GV hosts ArtPrize pieces


GVL / Sydney Lim

Steven Lawrence, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State University’s Pew Campus is a venue for ArtPrize 2022, an independent art competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan. GVSU aims to connect to the wider Grand Rapids community through hosting art pieces. 

GVSU has participated as a venue since the first ArtPrize event in 2009. This year, the university is hosting the work of Scott Froschauer, an experimental artist based out of Los Angeles, California. His work explores the idea of typical street signs and what new messages they could present through art. 

Joel Zwart, Curator of Exhibitions and Collection at GVSU’s Art Gallery, said he is excited for the university to be able to work with Froschauer. Zwart said that Froschauer’s unique art style and message are both “surprising and uplifting.”

“He takes the visual language and form of street signs, and then shifts the traditionally negative messages in them towards a hopeful and positive direction,” Zwart said. “His work makes viewers consider the role of signage and points them toward positive forms of communication.” 

Zwart is also looking forward to helping the GVSU community engage with different artists and ideas.

“ArtPrize always brings new artists and new ideas, so it’s a great opportunity for members of the GV community to engage with art,” Zwart said. “I’m hoping Scott’s pieces will surprise viewers.” 

GVL / Sydney Lim

Froschauer’s “The Word on the Street” is a piece of reimagined street signage. Froschauer creates street signs using the same materials and formatting that is seen in the street signs designed by the Department of Road Safety; however, he changes the meaning of the signs with new wording and messaging. His goal is to transform the signs from being negative and aggressive to having a positive message that is meant to inspire. 

The display consists of ten total installations.

One work in the collection is a group of signs titled “Peace Signs.” At first glance, the signs appear to be six “No Parking” signs on top of one another, but with a closer look, the words display a poem by Lao Tzu about world peace. On each sign, the poem is written in a different language. 

The reasoning behind having the signs in six different languages, according to Froschauer, is to help validate and show people who may have immigrated that they do belong and are welcome. 

“One of the things that is exciting to me the most is that someone will see, in their native language, a US government sanctioned sign and almost feel like their presence is validated,” Froschauer said. 

Froschauer’s work will be displayed at the L.V. Eberhard Center for ArtPrize until Oct. 2.

Additionally, GVSU has past ArtPrize pieces permanently displayed throughout their campuses. To see the art pieces in GVSU’s personal collection and where they are located, visit the Art Gallery Webpage for the full database.