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 2022
Shipping container map kiosks: For guidance in planning your visit on the go, look for these helpful shipping container map kiosks. On the sides, you’ll find maps of the city listing all of the ArtPrize venues, and inside, you’ll find murals painted by local artists. Plus, there are printed event guides available.
Updated ArtPrize app: Hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money goes to artists each year, and you can help choose the winners. In 2022, 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.
5 Popular ArtPrize Venues
- DeVos Place
- Amway Grand Plaza Hotel
- Monroe Center
- Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
- Grand Rapids Public 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 2022 include:
- Creation, Destruction, Reflection by Brad and Bryan Caviness: One of the most popular and intricate exhibits in ArtPrize, this series of broken vases with detailed scenes crafted inside is on display in the upper walkway of DeVos Place.
- In My Eyes by Florencia Clement de Grandprey: This exhibit is a dramatic wall-hanging display of a woman’s face and dozens of eyes all hand painted on Persian rugs.
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 2022 include:
- Trains and Bridges by Harold Woods: This is a large system of working train tracks and steel bridges. Look for the replica of Grand Rapids’ own Blue Bridge!
- American Eagle by Kasey Wells: This impressive sculpture is of an eagle and snake crafted entirely from scrap metal.
- Twigg the Forest Dragon by Jennifer Dunahee: This magical scene of a mermaid and tree dragon also includes an interactive objective — find the keys hidden in the display.
140 Monroe Center St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
A central hub of downtown Grand Rapids, many interesting outdoor art exhibits are showcased along the streets around Monroe Center and the nearby Rosa Parks Circle. Here are the notable exhibits by Monroe Center in 2022:
- Light of Michigan by Tom Gifford: Michiganders love their Michigan artwork! Michigan sand and rocks adorn this large Michigan outline, which lights up at night.
- Seeking a Pleasant Peninsula by Maddison Chaffer: Painted on the side of the Monroe Center building, check out this epic mural highlighting Michigan’s biological diversity.
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 the outdoor art situated along the river. Some notable exhibits at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum in 2022 are:
- Sisters by Bill Secunda: Made from welded steel nails, these life-sized bears are fascinating to see up close.
- Poetry on Demand – My Poem, Your Topic by William Davis: A playful and thoughtful example of performance art, poet William Davis types out poems from a one-word inspiration from visitors.
Grand Rapids Public Museum
272 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
The grassy areas surrounding this public museum often host several art exhibits with a picturesque view of the Grand River. Surprisingly, in 2022, the Grand Rapids Public Museum only has one art piece:
- Wall by Mark Chatterly: A clay sculpture of 7 women forming a human wall speaks to the ways society tries to keep others out.
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. 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
2. 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
- John Ball Zoo & Park
- Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
3. 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 2022, the Fusion exhibit at Studio Park is an immersive sound and light display only put on at night.
No matter how long you have to explore, there is definitely time to see some new and exciting art pieces at ArtPrize!