Kent County economy biggest winner of ArtPrize

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — While ArtPrize Eight artists are taking home $500,000 in prizes, the biggest winner is West Michigan.

The economic impact of this year’s competition is still being tallied, but a study centered on ArtPrize Seven found the competition created 339 jobs and had a $27.4 million economic impact on Grand Rapids.

That’s up from $22 million dollars during ArtPrize 2013.

“It really does mean a lot to the businesses in Grand Rapids, especially downtown, but really countywide,” said Kate Herron with Experience GR.

She says downtown hotels are oftentimes sold out during ArtPrize, forcing visitors to find a place to stay further from the city’s center, benefiting hotels across Kent County.

Herron says this year, the hotels Experience GR represents shuttled more than 500 guests to Artprize, free of charge.

The competition also attracts other events to the area. Heron said during ArtPrize Eight’s 19 days of competition, the area will host 25 conventions, drawing more than 10,000 attendees.

“It really changes the conversation,” Herron said, explaining that visitors who encounter ArtPrize will share their experience with others and possibly return for future competitions.

ArtPrize was one of several reasons The New York Times added Grand Rapids to its list of 52 Places to Go in 2016.