Become a Volunteer


Anyone ages 18 and older can volunteer for ArtPrize! All you have to do is apply online using a valid e-mail address before the end of Orientation. (You also have to be friendly and helpful and generally awesome, which, if you’re looking into volunteering, you clearly are. Congrats! You’re qualified!)

A quick note for Artists

If you’re participating in ArtPrize as an Artist, you can still sign up to volunteer! Many Artists volunteer every year, and we love to have Artists involved in welcoming visitors and encouraging participation. However, please keep in mind that it is very important that ArtPrize is in no way connected with the promotion of your Artwork. That means that when you are volunteering, you are a Volunteer only. Any promotion of your Artwork in the competition while volunteering will result in the termination of your participation with the Volunteer Team. Fair enough?

Time Commitment

This is largely up to you. Some Volunteers want to help out all day every day (it really is that much fun), while others can only commit to volunteering for a few hours. Most will usually sign up for at least three shifts—because that's when the coupon perks kick in. Whatever works for you, we’re happy to have you on the team!

As an ArtPrize Volunteer, there are just two minimum time requirements:

  1. Attend the one-hour Orientation
  2. Serve during at least one shift (each shift is typically about three hours long)

Pick an Orientation time and schedule your shifts through your Volunteer Account. (You'll receive your log in information after your application has been processed.)

Apply Now

  1. Click here to fill out the online Volunteer Application form
  2. Enter your name, e-mail address, and other information and then click “Continue”
  3. That was it!

When you’re approved, you’ll receive a confirmation e-mail with a username and password for your Volunteer Account.

Group Volunteering

Prefer to volunteer with friends? Perfect! Groups are encouraged to volunteer together during ArtPrize; it’s a fun way to see art, extend hospitality to visitors, and spend time with your friends and co-workers in the great city of Grand Rapids. Group Volunteers are positioned as Wayfinders, the official tour guides and ambassadors of ArtPrize.

Registration for Group Volunteering will be open from July 1-31, 2016.

It's easy to sign up with friends. Here's how:

  1. Each member of your group should register for a volunteer account online. Before signing up for shifts on your volunteer account, send us an email at with all of the names of your group members who will be joining us. We will give you special access to the available shifts through your volunteer account. 
  2. Coordinate with your group to choose a date and time that works best for everyone. Each member of your group should sign up for theses shifts individually through your volunteer account. We will follow up with your group's point person after group sign up closes on July 31st. 
  3. Sign your group up for a volunteer orientation session through your volunteer accounts online. 

After group volunteer sign up closes on August 1st, we'll be in touch with with more information about your volunteer shifts and orientation sessions. 

Still have questions?

Download the Group Volunteering FAQs or view a list of Group Opportunities here 

We're here to make this process simple and fun, so please reach out with any questions.

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer Opportunities 

There are all sorts of ways for generous, fun-loving people like you to get involved in the ArtPrize® excitement! Here’s a sample of what’s on the menu:

Welcome Crew and Wayfinders

Serve as an ArtPrize tour guide and ambassador of downtown Grand Rapids! You’ll be equipped with maps and other resources and assigned to a specific location in the ArtPrize District where you’ll welcome visitors, provide directions, answer questions, and promote activities and venues in your area. Must be willing and able to be on your feet for 3-hour shifts. All Wayfinders meet and leave from the Volunteer Lounge. This position is open to group volunteers.

Voter Registration

One of the most important jobs during ArtPrize! Help visitors set up their voter registration accounts and complete the registration process. Working knowledge of computers is a must. Extra training required.

Education Programs

ArtPrize offers awesome volunteer opportunities through family events, activities, and school programs. Volunteer positions range from lead docents to facilitators in our drop-in art studio spaces. Some of these positions require a background check, and some additional training.

Exhibition Assistants 

There are many different ways to get involved with our exhibits team at ArtPrize including public art installation/de-installations, artist events like Link Sessions, and helping as gallery guides in exhibit spaces. 

ArtPrize Events

Assist in the general set-up and execution of official ArtPrize events to help facilitate the best possible experience for everyone involved. With a few exceptions, these events are usually in the evenings and will require a commitment of 3 to 6 hours.

Leadership Positions

All of our shifts need a Volunteer Lead! Leads are responsible for sending out and placing Volunteers in their specific posts, checking in with all posts during the shift, and collecting any ArtPrize resources at the end of the shift. Extra training required. Learn more about Volunteer Leadership positions.

Leadership Positions

Want to do a little bit more? All of our shifts need a Volunteer Lead!

Volunteer Leads are:

  • Willing to commit to five or more shifts on a specific team
  • Willing to put in the time to become an “expert” on all things ArtPrize
  • Super-duper friendly
  • Comfortable giving direction
  • Skilled with people
  • Natural peacekeepers and peacemakers
  • Well organized
  • Not easily stressed

If this sounds like you, get in touch at

ArtPrize Eight Lead Volunteer Opportunities

Education Docents

Volunteers will engage audiences ranging from classrooms, to after school programs, to families, to the general public. Docents will ask open-ended questions in order to hold a discussion and engage the viewer's critical thinking skills while viewing Northwood Awakening.

STEAM Village

The STEAM Village learning lab will feature hands on, immersive technology and experiential stations for students, families and ArtPrizers during the eighth annual event. This volunteer opportunity will come with some in-depth training for leads to help staff members keep the STEAM Village experience running smoothly. Volunteers positions involve helping with crowd control and assisting general volunteers with a variety of interactive technology and art demonstrations as well as facilitating a hands-on art making area.

Welcome Crew Ambassadors

Stationed at and oversee the Neighborhood HUB Information Booths around Grand Rapids, these volunteers will be the friendly face at the ArtPrize and help visitors get the most out of their experience. In this position you'll hand out maps, give directions, and share your knowledge of the ArtPrize mobile app, voting and events, and help visitors register to vote.

Spanish Speaking Welcome Crew Ambassadors

These volunteers will be the friendly face at the ArtPrize Rumsey Street Neighborhood Hub Information Booth and help visitors get the most out of their ArtPrize experience. In this position you'll hand out maps, give directions, and share your knowledge of the ArtPrize mobile app, voting and events, and help visitors register to vote.

Wayfinding Leads

These volunteers will work with the Volunteer team to organize and direct all volunteers working as ArtPrize Wayfinders. This will involve managing the sign in process of all Wayfinding Volunteers, Wayfinding bag distribution, and assigning wayfinders to posts around the city.

Volunteer Lounge Leads

Volunteer Lounge Leads will assist the Volunteer team in overseeing operations at the two ArtPrize Volunteer Lounges where volunteers will check in and out of their shifts and relax and unwind after their shifts.

Retail Leads

These volunteers help run the HUB/HQ Retail store.  They will assist in ringing up customers, finding sizes for customers and maintaining the store making sure it's presentable and clean.

Fleet Driver Leads

Responsible, friendly and courteous volunteer drivers are needed to drive VIP guests during ArtPrize. Most routes will be to and from the city to the airport. A driving record background check will be administered for all candidates. These positions are mostly on-call, but we will have more information on scheduled pick ups in early to mid September

Volunteer Orientation and Resources

Orientation & Training

We’re committed to making sure you have everything you need to enjoy a great volunteer experience. That’s why every volunteer is REQUIRED to attend orientation. If you don’t attend, you will not be able to volunteer.

Orientation is a one-hour training session during the week before ArtPrize. It’s held at several different times so that everyone can attend, including weekday, weeknight, and weekend options.

Additional training will be provided for voter registration and Volunteer Lead positions. All orientation meetings and training sessions are held at the ArtPrize HUB at 41 Sheldon Blvd.

Sign up for Orientation and training sessions the same way you would schedule a shift through your Volunteer Account.

2016 Orientation Sessions

General Volunteer Orientation Schedule

  • Tuesday, September 6th from 10 a.m.–11 a.m.
  • Tuesday, September 6th from 6 p.m.–7 p.m.
  • Thursday, September 8th from 10 a.m.–11 a.m.
  • Thursday, September 8th from 6 p.m.–7 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 10th from 10 a.m.–11 a.m.
  • Saturday, September 10th from 6 p.m.–7 p.m.

Welcome Crew Ambassador (Lead)/Wayfinding Lead Training Schedule

  • Wednesday, September 7th from 1 p.m.–2 p.m.
  • Wednesday, September 7th from 6 p.m.–7 p.m.
  • Thursday, September 8th from 1 p.m.–2 p.m.
  • Sunday, September 11th from 3 p.m.–4 p.m.

HUB/Volunteer Lounge (Lead) Training Schedule

  • Friday, September 9th from 10 a.m.–11 a.m.
  • Friday, September 9th from 6 p.m.–7 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 10th from 1 p.m.–2 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 10th from 3 p.m.–4 p.m.

Education Lead Training Schedule 

  • Thursday, September 8th from 5:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m.
  • Friday, September 9th from 10 a.m.–1 p.m.

Retail Lead Training Schedule

  • Thursday, September 8th from 5:30 p.m.–8:30 p.m.
  • Friday, September 9th from 10 a.m.–1 p.m.

Become a Grand Rapids-Certified Tourism Ambassador ... for free! 
Experience Grand Rapids has graciously offed to host a free CTA Training session for all ArtPrize Volunteers!

Accredited through the Tourism Ambassador Institute® and administered at the local level, theCertified Tourism AmbassadorTM (CTA) program is the industry-recognized certification. It's the only program in existence today that gives an official designation (John Sample, CTA) to individuals—from mayors, to general managers, to drivers, to waiters—people who care about their destination and want everyone who visits to talk positively about their experience. Click here to learn more about the program

Interested? Great! Sign up by searching for the Grand Rapids program and selecting the free ArtPrize session on the CTA Network website here. This session will take place on Saturday, August 27th from 1–4 p.m. at the Marriott Courtyard in the Kent Room. 

Training Materials

  • 2016 Volunteer Handbook coming soon (August)

Volunteer Account

Odds are, you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for here. Learn more or sign in.

Volunteer Facebook Page

The ArtPrize Volunteer Facebook Group is a great place to get to know your fellow volunteers, share tips and stories, and stay up-to-date on the most recent ArtPrize news. This will also be a great place to find out about last-minute needs and other volunteer opportunities!

Wayfinder Kits

Every Wayfinder is given a full kit of resources to help you answer any question a visitor may toss your way. In addition to a copy of the guidebook and map, we’ll provide you with maps of downtown restaurants, available restrooms, and other pertinent information to help you feel comfortable in your role, even if you’re not super familiar with downtown Grand Rapids when you first sign up. Answers to voting and event questions will also be provided to help you give consistent and complete answers. That said, if you’re still concerned about giving proper guidance, there are plenty of other opportunities to volunteer!

The Rapid/Silver Line Bus Service

Don’t forget, one of the perks of being an ArtPrize Volunteer is 10 free rides on the Rapid and unlimited rides on the Silver Line during ArtPrize! These routes throughout the 3-mile ArtPrize District help make getting to and from your shifts as easy as possible.

Volunteer Benefits

First, let’s be clear: we know you’re not in this for the swag. But volunteering for ArtPrize is not without its perks. You give us a lot, and we’re happy to give a little back. You’ve earned it. And we like you.

Every Volunteer receives:

  • A free Event Guide (includes map)
  • A free ArtPrize Metro Card (for 10 free rides on the Rapid and unlimited use of the Silver Line during ArtPrize)
  • Access to the Volunteer Lounge at the ArtPrize HUB (free snacks and a place to chill out)
  • Access to Volunteer-only events
  • Daily raffle entry for prizes

Plus, you can earn even more!

  • For completing your first three (3) shifts, earn a coupon for 25% off your entire purchase from the ArtPrize store
  • For completing every three shifts after that (6, 9, 12, etc.), earn a coupon for 50% off one item from the ArtPrize store
  • For completing five (5) shifts, earn your "Fifth Shift Gift"—a special gift created for our most dedicated volunteers each year

We can’t thank you enough for understanding ArtPrize, loving it, and giving so generously of your time to make this incredible event an experience to remember. Your smiles, energy, and enthusiasm fill us with gratitude and make us proud to be doing what we do. We hope you feel the same!

Volunteer Account

Your Volunteer account is brimming with important information for Volunteers, so it’s worth a few minutes to make yourself familiar. This is where you'll schedule volunteer shifts, find details about volunteer events, and personalize your Volunteer Profile with a photo of your smiling face.

Log in using the username and password you selected when you submitted your volunteer application. Don't worry if you forget your password—you can reset it from the sign in page.

Sign in to your Volunteer account. (Don't have an account yet? Create one here.)

Schedule Your Shifts

Because your time is valuable, you get to choose the shifts that you want during the times that work best for your personal schedule! By using an online scheduling system through your Volunteer Account, we’re able to coordinate your schedule with the rest of the Volunteer Team and match your availability with all the ways you can help!

Volunteer shift sign-up will open on August 12, 2016.

Sign up for shifts

  1. Sign in to your Volunteer Account and click the “My Schedule” tab to bring up your calendar.
  2. Click the “Help Wanted” sign on any given date to pull up a list of all the volunteer shifts available that day. You will also be able to see who else has signed up for shifts.
  3. Click the orange “Schedule Me” button beside a shift to add yourself to the schedule, then confirm by clicking the orange “Yes” button at the bottom of the next page. Click “Continue” to return to the calendar and sign up for more opportunities!

If you do not see the “Schedule Me” button next to a shift, it means the shifts for that position on that specific day are full. Please look to another day or position for open shifts.

Once you’re on the schedule, you will be sent a schedule reminder 48 hours before your shift. Please note that, while you may change your schedule any time prior to this point, you may not change your shift after you have been sent this reminder.

Changing your schedule

You may change your schedule any time up until 48 hours before your shift starts. To change your shift, sign in to your Volunteer Account and follow these three steps:

  1. Click on the “My Schedule” tab to bring up your calendar.
  2. Click on the date you are scheduled. At the top of the screen you will see your personal schedule.
  3. Click “Remove Me” from the shift you can no longer fill. Be sure to find another shift you’re interested in filling instead!

Check In for Your Shifts

Before each shift, all ArtPrize Volunteers need to check in.

  • If you have a shift working at the HUB, you will need to check in at the Volunteer Lounge in the ArtPrize HUB at 41 Sheldon.
  • If you have ANY OTHER shift, you will need to check in at the Volunteer Lounge at 50 Monroe. This is the main Volunteer Lounge where all Wayfinding, events, and education volunteers will check in.

All registered ArtPrize Volunteers are listed alphabetically by last name in a binder available in either Volunteer Lounge, and there’s a unique PIN number beside each name. You don’t have to memorize this number or anything, but you’ll need your PIN to use the Sign-In Kiosk and check in.

Here’s how to use the Sign-In Kiosk:

  1. Enter your Volunteer PIN, then touch the “Continue” button.
  2. Confirm your name and touch the “Yes” button.
  3. When it asks what you’d like to do, touch the “Sign In” button.
  4. Touch the assignment you’ve signed up for.
  5. Confirm your name, date, time, and assignment by touching the “Yes” button.

You are now officially signed-in for your shift! Go get ‘em!

Note: The system will automatically sign you out and credit your account with the service hours. You will still need to check out with your shift Lead. And if you forget to sign-in before your shift, no problem—just fill out one of the time sheet forms available at the sign-in kiosk.

A few things to keep in mind

  • You will be provided with a vest, apron, or pin to wear during your shift.
  • Rain or shine, people come down in droves to visit ArtPrize during the short time period it is available. We count on our Wayfinders to assist them no matter what the weather! Be sure to dress appropriately for being outside for your entire shift, including umbrellas or raincoats if the skies look threatening.
  • Unfortunately, children are not allowed to come along with their parents for their volunteer shifts. However, if your child is 18 years or older, they are invited to sign up for their own account and join you on your volunteer shifts. Be sure to coordinate your shifts together.
  • There will always be a few snacks available for you in the Volunteer Lounge, so please help yourself any time before or after your shift! That said, we encourage you to be prepared for your shift and eat before you come.

Checking your service hours

If you’d like to check your current volunteer service hours, use the Sign-In Kiosk in the Volunteer Lounge.

  1. Enter your Volunteer PIN, then touch the “Continue” button.
  2. Confirm your name and touch the “Yes” button.
  3. When asked what you’d like to do, touch the “My Service History” button.

There you go! When you’re finished, just touch the “Exit” button to close  your session.

Host an ArtPrize Artist!

ArtPrize attracts some of the world’s most amazing artists—many of whom make an enormous effort to bring their ideas to Grand Rapids. By opening your home, you can help an artist offset some costs associated with participating in ArtPrize—and make a new friend (or two) in the process.

Each year ArtPrize helps match out-of-town artists with volunteers offering free temporary housing. Many previous award winners—including Beili Liu, Mia Tavonatti, Adonna Khare, Young Kim, and Anila Quayyum—were all hosted by volunteers.

To provide housing, just follow these simple steps:

  1. Review the "Tips for Hosting an Artist" (see below).
  2. Fill out the Host an ArtPrize Artist form and submit your application for review. 
  3. Once approved, we will provide you with a spreadsheet of artists requesting temporary housing for you to consider.
  4. Reach out via e-mail or phone to connect with an artist who you think could be a good fit for your home. When you have made a good match and secured your agreement, we ask that you send us an email at to let us know. In this email, please indicate if you plan to make additional matches, or if you are ready to have your name removed from the list of available hosts.
  5. Let the fun times begin!

Tips for Hosting an Artist

It is important to think through some of your expectations before signing up to host an ArtPrize artist. Use these questions as a guide to help you explain your preferences and the arrangements you’re willing to provide.

  • How many people are you able to host comfortably in your home? What are the sleeping arrangements?
  • How long are you willing to have someone stay with you?
  • Do you have a preference on the gender or age of your visiting artist?
  • Do you have pets? Would you be comfortable if the artist brought their pet(s)?
  • Do you smoke? Are you open to hosting a smoker?
  • How much time do you anticipate spending with your guest? Are you willing to share meals or a cooking space?
  • Are you willing to share your bathroom or other common spaces with someone new?
  • Do you have a computer that you are willing to share if needed? Can you provide access to WiFi?
  • Are you willing to let the artist use your laundry room if needed?
  • Are you comfortable giving the artist a key to your home? Would it be okay if your guest is up early, out late, or at your home while you are out?
  • Would you be able to provide any transportation for your guest if necessary, or are you close to public transit? Is there room at your home for the artist to park if they bring their own car?

When you’re reviewing artists who have requested temporary housing and considering who to host, check out their website, Facebook page, Artist Profile on, or even their Venue to get a better feel for what it might be like to have them stay with you.

We want you to have the best possible hosting experience. Feel free to reach out to several artists at once to give yourself options. Please remember that ArtPrize does not arrange any of the connections between artists and hosts, so make sure to reach out and invite an artist into your home.

Once you’re in conversation with an artist, it’s important to know when to say no. Address any concerns up front and if someone doesn’t feel like a good fit, just say so—they won’t be offended, and you’ll both be happier in the end.

If you agree to host an artist, and it becomes evident later that you’re not a good fit for each other, we strongly encourage you to be direct and ask the artist to find alternative housing for the duration of their stay.