Grand Rapids opens its arms to the many visitors and artists that flock to the city for ArtPrize each year, and we’re seeking friends of ArtPrize to open up their homes to artists during the event this fall. The ArtPrize Artist Housing program connects visiting artists with local hosts. When you sign up as a volunteer host, you not only offer an artist free temporary housing and a homebase during their stay in our city, you’ll also deepen your own experience with this one-of-a-kind international art competition.

Artists share a lot of themselves -- their artwork, time, energy, money, and more -- when participating in ArtPrize. The Artist Housing program helps to reduce the costs artists face when participating in the event from outside of West Michigan. Volunteers who open their homes provide support to visiting artists, act as ambassadors to our city and region, and are an integral part of the ArtPrize family.

Become a volunteer host, and you’ll enjoy the following perks:

  • Weekly Raffles
  • Access to the ArtPrize Clubhouse, including weekly Happy Hours
  • 30% off everything at the ArtPrize HUB/HQ retail store (50% if you host multiple artists)
  • Exclusive access during Preview Week
  • Volunteer events hosted by ArtPrize year-round
  • Two tickets to ArtPrize Awards Ceremony and after party

Beyond these perks, the experiences that hosts have had as a result of their participation in this program make them keep opening their homes to artists year after year.

2016 Juried Grand Prize Winner, Stacey Kirby with hosts Cheryl & Pete Dix

Cheryl Dix, who hosted Stacey Kirby -- last year’s Juried Grand Prize winner for her entry "The Bureau of Personal Belonging" -- shared some of her insight into the program.

“Hosting ArtPrize artists for two years has been a wonderfully rewarding experience for my husband and myself. We love art and we love meeting new people, so this just seemed like the right fit as a way to volunteer for ArtPrize,” said Cheryl. “We became very engaged with [Stacey’s] work, not just with setting up the office spaces, but then I volunteered many hours to ‘perform’ as an officer in her Bureau. The fact that she ended up winning the Jurors’ prize was just icing on the cake for us as hosts for such an amazing young woman with such an amazing work of art.”

In both years that they’ve participated in the Artist Housing program, Cheryl and her husband hosted the winner of Pitch Night Durham. She noted that she enjoys hosting artists because she’s made great friends who’ve all been politically engaged and passionate about the message portrayed in their work. Volunteering in this way has also allowed her to be an ArtPrize “insider,” developing a better understanding of the perspectives and challenges of being an artist. Not to mention that it just feels good to help artists achieve their goals.

“We hope to host artists every year because it has been so rewarding for us,” said Cheryl. “My husband was very resistant to us hosting artists at first, but after two years of such fantastic experiences and making new friends, he can't wait to see who we host for 2017!”

Stacey Kirby, the Juried Grand Prize-winning artist who stayed with Cheryl and Pete Dix during ArtPrize Eight, is hugely supportive of the Artist Housing program.

“[Cheryl and Pete] offered a beautiful and restorative home environment for me to recharge each evening. Their generosity allowed me to grow as an artist in ways that I had only hoped,” said Stacey. “I absolutely could not have taken home the ArtPrize Eight Juried Grand Prize without their support. My suggestion to Grand Rapids community members: If you want the opportunity to support the arts and change a life, then host an ArtPrize artist. You won't regret it.”

Find out how you can share your home with an ArtPrize artist. 

By Katie Moore on