(photo from SiTE:LAB's Facebook Page)

ArtPrize venues have always been located within a three square mile rectangle in downtown Grand Rapids, with one notable exception: Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. Meijer Gardens was a can’t-miss cultural attraction in West Michigan long before ArtPrize began, and we’re happy to bend the boundary rule to include them. Now, the activity of a younger organization has compelled us to make a similar exception. SiTE:LAB’s ArtPrize 2015 venue will occupy a city block on Rumsey Street SW, between Grandville and Century, just a little south of the Wealthy Street venue boundary.

SiTE:LAB has become an important venue participant in ArtPrize, winning the ArtPrize Venue Juried Award three of the four times it has been offered. At the same time, their reputation as an innovative art organization has grown locally and throughout the country. For their new Rumsey Street project, they’re partnering with Habitat for Humanity to address a collection of buildings, rather than their usual occupation of a single structure. The project also allows them to explore the social dimensions of these types of art interventions, as they’re considering how this project will impact the Roosevelt Park neighborhood. This is of particular interest to us, since this area of Grand Rapids is home to underserved and often overlooked communities that we want to be better included in ArtPrize.

To be clear, ArtPrize is not moving the venue boundary to the south. The southern boundary remains Wealthy Street. SiTE:LAB will become one of only two venues that exists outside the boundary. We’re treating this as a pilot program—a way to observe the outcomes of stretching outside of the traditional venue boundary. At this point we're not sure where those learnings will lead us.

As for what SiTE:LAB will do on the site, both during ArtPrize and with other programming throughout the year, we’ll leave it to them to provide details. Whatever it is, we’re excited to see it!

By Kevin Buist on