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:

Host An Artist

Help an ArtPrize Artist from out of town offset some of their travel costs by providing them with temporary housing. It’s a great way to help the Artists directly and make a new friend or two in the process. Plus, you never know—you could be hosting the next big winner! Learn more about hosting an Artist.

HUB Hospitality

Provide hospitality and support to visitors from near and far by volunteering in the Public Lounge at the ArtPrize HUB at 41 Sheldon. Make everyone feel at home and direct any inquiries to the appropriate personnel. Posts include working in our retail store, outdoor lounge and as greeter.

Kids Art Room

Lead and supervise arts and crafts activities in the Kids Art Room at the ArtPrize HUB. If you enjoy working with children, this is the place for you!

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.

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.

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.

Eligibility

Anyone ages 18 and older can volunteer for ArtPrize! All you have to do is sign up 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. Whatever works for you, we’re happy to have you on the team.

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

  • Attend the one-hour Orientation
  • 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 after you sign up.

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.

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

  1. Organize your group. If you don't have a group yet, you can use this handy Group Volunteering Flyer to spread the word and recruit your friends.
  2. Reach out. Send an e-mail to volunteer@artprize.org and tell us about your group. We'll send you a packet with all the information you need to get your group signed up, including available Wayfinding shifts, training times, and a form for you to fill out with the names and e-mail addresses of your group members. 
  3. Choose a day and shift that works for everyone and tell us who's committed. Fill out the form we sent you, send it back, and let us do the rest!

From here we will create accounts for each member of your group based on the name and e-mail information you provide and send each individual their own username and password so that they can sign in to their Volunteer Account. Each group member will be signed up for the same shift and training time, based on your request. Make sure you sign up for Orientation as well!

Still have questions? Download the Group Volunteering FAQs. We're here to make this process simple and fun, so please reach out with any questions.

Sign Up

The sign up process is so easy it’s silly. Here’s what you do:

  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.

Volunteer Account

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

Log into your Volunteer account. (Don't have an account yet? Create one here.)

To log in, use the username and password we sent you via e-mail when you signed up to volunteer. (You’ll probably want to change the temporary password to something easier to remember once you get into your account.)

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!

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

Before each shift, all ArtPrize Volunteers need to check in at the Volunteer Lounge in the ArtPrize HUB at 41 Sheldon.

All registered ArtPrize Volunteers are listed alphabetically by last name in a binder available in the 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

  • 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.

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 Wristband (for free rides on the Rapid buses 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 free tickets to the ArtPrize Awards

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 four (4) Wayfinding shifts, earn a special gift (details TBA).

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 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 the Volunteer Portal.

Volunteer Account

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

Volunteer Lounge

This is your special corner of the ArtPrize HUB, pretty much like a secret base. Come check it out!

Volunteer Facebook Group

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!

Dress Code

You will be provided with a vest, apron, or pin to wear during your shift.

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!

Shuttle/Bus Service

Don’t forget, one of the perks of being an ArtPrize Volunteer is free rides on the Rapid buses during ArtPrize! There are routes connecting the HUB and Exhibition Centers throughout the 3 mile ArtPrize district to help make getting to and from your shifts as easy as possible.

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 volunteer@artprize.org.

HUB Leads


Help prep and post all Volunteers working in the HUB. This important role will ensure that all of our HUB spaces are kept clean and filled with happy Volunteers and happy visitors!

Wayfinder Leads


Work with the Volunteer Team in the Lounge to prep and post our Wayfinders. During the shift you will wander the neighborhoods to check in on all your Volunteers and stay available as their point person.

Retail Leads

Work with our retail staff in the official ArtPrize Store. This role will involve providing outstanding customer service, working on the cash register, helping price merchandise, and maintaining the cash wrap area. Previous experience in retail is recommended. Experience and comfort working with Mac OSX, iOS, inventory management software, and sales (including cash sales) are necessary. Extra training required.

Cafe Leads

Assist with the preparation and sale of coffee and light snacks at the ArtPrize HUB cafe. Experience and comfort working with iOS, Square, and cash sales are necessary. Extra training required.

Host an ArtPrize Artist!

ArtPrize attracts some of the world’s most amazing artists, many of whom risk everything 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 Public Vote First Prize winners—including Ran Ortner, Beili Lou, Mia Tavonatti, and Young Kim—were all hosted by people just like you.

To provide housing, just follow these simple steps:

  1. Review the Tips for Hosting an Artist (below) and write a short bio.
  2. Fill out the Host an ArtPrize Artist Form and submit your application for our 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 volunteer@artprize.org to let us know. In this email, please let us know if you plan to make additional matches or if you are ready to have your name removed from the list of available hosts!

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 children?
  • 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, or are you close to public transit? Is there room at your home for the Artist to park if they bring their own car?

To help ensure that you find an Artist that’s a good fit for your home, we suggest that you type up a short bio that includes the number of people in your household, whether or not you have pets, a description of the space available, sleeping arrangements, amenities, expectations, etc., and a photo or two of you, your family and/or roommates, and the offered accommodations. We’ll provide this information to inquiring Artists, so the more information you give, the better chance you have of finding an Artist that’s a great fit!

When you’re reviewing Artists who’ve requested temporary housing and considering who to host, try checking out their website, Facebook page, Artist Profile on artprize.org, or even their Venue to get a better feel for what it might be like to have them live with you for a couple weeks. We want you to have the best possible hosting experience, so feel free to reach out to several Artists at once to give yourself options.

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. We are here to support you should you run into a sticky situation!

Reach out with any questions to volunteer@artprize.org.