GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids is just days away from ArtPrize Eight officially kicking off, but people already have the chance to get a look right now.
It is the inaugural ArtPrize Eight Preview Week throughout downtown.
For the first time, venues and artists are setting up to let people see their work ahead of next week’s huge crowds.
Innovative, thought provoking and downright life-like pieces of art are turning the area into a canvas for creations.
And thanks to Preview Week, people can see them before nearly half a million people flood downtown.
“I like to have the opportunity to be the first to see it and avoid all the crowds of course so we can move through quick and then you can go back and see them again,” Grand Rapids resident John Rusilowski told 24 Hour News 8.
One of the big draws for visitors is a front row seat to the artists putting final touches on their entry.
Charlotte, North Carolina native and first-time artist Nash Knight has a prime spot to show off “Unintentional Levitation.” It’s a piece inspired by a bike accident he got into with his sister when they were kids.
“I was a little nervous on the way up that’s just mind boggling to me to see the crowds and people in the street,” Knight told 24 Hour News 8.
Other artists who are situated inside venues, like Michelle Curry (“Love the Giraffe”), look forward to viewing different pieces.
“I think it’s tremendous. I’m very excited about that. I love to meet other artists I love to see what they can do,” Curry said.
ArtPrize organizers are happy to see so many people and artists already visiting downtown.
“After the event last year, we thought every year there was more and more stuff happening in the days leading up to it. So, we thought why not formalize that a little bit,” Exhibitions Director Kevin Buist told 24 Hour News 8.
“There are a lot of installs in progress this weekend. You can go to some places… and see their complete show but other places you’ll see artists in the middle of their installs.”
Visitors can track that progress right on their phone thanks to a new feature on this year’s ArtPrize app for Apple and Android phones. Not only does it show the different venues, it can tell you which ones are open and the different installations you can see based on your GPS location in downtown.
“You do need to be within the ArtPrize district to register to vote though. But once you’re registered the app will work for voting wherever you are,” Buist added.
If you’re not able to download the app, don’t worry, information can also be found by visiting the ArtPrize HUB at 41 Sheldon Blvd SE.