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.
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.