10 Venues To Check Out For ArtPrize Seven Sept. 23 - Oct. 11

10 Venues To Check Out For ArtPrize Seven Sept. 23 – Oct. 11

ArtPrize Venues Header GRAM

ArtPrize Seven kicks off on September 23, and more than 1,500 works of art will be on display at more than 160 venues in Grand Rapids for the World’s Largest Art Competition. That’s certainly a lot of art to take in, so we’ve put together a list of some of the top venues to visit, based on previous winners, number of pieces displayed at each venue, and ease of access. Downtown Grand Rapids comes alive for a month as hundreds of thousands of visitors come to check out sculptures, paintings, murals, mosaics and more during this unique and family-friendly event. Plenty of family-friendly, open space venues can be found within a few blocks of the heart of downtown – making it incredibly easy to take in hundred of pieces of art in an afternoon or full day visit. More information can be found at http://www.artprize.org/, including venue information, mobile app and voting information, artist information and hours of operation.

Art Prize 2010 Horse Racing Painting

DeVos Place Convention Center (303 Monroe Ave NW) – Was home to “Crucifixion” by Mia Tavonatti, a stained glass mosaic. Typically hosts many paintings, photographs and other pieces on the walls that line the second floor and has also featured outdoor pieces over the years. Fully accessible, very open and family-friendly.


GRAM – Grand Rapids Art Museum (101 Monroe Center St. NW) – Home to last year’s winner, “Intersections” by Anila Quayyum Agha (pictured at top of post) as well as 2012 winner “Elephants” by Adonna Khare and 2010 winner “Cavalry, American Officers, 1921″ by Chris LaPorte. The GRAM offers the perfect space for interactive exhibits, large walls for murals, drawings and paintings, as well as open space for sculptures and more. This venue is easily accessible, but can get very busy and tight especially on weekends. Family-friendly, but it may be necessary to rein in small children near some of the more delicate exhibits.

ArtPrize 2010 Ford Museum

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum (303 Pearl St. NW) – Features many large exhibits both outdoors and inside the lobby. Ann Loveless’ 2013 winner “Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore” was displayed here. This is a favorite venue for families as kids will love the large, unique sculptures outside. There’s lots of space here even during busy times, though the lobby can get a bit congested on weekends.

ArtPrize 2009 Robert Shangle

The B.O.B. and parking lot (20 Monroe Ave NW) – The “Big Old Building” across from Van Andel Arena is usually one of the most popular venues during ArtPrize, as it draws many of the unique, interactive pieces. The large open space makes for easy access, but also makes the parking lot a weather-dependent venue. Inside, you can expect a handful of paintings and sculptures as well as a handful of options for food – B.O.B.’s Brewery, Bobarino’s, Judson’s Steakhouse and Gilly’s.

ArtPrize 2010 UICA

UICA – Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (2 Fulton St. W) – A venue for some of the best site-specific installations, the UICA is now in its fifth year at its new location in the heart of downtown. This LEED Certified building stands out among its neighbors on Division Ave., and fully accessible. For 2015, six exhibits make up SENSE, which as described by the UICA – “work included in SENSE engages that which is at the root of all experience, the things that make us who we are, that allow us to experience and learn from the world around us: sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch and perhaps even perception beyond the five senses; intuition.”


Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park (1000 E. Beltline Ave NE) – One of the few venues to fall outside of the downtown area, Meijer Gardens is a world-renowned collection of gardens and sculpture that is visited by half a million people each year. This year saw the addition of the Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Gardens, and for ArtPrize the focus will be on a corresponding installation – “Tradition and Innovation: Japanese Ceramics Now.” This collection of 25 pieces will make its debut here for ArtPrize before spending 2016 traveling around Japan. Venues is family-friendly, open and accessible.

Amway Grand Plaza Hotel Grand Rapids

Amway Grand Plaza Hotel (187 Monroe Ave NW) – If you’ve never been inside Grand Rapids’ historic and beloved hotel, ArtPrize provides a great chance to see the Pantlind Lobby and the art that will be displayed alongside classic architecture. Paintings, sculptures and installation pieces are popular at this venue, and don’t forget to check out back along the river for more art.


JW Marriott Hotel (235 Louis St. NW) – This hotel will be home to a handful of paintings and sculptures displayed in the lobby. This is a very open and accessible venue, and stopping in for a few minutes of air conditioning on a hot day can be quite a relief.

"Sophia", the 2015 ArtPrize entrant from Ingle

“Sophia”, the 2015 ArtPrize entrant from Ingle

The JW Marriott will also be hosting “Sophia”, the piece seen above that is from local artist Michael Ingle. This artist was kind enough to share his five favorite places in Michigan with us as he gets ready for his first Art Prize entry.


Grand Rapids Public Museum Grounds (272 Pearl St. NW) – There won’t be any installations in the Grand River this year, but just a few feet away there will be multiple pieces of art outside on the grounds of the Grand Rapids Public Museum. Past entries on display here have done a great job of integrating the existing landscape, look more more exciting pieces this year with a focus on sculpture and 3-D pieces.

Calder Plaza Grand Rapids Grand Vitesse

Calder Plaza and Grand Rapids City Hall (351 Ottawa Ave NW) – More than 30 pieces will be on display at the VandenBerg Plaza in downtown Grand Rapids, home of the sculpture La Grand Vitesse by Alexander Calder. This easily recognized piece has always been a symbol of the art scene in Grand Rapids, and it is only fitting that new pieces continue to be displayed nearby. Easily accessible to all and very open and family-friendly.

To get a better idea of what to expect from ArtPrize in terms of art, check out our photo galleries from previous years:

ArtPrize 2009

ArtPrize 2010

ArtPrize 2012

Special thanks to Pamela Hesterly for providing the photo of the Japanese Gardens at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park for this post.