ArtPrize 9 to be remembered for record-breaking weather

ArtPrize Nine at night
People enjoy ArtPrize Nine in Grand Rapids. (Sept. 22, 2017)

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Another year of the world’s largest art competition has come to an end. Like every year, ArtPrize Nine will be remembered for the art — but this year will also be looked back on for the amazing weather.

Chances are if you enjoyed some of the outdoor entries — like the public vote winner in the three dimensional category Lux Maximus Fused Glass, Cooper, Bronze and Metal — you weren’t wearing a jacket or carrying an umbrella.

>>Inside Complete coverage of ArtPrize Nine

The first week of ArtPrize Nine — Sept. 20 through Sept. 26 — set a string of six consecutive record high 90 degree days. The hottest day was Sept. 23 when temperatures hit 96 degrees. It was also the first time Grand Rapids experienced six consecutive 90 degree days in September.

For most, it was probably too hot to enjoy the first week of ArtPrize Nine with high temperatures averaging 93 degrees when the norm is around 70 degrees.

Even though the 90 degree temperatures abated, it still remained very warm. The only day during ArtPrize Nine that recorded a below average temperature was Sept. 30.

Previously, ArtPrize Eight was the warmest on record with temperatures 4.3 degrees above average. It obviously pales in comparison to the whopping 11.2 degrees above average temperatures recorded during ArtPrize Nine.

This year was also unusual because of the lack of rain, which helped with the robust crowds and contributed to the warm temperatures.

Not once during the first couple weeks did visitors have to worry about getting rained on. It was not until Oct. 6, the seventeenth day of the art competition, when Grand Rapids got a significant rainfall.

At 1.23 inches of rain, this year was the third driest ArtPrize. The driest was back in 2010 when only .41 inches of rain fell in Grand Rapids.


Sunshine during September and October can really help highlight the fall colors and cast a natural light on various works of art. This year ended up as the second sunniest ArtPrize on record with 73 percent.

Now that the world’s largest art competition has come to an end, it appears the warmer than average temperatures will continue, for now. It looks like West Michigan will have some nice warm weather to enjoy Mother Nature’s artwork — the fall foliage.

If you snapped a fantastic photo of West Michigan’s fall foliage, we’d love to share it. Send it to us by emailing



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