Travel

ArtPrize phone app makes a convenient guide and ballot box

"Port of Entry" is on Calder Plaza at ArtPrize Seven in Grand Rapids. (Photo credit: S.R. Pollack)

“Port of Entry” is on Calder Plaza at ArtPrize Seven in Grand Rapids. (Photo credit: S.R. Pollack)

"The Conversation: What Would They Say?" is across from the DeVos Place Convention Center. (Photo credit: Susan R. Pollack)

“The Conversation: What Would They Say?” is across from the DeVos Place Convention Center. (Photo credit: Susan R. Pollack)

Leah Smith of The Tape Crew helps create "The Grand Rapid Tape Drawing" on a 30-foot building. (Photo credit: Susan R. Pollack)

Leah Smith of The Tape Crew helps create “The Grand Rapid Tape Drawing” on a 30-foot building. (Photo credit: Susan R. Pollack)

Art is everywhere in Grand Rapids. From coffee bars, candy shops and comic stores to hotel lobbies, restaurants, bridges and plazas, ArtPrize Seven — the world’s largest art competition — has engulfed the city.

It’s like a giant strolling art gallery, concentrated primarily in three square miles of downtown. A bit farther afield, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is showcasing the works of Japanese artists in conjunction with its new Japanese Garden.

The free 19-day festival runs through Oct. 11, so there’s plenty of time to plan an outing; crowds in previous years have topped 400,000. This year’s 1,551 entries range from small paintings and sculptures to large, interactive installations and live demonstrations. We happened the other day upon a “Symphony of Gestures”performance in which various members of a string quartet performed while lying on the floor, in a cart and perched on a ladder.

That one got my vote.

  >> Browse a photo gallery of this year’s ArtPrize

Yes, thanks to friendly technology that lets visitors vote via cellphone — and also serves as a convenient guide to the artworks and each of the 162 venues — you get to help pick winners of the $250,000 in public awards. A panel of professionals determines the other $250,000 worth of juried awards. Art fans may vote for as many entries as capture their fancy but only once for an individual work.

Still, no matter how hard you try, it’s impossible to see ArtPrize Seven in its entirety, even over two or three days. But it’s guaranteed that you’ll see works that make you marvel at the artist’s creativity, scratch your head in puzzlement, laugh aloud, or, in some cases, cry.

To see more, check http://www.artprize.org

Some 600 plates represent death row inmates' requests in "The Last Supper" on display at the Fed Galleries of Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids. (photo credit: Susan R. Pollack)

Some 600 plates represent death row inmates’ requests in “The Last Supper” on display at the Fed Galleries of Kendall College of Art and Design in Grand Rapids. (photo credit: Susan R. Pollack)

"Intersections" was the double grand-prize winner at last year's ArtPrize in Grand Rapids. This steel replica is on display at the ArtPrize Hub in Grand Rapids. (Photo credit: Susan R. Pollack)

“Intersections” was the double grand-prize winner at last year’s ArtPrize in Grand Rapids. This steel replica is on display at the ArtPrize Hub in Grand Rapids. (Photo credit: Susan R. Pollack)

Artist Jihyun Hong of Brooklyn poses with her installation, "(extra)ordinary" at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts at ArtPrize Seven in Grand Rapids. (Photo credit: Susan R. Pollack)

Artist Jihyun Hong of Brooklyn poses with her installation, “(extra)ordinary” at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts at ArtPrize Seven in Grand Rapids. (Photo credit: Susan R. Pollack)

 

Susan R. Pollack
Globetrotting journalist and former Detroit News staff writer Susan R. Pollack has covered travel since 1985, visiting scores of countries on five continents, 49 states, six Canadian provinces and hundreds of cities, islands and outposts along the way. From Alaska, the Galapagos and New Zealand to South Africa, Thailand and Wales, she has suffered the occasional lost luggage, jetlag and Montezuma’s revenge but still delights in sharing travel adventures with readers. In addition to The Detroit News, her award-winning stories and photos have appeared in major newspapers including the Dallas News, Toronto Star, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Chicago Sun Times; and magazines including Delta Sky, Midwest Living, Long Weekends, Experience Michigan, Jetsetter, Home & Away, Hour Detroit, Prevue Meetings and Group Tour. She has contributed to several books including "Rand McNally 2008 Ultimate NASCAR Road Trip Guide," and is the copy editor for secondchancetravels.com. She also has written for websites including gardendestinations.com and travelingmom.com.