. Signups are happening now and all the way throughout the event.”