ArtPrize votes down, heat believed to be cause

ArtPrize Nine, Grand Rapids Public Museum
ArtPrize Nine entries are displayed outside the Grand Rapids Public Museum. (Sept. 22, 2017)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – After a scorching opening weekend, ArtPrize officials hope to see a spike in attendance at this year’s event.

On Friday, the ArtPrize team told 24 Hour News 8 that they were around 20,000 votes down from the same time last year.

Last weekend’s heatwave seemed to burn a hole in the excitement around ArtPrize Nine.

“The only thing breaking records in the first weekend was the heat,” said Todd Herring, ArtPrize Director of Creative and Communications.

He said votes are down right now.

The ArtPrize team points to the unseasonably hot weather last weekend played a big role in that. However, downtown saw the buzz pick back up with the onset of cooler temperatures this weekend.

Business are happy to see the change.

“It’s [ArtPrize] a huge boosts and three weeks of a huge boost,” said Liz Nolan, public relations manager for Restaurant Partners, Inc.

The business owns restaurants like Sundance Grill in Grand Rapids.

She explained that they plan for a spike in business during ArtPrize each year. They also make changes, like creating a featured drink and food menu.

Just like first-week voting, Sundance suffered somewhat too.

“It’s always going to be busy down here, but compared to previous years it definitely affected us with the weather being so hot,” Nolan said.

She said this weekend’s weather is a welcome change, especially because they decided to throw a street party on Sunday afternoon.

“Especially during ArtPrize, it’s usually a “no no” to shut down the street,” she said, and we’re very fortunate they wanted this to happen as much as we did.”

The Sundance ArtPrize street party will take place on Pearl Street, shutting down traffic near Ottawa Avenue.

The event begins at 1 p.m. and features live music and an outdoor bar.

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