Find your favorites at ArtPrize9, through Oct. 8

From downtown streets, museums, restaurants, bars and churches to the post office, police department and parks, Grand Rapids is overflowing with art this fall, courtesy of ArtPrize9. Some pieces even are installed in the Grand River and are visible from nearby bridges,  promenades and buildings.
Running through Oct. 8, the city’s annual phantasmagoria of art and creativity is drawing crowds to inspect, admire and, in some cases, scratch their heads at the more than 1,350 pieces displayed in 175 venues. Judging is underway for $500,000 in awards, with winners determined by a mix of art-savvy professional jurors and the general public, the latter including you and me. Once registered onsite, visitors may use an app to vote for their favorite works on mobile devices or computers.

Detroiter Barbara Barefield with her ArtPrize9 entry, photographs of musicians and performers, including Aretha Franklin. (Photo credit: Susan R. Pollack)

I had only one steamy day to devote to viewing the artworks — you really need at least two full days, or three is even better — but it was enough to pick out some personal favorites. Because it was a sizzling 90-plus degrees, we stayed away from most of the crowded major venues and focused instead on several small downtown spaces in and around Monroe Center NW, including an apothecary, comic book emporium, mini-market and small hotel.

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Installed in the Grand River, “Oil  + Water,” by Ryan Spencer Reed, is a massive photograph of last year’s Dakota Access Pipeline protest in Standing Rock, ND. (Photo credit: Susan R. Pollack)

Kris Engle of Spring Lake hand-rolled some 7,000 tubes from magazine pages for his entry, “Table of Periodicals.” (Photo credit: Susan R. Pollack)










This is a close-up of a portion of Stacie Tamaki’s origami entry, “Acceptance.” The three-part work includes a photo of family members who were imprisoned with other U.S. citizens of Japanese descent at Heart Mountain, a World War II internment camp near Cody, WY (Photo credit: Susan R. Pollack) #PureMichigan




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, Lakeland Boating, Hour Detroit, Prevue Meetings and Group Tour. She has contributed to several books including "Rand McNally 2008 Ultimate NASCAR Road Trip Guide." She also writes for websites including, and