GR couple reimagines cityscape for ArtPrize Nine

"Grand Rapids 1999" by Charles and Diane Helmholdt, an ArtPrize Nine entry in the two-dimensional category displayed at the Holiday Inn in downtown Grand Rapids.


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Some ArtPrize artists are using the city of Grand Rapids as the focus of their entries and adding a little flare of their own.

Charles and Diane Helmholdt are former imagineers at Disney in California. The Grand Rapids husband and wife are the creators of “Grand Rapids 1999,” a two-dimension ArtPrize Nine entry displayed at the Holiday Inn.

“We developed this artwork 26 years ago while we were working for Disney,” Charles Helmhold explained to 24 Hour News 8.

They thought up parts of the meticulous drawing nearly three decades ago, but producing it fell by the wayside. The couple eventually moved back to Grand Rapids.

“We thought it was a great experience, but we missed our hometown,” Charles said. His wife said they also missed the four Michigan seasons. Without using a computer, they dreamt up a futuristic metropolis. They drew each part by hand before putting it all together like a puzzle.

While thinking out of the box, they still couldn’t part with landmarks like an Amway Grand Plaza Hotel building stamping the skyline. The two-dimensional piece aims to also bring life-size attention to the Grand River and reviving the rapids.

“If you look closely in the artwork there’s a lot of rapids,” Charles explained.

Public voting for the first round of ArtPrize Nine runs until 11:59 p.m. Saturday.

Results will be revealed live at 1 p.m. Sunday at Rosa Parks Circle. You can watch the live show on WOTV4 and woodtv.com.

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