Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's A Beautiful Night For ART!

Josh and I live about an hour away from Grand Rapids, MI, and it's often our choice destination when we want some "big city" fun. We're hopefully heading there tonight, because one of my favorite events started yesterday - ArtPrize! ArtPrize was created as a way to bring more tourism into Grand Rapids and allow artists from around the world to display their amazing work. The public gets to vote on their favorites, and the artist with the most votes wins $250K to take home :) It's the world's largest art competition, and one of the only ones where the public chooses the winner.

It's a lot of fun to get out and walk around Grand Rapids' already booming downtown area, and the pieces of art in and around all of the businesses makes it even more enjoyable. The artists aren't just creating 11x16 paintings here - we're talking HUGE sculptures, installations, even interactive exhibits (like a giant greeting card, a photobooth experiment, and a coloring book, to name a few from last year off the top of my head). Last year's winner was a gigantic (30 feet long by 8 feet tall) pencil drawing of a WWI combat troop. It was called Calvary, and it was amazing.
The 2009 winner, Open Water, no. 24, was just as impressive.
I have high hopes for this year. Grand Rapids and all of West Michigan is buzzing with excitement to see what artists from around the world have in store for us. I'm hoping for some more whimsy, along the lines of last year's SteamPig (another giant entry):

or maybe something unexpected and different, like last year's Vision, and Helping Mom One Penny at a Time (both images found here, where you can see all of last year's top 10 finalists).
 This was a large exhibit, and impressive, too. It was made of acrylic pieces that had been painted and layered on top of one another. It had a 3-dimensional quality and could been seen from all sides. This was probably my favorite out of the top 10 last year, only because it was completely innovative and unlike anything else there.

I LOVE the idea behind this penny. It's made up of a lot of smaller pennies with varying degrees of petina. It was large as well, and made a big statement in the entrance of the Gerald R. Ford Museum. I didn't get to see this in person, sadly. That's one of the drawbacks of living further away - there's not as many opportunities to see all of the different exhibits spread out through the town.

If you live close to Michigan, I would suggest making a road trip to see ArtPrize. It runs through October 9th, and more information can be found here, Even if you don't live close, consider taking a vacation to beautiful West Michigan next year for ArtPrize! You won't be disappointed.

What things are going on in your community/state that you're excited about this fall?

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