Art Prize: A Must Visit

Kendall Polidori

Art Prize: A must visit By Kendall Polidori

This September, Art Prize is returning to Grand Rapids for its tenth year and is one of the most anticipated events in the area. Rick DeVos, the creator of Art Prize, started it back in 2009 as a “social experiment” to get people together and award someone based off of public votes. 

I mean, when you think about it, it’s completely genius. It’s not only getting people from the Grand Rapids area together but it’s also bringing in people from all over the state as well as other states.

As a freshman last year, I had no idea what Art Prize was coming into Michigan from Chicago. I came to Grand Valley without knowing anyone and without ever exploring Michigan. I didn’t know what Grand Rapids had to offer until I decided to check out Art Prize one Thursday afternoon by myself, and honestly, I had the best day. There is no better feeling than going out on your own and discovering something that will mean so much to you in the future.

I took the bus like any other freshman, and as soon as I arrived I saw art everywhere. Statues, paintings, sculptures, lights and absolutely anything else you can think of. The best part of all the amazing art there, too, is that anyone can submit or display their work in Art Prize. No one selects who can participate, which makes the whole event more personal. I can’t imagine being an artist and displaying my work in Grand Rapids for 19 days, but I’m sure it’s very rewarding.

As I said, I went there alone and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. I was feeling extremely homesick and being in Grand Rapids and seeing how alive it was made me feel so comfortable and it reminded me of Chicago. I love the city life and all that it has to offer, and Art Prize made me feel right at home in a time that I really needed it. I met so many people, including some artists, and I can definitely see why DeVos created Art Prize as a social experiment. It creates conversation and nudges people to get out there and meet new people. 

My favorite piece last year was based off of The Beatles album “Revolver”. I got the chance to meet and talk to the artist herself and I was happy to just be connecting with someone that had a similar interest as me.

Additionally, there are food trucks all over the downtown area and those deserve some recognition. They’re local businesses and are a great addition to the event. I stopped at a cupcake and coffee truck last year and all I have to say is I will be visiting them again this year.

Art Prize is a must visit when in the Grand Rapids area in September. If you’re ever feeling alone or need a little boost in your day, head over there and discover something new for yourself.