ArtPrize On Screen returns September 20-23 with six feature-length documentary films and seven Michigan-made shorts, while ArtPrize On Stage welcomes the return of the ‘HopCat WYCE Blue Bridge Music Festival’ September 29-30.

GRAND RAPIDS (Michigan) AUGUST 21, 2017—ArtPrize, the independently organized art competition recognized as the world’s largest annual public art event, today announced the return of ArtPrize On Screen, presented by the Michigan Film & Digital Media Office and produced by Celebration! Cinema—a film festival featuring six feature-length documentary films, each accompanied by a Michigan-made short. Concurrently, ArtPrize announced plans for the second annual ‘HopCat WYCE Blue Bridge Music Festival’ at ArtPrize, which will bring eight musicians and bands from across the country to a pop-up concert stage on Grand Rapids’ iconic Blue Bridge this fall. ArtPrize Nine returns September 20-October 8, 2017.

“Each year, ArtPrize welcomes artists working in an medium from anywhere in the world—independent filmmakers and musicians are no exception,” said Christian Gaines, ArtPrize Executive Director. “We’re thrilled to be working alongside such talented and dedicated  partners to again bring these ‘festivals within a festival’ to life at ArtPrize Nine.”

ArtPrize On Screen

For a second consecutive year, Celebration! Cinema has programmed a lineup of critically acclaimed feature-length films for ArtPrize. Running from September 20-23, ArtPrize On Screen will feature six documentary films, each preceded by a Michigan-made short film curated by the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts’ Open Projector Night series.

“When most people think of film as art, their mind quickly moves to dramatic films. But that’s too small of a view of what is happening in the film world right now,” stated Eric Kuiper, Chief Creative Officer for Celebration! Cinema and film programmer for ArtPrize On Screen. “Some of the most innovative, creative and truly artistic storytelling is happening in the documentary film genre. It’s not just talking heads and long form journalism anymore. Docs are pushing the boundaries of how and what stories are being told. I can’t think of a better context than ArtPrize to push on our collective understanding of what is considered art in the film world. These films are the perfect sample of what is happening with doc films right now.”

Kicking off the 2017 ArtPrize On Screen lineup is “Dina”—winner of the Grand Jury Prize: U.S. Documentary at Sundance Film Festival—which shares the story of a neurologically diverse couple and their relationship in a world blind to the value of their experience. “Dina” will be preceded by Michigan-made short film, “It Ain’t Over”—through which a retired pastor tells his story of living with ALS, and how he coped with the forecast of death quickly approaching. This first screening will take place on September 20 at 7:30 p.m.

On September 21 at 7:30 p.m., catch “12th & Clairmount”—a look back at the Detroit riot of 1967, featuring home movie footage donated by metro Detroiters. The documentary is produced by the Detroit Free Press in collaboration with Bridge Magazine, WXYZ-TV, and a group of metro Detroit cultural institutions, led by the Detroit Institute of Arts. Paired with “12th & Clairmount” will be the Michigan-made short film, “The Festival”—a look into one of Michigan’s most unexpected and unique regional events, The Bay-Rama Fly Fish Festival.

September 22 will bring a triple-feature. At 11 a.m., Grand Rapids Public Schools students will get a look behind the scenes at the annual ArtPrize event through “More Art Upstairs,” which follows four artists participating in the 2015 event, each vying not only for critical recognition but for every public vote they can drum up. This feature film will be preceded by Michigan-made short, “How Do We Sing?”—during which the protagonists hear a voice in the sky, though it may not be what they think.

September 22’s second feature, “The Vietnam War,” will show at 6 p.m. This 360-degree narrative, written and produced by Ken Burns, tells the epic story of the Vietnam War as it has never been told before—through a selection of yet-to-be-aired footage from the 18-hour PBS documentary. This screening will be preceded by the short film, “Official Shorts”—through which Short’s Brewing Company shares their journey from infancy to a successful business.

More Art Upstairs” returns at 9 p.m. for a public screening, preceded by the short film, “Red Skies”—during which a red sky foretells the coming of creatures that cause havoc. When the sky illuminates red; creatures cause havoc.

September 23 will bring a double-feature, starting at 6 p.m. with “Human Flow”—a chronicle of the staggering breadth of the global refugee crisis, directed by acclaimed artist Ai Weiwei. “Human Flow” will be preceded by Michigan-made short film, “Manifesto”—the story of a young man blinded by love who carries out a dangerous task at the Los Angeles Staples arena.

Wrapping up the 2017 edition of ArtPrize On Screen will be “The New Radical”—a mind-bending look at how crypto-anarchists seek freedom of information and challenge economic structures. The 10 p.m. screening will be preceded by Michigan-made short film, “The Party Foul”—following a registered sex offender whose first task after being released from jail is stopping by a party.

While all ArtPrize On Screen films are eligible for the ArtPrize Nine public vote competition in the time-based category, the ArtPrize public will also award two additional cash prizes. By casting their votes through the ArtPrize mobile app, visitors and film goers will award a $2,500 prize for Best Short, presented by the Michigan Film & Digital Media Office, as well as a $2,500 prize for Best Feature, presented by Celebration! Cinema.

For details on each screening, visit Film screening tickets are free and represent reserved seats in the auditorium. Reserve tickets at

HopCat WYCE Blue Bridge Music Festival

The second annual ‘HopCat WYCE Blue Bridge Music Festival’ brings the energy of live performance to the ArtPrize night scene. The Blue Bridge—organized by Quinn Matthews, Station Manager WYCE 88.1FM—will once again play host to all things music at ArtPrize Nine. Held September 29 and 30, the festival promises two epic days and nights of free musical entertainment featuring musicians and bands from across the country—competing for the ‘ArtPrize Song of the Year’ award.

“I’m beyond excited as WYCE 88.1FM, HopCat and ArtPrize team up for the Blue Bridge Music Festival for 2017,” said Matthews. “West Michigan is filled with amazing art during this competition, and I feel it’s extremely important to show the visitors to our city what an amazing music scene we have here. Get ready for “A World of Music” on the Blue Bridge, all for FREE, celebrating Jazz, Soul, Rock, Country, Hip Hop and more for two straight days over the Grand River.”

The Blue Bridge Music Festival will kick off on Friday, September 29 at 4 p.m. with a live broadcast on WYCE’s station, followed by three performances:

  • 5 p.m.—Yolonda Lavender
  • 7 p.m.—The Bootstrap Boys
  • 9 p.m.—Michigander

The festivities will continue on Saturday, September 30—kicking off once again with a live broadcast on WYCE at Noon, followed by five performances:

  • 2 p.m.—Brad Fritcher Moods
  • 4 p.m.—Asamu Johnson & The Associates of the Blues
  • 5:30 p.m.—Jesse Ray & The Carolina Catfish
  • 7 p.m.—Watching For Foxes
  • 8:45 p.m.—The Great One

All participating musicians at the two-day festival are eligible for the ArtPrize Nine public vote competition in the time-based category. The ArtPrize public will also award an additional prize. By casting their votes through the ArtPrize mobile app, visitors will award a single artist the distinction of ‘ArtPrize Song of the Year’ and a $1,000 cash prize, presented by HopCat.

For more details, visit

ArtPrize will return to Grand Rapids, Michigan from September 20 to October 8, 2017, featuring 1,346 artist entries hailing from 41 U.S. states and 47 countries, showing at 175 venues across the three-square mile event district.

By Jaenell Woods on