Grand Rapids Art Prize draws nearly half million visitors

by Truman Ross, News

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Every fall, Western Michigan is amazed by the stunning works of art that the Grand Rapids Art Prize brings in. Contenders from all over the globe come to the mitten state to show any sort of painting, sculpture, or other visual art that they have created.

Last year, the event brought in an astounding 400,000 attendees. This year, developers expect the numbers to far exceed that. The contest never fails to disappoint, and this year is no exception.

art-prize-2What makes Art Prize stand out from other art festivals is the volume of artists participating, and the public’s say in electing the winners. Winners are decided half by public vote, and half by a jury of art experts. This year, there is a total of 1,453 entries at an astounding 171 venues. There are two $200,000 grand prizes and eight category awards.

Among the final 20 pieces, there are a few standout candidates. “Portraits of Light and Shadow” by Joao Paulo Goncalves features wooden blocks arranged in such a way that when light is shone upon them, they create a stunning visual masterpiece. This work is currently being displayed at Devos Place Convention Center.

Another standout work is “Sweepers Clock” by Maarten Baas. The piece is a 12-hour-long movie in which two performers replicate an analog clock by sweeping two piles of garbage (one for the hour hand, one for the minute hand) to indicate the time. The piece combines elements of theatre, visual art, film, and design to create an impressive work of art.

Spring Lake senior Calvin Frifeldt recently visited Art Prize, and when asked about his personal favorite piece, said, “My favorite piece had to be a painting of a soldier with casings coming from a hole in his head. I thought it was pretty powerful.”

This year, Art Prize runs until October 9. The final awards ceremony will take place on October 7, so be sure not to miss out on one of the largest cultural events in the Midwest.

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Grand Rapids Art Prize draws nearly half million visitors