Grand Rapids Public Museum celebrates return of ArtPrize


GVL / Jonathan Lantiegne

Allison Rafferty, Staff Writer

ArtPrize’s long-awaited return to the city of Grand Rapids has finally arrived following its cancellation last year due to COVID-19. 

With the return of the art festival comes the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s (GRPM) ArtPrize exhibition. 

This unique experience put together by the museum features 22 pieces of artwork, varying from sculptures to portraits. 

GRPM Marketing Manager Alee’a Cherry said that the museum is proud to continue its decade-long tradition of having an outdoor ArtPrize exhibition and bringing light into the community — especially after last year’s cancellation.

Cherry said that ArtPrize fosters a positive and engaging atmosphere for the entire city through its unique outdoor art installations. 

The bi-annual art festival is unique to West Michigan, and while it brings in tourists from all over the world, it also brings the Grand Rapids community together.  

“It is a phenomenal event that brings the city together in all capacities,” Cherry said. “It’s great to see new and returning faces around the city, breathing life into the streets of Downtown Grand Rapids, but it is also amazing to see how the event creates a wonderful connection between visitors and local businesses.”

Not only do ArtPrize goers get to see a variety of unique, outdoor art installations, but some lucky attendees get a chance to interact with the artists and learn more about their pieces. 

One piece of featured artwork at GRPM includes a three-dimensional sculpture by artist Ted Lott, entitled “Nomadic Domiciles.” 

According to the museum’s website, Lott’s piece “celebrates the vitality of America, as well as the history of the Grand Rapids area, and its energy as a growing cultural and economic center of both Michigan and the Midwest.”

Another installation, “Chameleon Blind” by artist Mara Baker, is a group of light paintings that can be seen in window spaces. GRPM’s site said the pieces add “light and color into the street and lives of passing pedestrians.” 

Attendees can also experience a number of hands-on educational opportunities throughout the exhibition. 

Cherry said attendees are encouraged to share their favorite art pieces on social media and tag the museum in the photos. 

Although the artwork is different each year, Cherry said the museum always strives to create a positive experience for their guests from near and far. 

“The museum always aims to curate a rewarding experience with great, approachable art that is intriguing, distinctive and engages the viewer’s capacity for awe, curiosity, and a sense of humor,” Cherry said. 

GRPM’s outdoor ArtPrize exhibit is a rare art-going experience that displays large-scale artwork and 24/7 accessibility in a central downtown location on the banks of the Grand River. 

“The museum aims to host approachable art that is intriguing and distinctive. The pieces at the Museum have already shown they are engaging to those coming out to see them, and are inspiring to all ages,” Cherry said. 

She said that she hopes guests leave feeling inspired to transfer their experience at ArtPrize into their individual work. 

“We hope that our ArtPrize display sparks curiosity within visitors of all ages. We want them to feel inspired to learn, create and push boundaries in their own work,” Cherry said. 

After attending the outdoor ArtPrize exhibition, those interested in touring the inside of the museum can purchase tickets for $5. 

ArtPrize at the GRPM will be displayed now through Oct. 3.