One of my favorite traditions of the fall season in Grand Rapids Michigan is experiencing ArtPrize. As an ever-evolving art festival, ArtPrize features hundreds of unique exhibits ranging from large sculptures and traditional paintings to performance art and hands-on community-created pieces.
If you want to see the best of ArtPrize in one hour, I’m sharing the top art venues to make the most of your time. If you have extra time to explore more of Grand Rapids, check out my additional recommendations at the end.
What’s New for ArtPrize in 2023
Fresh leadership: New this year, ArtPrize is now a collaborative between the City of Grand Rapids, Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. and Kendall College of Art and Design.
ArtPrize Clubhouse: Located at 2 Fulton St W, this venue serves as a central hub for ArtPrize information. In addition to several large-scale art exhibits, the ArtPrize Clubhouse also provides concierge services, merchandise, and an artist-only lounge.
ArtPrize Oasis: Located at 555 Monroe Ave NW, the Oasis features large-scale art exhibits as well as spaces to connect with each other. Private and public events like yoga classes and art workshops will be hosted here.
Updated ArtPrize app: Hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money goes to artists each year, and you can help choose the winners. In 2023, the updated ArtPrize app makes it super easy to create an account and vote for your favorite exhibits.
Where to Park for ArtPrize
While Grand Rapids has lots of metered street parking throughout the city, parking ramps are usually a sure bet to find an open spot. The Government Center Ramp (300 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503) just across from DeVos Place is very convenient to the center of downtown.
If you are local to the area or plan to visit the Grand Rapids area a couple of times a year, an annual membership to the Grand Rapids Public Museum is valuable in so many ways. One membership perk is free parking validation in the nearby museum parking ramp (Front Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504). It’s perfect for a visit to the museum and an ArtPrize tour!
See the Best of ArtPrize in One Hour
When it comes to art, what constitutes “the best” is very subjective. A more accurate title might be “See Some of the Most Popular Art Exhibits Conveniently Clustered Together in Downtown Grand Rapids in 1 Hour.” Whew, but that’s a mouthful.
3 Popular ArtPrize Venues
- DeVos Place
- Amway Grand Plaza Hotel
- Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
303 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
With towering ceilings and glass windows, the main lobby and upper halls of DeVos Place provide an ideal location to feature artwork. Notable exhibits at DeVos Place in 2023 include:
- Wishmaster by Oleg Kedria: Shimmering crystals create a delightful fish sculpture.
- Selfie on The Wall by Diego Perez: Inspired by Mexican muralism, this vibrant painting features layers of symbolism, humor and social commentary related to the artist’s cultural heritage. ***2-D Category Finalist***
- Time at Stonehenge by BC ClayArt: Peek through this broken clay jar for a detailed view of a miniature Stonehenge replica. ***Top 25 Finalist***
Amway Grand Plaza Hotel
187 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
With crystal chandeliers and luxurious velvet furniture, the lush interior of the Amway Grand creates a beautiful backdrop for displaying art. Notable exhibits at the Amway Grand in 2023 include:
- Count On Me by Ryan McCallister: An impressive sculpture of a warrior goddess crafted from stainless steel, river rock, and stained glass. ***Top 25 Finalist***
- Tracy’s Garden by Brent Knoth: A memorial garden in honor of the artist’s mother featuring a water wall and moss sculptures. ***3-D Category Finalist***
- MI-eden by Pasha Ruggles: A creative collection of sculptures made from Lake Michigan driftwood. ***3-D Category Finalist***
- An Iris Collection of 5 by Peggy Slattery: A stunning set of 5 impressionists oil paintings of detailed irises. ***3rd Place Winner Public Vote***
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
303 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Walk along the sidewalk and fountain area outside the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum to observe interesting outdoor sculptures and exhibits. Take advantage of the free museum admission available during ArtPrize, and scope out the art displays inside as well.
With bridge and city skyline views, Ah-Nab-Awen Park right next to the Ford Presidential Museum is a lovely spot to take in a view of the Grand River. Some notable exhibits at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in 2023 are:
- Guidance by Chenel Joseph: A striking painting so realistic you might mistake it for a photograph. ***Top 25 Finalist***
- FinTanium by Joel Gittrich: Made from colorful anodized titanium, this kinetic fish sculpture spins with the wind. ***3-D Category Finalist***
- Great Lakes Embroidery Series by Jess Blauwkamp: A series of mini embroidery hoops with landscapes and rocks of the Great Lakes region. ***2-D Category Finalist***
Explore More in Grand Rapids
While I’ve covered some of the prime ArtPrize locations, there is still so much more to see and do in Grand Rapids! If you have additional time, I highly recommend doing one or more of the following:
1. Check out more amazing ArtPrize venues.
Head to these additional venues with stellar art:
- JW Marriot to marvel at the intricate dresses made of recycled children’s book pages of Rebecca Humes’ Tale of Ten Dresses ***2nd Place Winner Public Vote***
- ArtPrize Oasis at 555 Monroe to appreciate the irresistible Evanescent bubbles by Atelier Sisu
- Sixth Street Park to see the sculpture What’s Not Cool About a Dragon? by Michael Quandt ***Top 25 Finalist***
- Monroe Community Church to view the detailed layers wood carvings of Perfect Imperfections by Felipe Gomez
- Calder Plaza to take in the thought-provoking SpLaVCe Ship by Christopher Blay ***Juried 3-D Honorable Mention***
- ArtPrize Clubhouse to enjoy the whimsical sculptures of The Lost Mystics by Kumkum Fernando ***Juried 3-D Winner***
- Veterans Memorial Park to view various paintings and sculptures all crafted by veterans including The Heart of our Nation by John Brummel ***Top 25 Finalist***
- 45 Ottawa NW to see the beautiful Raining Wisdom mural by Abdoulaye Conde ***Top 25 Finalist***
2. Dine at one of Grand Rapids’ many fine restaurants.
Some of my personal favorites include:
- Roam by San Chez, featuring a global street menu
- Donkey Taqueria for tasty Mexican cuisine
- Brewery Vivant for craft beers and pub fare
- Forty Acres Soul Kitchen for contemporary American soul food
3. Visit additional local attractions that feature ArtPrize exhibits and more.
Top local attractions worth your time:
- Grand Rapids African American Museum & Archives
- Grand Rapids Art Museum
- Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
4. Experience the art exhibits at night.
While most art exhibits are better viewed in the daylight, there are always a few displays that come alive in the evening. In 2023, the huge, iridescent Evanescent bubbles would be magical at night.
No matter how long you have to explore, there is definitely time to see some new and exciting art pieces at ArtPrize!