Things To Do
Grand Rapids is a vibrant and energetic city on your average day, and ArtPrize® cranks that to 11. Art is everywhere you look, local businesses and restaurants are transformed into ArtPrize Venues, and some of the region’s most prestigious educational and cultural institutions open their doors as Exhibition Centers and Showcase Venues.
The central event is the Public Vote, and the number one thing to do during ArtPrize is see incredible art by Artists from all over the world—and vote for who you think should win the $200,000 Public Vote Grand Prize!
But ArtPrize is more than the competition itself. From rich educational programming to intimate Q&A sessions to full-blown parties, there’s something for everyone to learn, experience, and celebrate.
Explore the full ArtPrize events calendar.
In Grand Rapids
Although ArtPrize may seem to take over the entire city for a few weeks, there are still lots of other things going on in downtown Grand Rapids and the surrounding areas during ArtPrize—from great local food and exceptional craft beer to downtown shopping, music, and entertainment. Plus, with biking, hiking, fishing, and an abundance of other activities for outdoor enthusiasts within the area and the beautiful West Michigan coast just 30 minutes away, there’s something for everyone.
If you’re traveling to ArtPrize from out of town, fear not—it’s pretty easy to get here. Grand Rapids is less than three hours by car from Detroit or Chicago, and less than six hours from Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Toronto. Also, the Gerald R. Ford International airport is only 20 minutes from downtown, and Greyhound and Amtrak stop in the heart of the city.
Travel to Grand Rapids
- Plane: Gerald R. Ford International Airport
- Train: Amtrak Grand Rapids
- Bus: Greyhound and The Rapid
- Car: Google Maps
You'll find car rentals from Avis, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, and National/Alamo on the first level of the parking garage at the Gerald R. Ford Airport, just steps from the baggage claim. Or, ride The Rapid from the airport to downtown. Taxis are also available within the city.
More information about transportation options can be found at experienceGR.com.
Meijer Park and Ride
If you’re traveling from the outskirts of Grand Rapids and want to avoid parking downtown, you can leave your car at one of several area Meijer stores and ride The Rapid (Grand Rapids’ excellent bus system) to ArtPrize!
Stop inside Meijer and pick up an ArtPrize Wristband (2 for $5!) to enjoy unlimited rides on all Rapid buses for the duration of ArtPrize. (Wristbands are also available at the HUB and all Exhibition Centers.)
|Riding From:||Take This Bus:|
2425 Alpine NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49544
Gaines Township Meijer
1801 Marketplace SW, Gaines Twp, MI 49316
(Note: This route does not run on Saturday or Sunday)
3434 Century Center SW, Grandville, MI 49418
Grandville & Rivertown
Knapp’s Corner Meijer
1997 E Beltline NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
315 Wilson NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49534
Route 7 & Route 12
West Leonard (7) West Fulton (12)
(Note: These routes do not run on Sundays)
28th Street/Kalamazoo Ave Meijer
1540 28th St SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49508
54th Street/Clyde Park Meijer
5500 Clyde Park SW, Wyoming, MI 49509
Visit ridetherapid.org or call 616-776-1100 for scheduled times and a bus stop locator.
Once you’re here, there are plenty of places to stay, including several hotels right downtown in the middle of all the action.
For a full list of area hotels, visit experienceGR.com.
The Public Vote
At ArtPrize, spectators and visitors like you take an active role as judge and critic, and an unprecedented top prize is determined solely by public vote. Artists from all across the globe travel to Grand Rapids and bring their artwork to compete for the world’s largest ArtPrize—and you determine the winners!
Here’s how it works:
During Round 1 of voting, every Entry at every Venue in the ArtPrize District is in the running for the big prizes. See as much art as humanly possible and vote for the Entries in each category that you think are most worthy of the top prize:
2-D – Entries that exists primarily on a flat plane. Painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, and most textiles are examples of 2D work.
3-D – Entries that occupy space and are intended to be viewed from multiple angles. Sculptures that are not site-specific belong in the 3-D category.
Time-Based – Entries that are durational and change over time. This includes performance, video and film, dance, music, and interactive work.
Installation – Entries that are dependent on the site in which they are installed. The location is not a neutral ground, but makes up an important ingredient of the work. Installation is different from 3-D in that changing the location of the piece would dramatically change the work.
Round 1 opens at Noon on September 24th and goes until 11:59 p.m. on October 4th.
Public Vote Rankings & Juror Short Lists
Several days into Round 1, ArtPrize releases the Public Vote Top 100 List, tracking the frontrunners from each Category in real time. See the art everyone else is talking about—or stir up buzz about your favorite Entry to boost their chance of making it into the Final 20!
The Juried Award Shortlist Nominees are released at the same time, allowing the art experts who will be deciding the Juried Awards (see below) to influence the public conversation. This list of Nominees draws attention to the artwork in each Category that the jurors believe is most worthy of the recognition.
The Public Vote Finalists Announcement
When Round 1 closes, the five Artist Entries from each Category with the most Round 1 votes are announced and move on to Round 2. The twenty Finalists, announced on October 5th, will compete for the Public Vote Grand Prize and four category awards.
During Round 2, you vote again! Take another look at the twenty Finalists and vote for the ones you think deserve to win the $20,000 category awards and, ultimately, the $200,000 Public Vote Grand Prize. When Round 2 closes, the votes are tallied and the winners are announced at the ArtPrize Awards!
Round 2 begins directly after the Public Vote Finalists Announcement on October 5th and goes until October 9th at 11:59 p.m.
In addition to the Public Vote, ArtPrize presents parallel Juried Awards—four $20,000 category awards and one $200,000 Juried Award Grand Prize. The jury also presents an award for Outstanding Venue, given to the curator of a Venue, not a participating Artist. Chosen by internationally acclaimed art experts, the Juried Awards put critical favorites in the spotlight and add to the public conversation about what makes good art. The Juried Awards are decided separate from the Public Vote, and it's possible for an Entry to win both a Public Vote and Juried Award.
Register To Vote
To vote at ArtPrize, the first step is to sign up for an artprize.org account. Simply provide an individual e-mail address and choose a password, or, to make things even easier, you can sign up using your Facebook account—just one click and you’re done.
Once you have an artprize.org account, you need to visit ArtPrize during the event and register to vote in person. There are two easy ways to register.
Option 1: Register in person at a Voting Site
Visit the ArtPrize HUB, any Exhibition Center, or another Voting Site and present a government-issued photo ID (either a driver’s license, state ID, or passport). That’s it! While you’re there, we’ll answer any questions you have about how to cast your votes and make sure you have everything you need to get the most out of ArtPrize. (We can also help you sign up for an artprize.org account if you don't already have one.)
Option 2: Register using the ArtPrize mobile app
Skip the lines at the Voting Sites and use the free ArtPrize app for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices to register on the go!
Here's how to do it
- Download the app: the free ArtPrize mobile app is available for Apple or Android devices.
- Go downtown: visit downtown Grand Rapids during ArtPrize (be sure to bring your phone!)
- Open the app: your phone's GPS will verify your location within the ArtPrize district and the app will automatically ask if you would like to register. Click "Yes" and you're done!
Now you can use the mobile app to explore the ArtPrize district, discover art, and cast your votes for who you think should take home the $200,000 Public Vote Grand Prize.
- You must be at least 16 years old to sign up for an artprize.org account and register to vote at ArtPrize.
- You must have an individual e-mail address to sign up for an ArtPrize account. If you don’t have an e-mail address, visit mail.google.com to create a free Gmail account, or go to the HUB at 41 Sheldon and an ArtPrize volunteer will help you create one.
- You must physically attend the event and register in person in order to vote. You can register at a Voting Site or use the ArtPrize mobile apps to verify your location via GPS.
- If you register to vote at a Voting Site, you must bring a driver’s license, state ID, or passport. No other form of ID will be accepted.
- Read the Official Rules for Voters for more detailed information.
Cast Your Votes
Once you've registered, go out and explore ArtPrize Venues and Exhibition Centers to see as much art as you can! You can use your printed Event Guide, the Find Art page on artprize.org, or the official ArtPrize mobile apps to discover art all around the city.
Each Artist Entry is displayed with an Artist Label that includes the title of the Entry, the artist's name, and a unique five-digit Artist Vote Code.
There are three ways to cast your votes
- Online at artprize.org: Sign in to your artprize.org account and go to the Find Art page to find the art you’ve seen and liked, then simply click the "Vote" button on an Entry to cast your vote. You can search for Entries by title, artist name, or by Artist Vote Code, browse and filter art by Venue or Category, or even discover new art through Lists.
- Using the mobile apps: If you have a mobile device, download the free ArtPrize app for Apple or Android to make voting easy as you explore the event. You can use the app to search for specific Entries or even discover art near you. Simply tap the "Vote" button on an Entry to cast your vote.
- Via text message (SMS): If you don't have a mobile device, you can still vote on the go by texting Artist Vote Codes to 808080. To vote by text, add your mobile phone number to your artprize.org account and follow the simple set up instructions in the confirmation text message.
Remember, there are two rounds of voting. In Round 1, you vote to choose the twenty Public Vote Finalists. In Round 2, you vote again to choose the ultimate winners from among the Final 20. The Entry with the most votes wins the $200,000 Public Vote Grand Prize!
See and change your votes
You can view your voting history online—and easily change your votes—by signing in to your ArtPrize account on artprize.org and selecting "Votes". Online and mobile app votes you've cast will appear in your history instantly. If you vote by text message, you’ll receive a confirmation of each vote by text as required by your texting service; text message votes will appear in your online voting history on artprize.org shortly after.
You can change your votes at any time during Round 1 by deselecting an Entry; your votes are locked once voting closes. Similarly, during Round 2, you can change your votes on the Final 20 up until voting closes.
Go out and vote for art, and have fun!
The ArtPrize HUB
Located at 41 Sheldon Blvd SE, the ArtPrize HUB is the perfect place to begin exploring all that ArtPrize has to offer.
- Sign up for an ArtPrize account and register to vote
- Pick up a free map (when you register)
- Purchase a copy of the Event Guide
- Buy an ArtPrize Wristband for unlimited shuttle and bus rides during the event
- Shop the ArtPrize Store
- Get help—from how to vote to recommendations for lunch
- Take a break in the public lounge areas
- Enjoy free WiFi
As the official ArtPrize HQ, the HUB also serves as home base for all ArtPrize Volunteers and provides a private lounge, concierge service, and other resources for competing Artists.
Monday thru Saturday: 11 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.
*The ArtPrize HUB is only open to the public during the ArtPrize event.
During ArtPrize, the whole city of Grand Rapids is an art gallery. Large or small, indoors or out, any space within the ArtPrize district can register as a venue to host artist exhibitions and visitors from around the world. You’ll find ArtPrize Entries everywhere—from world-renowned museums and private galleries to public parks, restaurants, and local coffee shops.
You can browse all Venues online, or pick up a copy of the Event Guide and Map at the ArtPrize HUB or any of the Exhibition Centers for a complete listing of participating locations.
Here are a few suggestions about where to start exploring:
The area’s finest cultural and educational institutions anchor the event with major art installations, public transportation stops, Voting Sites, ArtPrize gear, Event Guides, restrooms, and so much more. These must-see Venues will have the highest concentration of artwork on display and provide additional resources for visitors. Learn more about the Exhibition Centers.
A small number of Venues are selected each year as Showcase Venues. Featuring curated art installations in distinctive settings, these Venues promise an intriguing experience for ArtPrize visitors and are not to be missed. Learn more about the Showcase Venues.
Sponsored City Sites
Each year, the Downtown Development Authority and the City of Grand Rapids makes several City parks, landmarks, and other public spaces available as curated ArtPrize Venues. Learn more about the Public Parks.
Exhibition Centers & Showcase Venues
- Monday – Saturday: Noon – 8:00 p.m.
- Sunday: Noon – 6:00 p.m.
All Other Venues
- Monday – Thursday: 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
- Friday & Saturday: Noon – 8:00 p.m.
- Sunday: Noon – 6:00 p.m.
Many Venues have hours that extend beyond the required minimums listed here. Specific venue hours are available on each Venue Profile.
The ArtPrize district spans three square miles of downtown Grand Rapids, MI, and any space within its boundary can be an ArtPrize Venue. Within the ArtPrize district, you’ll find communities as diverse as the art itself.
The tidy cobblestone stretch of the Monroe Center Walking Mall welcomes visitors with artistry, innovative ideas, and character. Explore a Wolverine Worldwide retail site outfitted with items salvaged from the shoe leather tannery in Rockford, Michigan, where Hush Puppies and Wolverine boots were originally made. Or visit Central District Cyclery, an urban bike shop that caters to experienced riders, novice cyclists, and bike enthusiasts. Be sure to stop by the statue of Rosa Parks and take a moment to appreciate Rosa Parks Circle. Designed by Maya Lin, the renowned architect of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., it fulfills her vision to create a “green respite in the heart of the city.” See Venues in Center City.
The story of Heartside is one of hope, cultural diversity, and revitalized businesses. Today, it provides an atmosphere where artists can flourish and people who need compassion can seek assistance from a variety of upstanding community services. In 2005, a group of residential, commercial, and nonprofit groups banded together to create “Avenue for the Arts,” a vibrant section of the South Division commercial corridor. A community of inventive thinkers, Avenue for the Arts helps sustain artists by developing public projects including murals made by local residents, creative works by local art students, and installations in vacant storefronts. Heartside is also home to The HUB @ 41 Sheldon, a.k.a. ArtPrize headquarters. See Venues in the Heartside neighborhood.
Hillside encompasses the Heritage Hill Association, one of the country’s largest urban historic districts. Founded in 1968 to preserve the oldest residential neighborhood in Grand Rapids, Heritage Hill features hundreds of historic homes significant to the architectural community. Aficionados can take self-guided or public tours showcasing more than 60 architectural traditions including Dutch Colonial, Italianate, Greek, Gothic, and Prairie. The most famous example of Prairie style within the neighborhood is the Meyer May House, built in 1908 by Frank Lloyd Wright and restored by Steelcase during the 1980s. Touring Heritage Hill provides an opportunity to view art surrounded by the architecture that shaped the 20th century. See Venues in the Hillside neighborhood.
Atop the bluffs of Belknap Hill sits a neighborhood with a view of the past and a vision of the city’s future. Victorian homes built by furniture craftsmen nestle alongside the sparkling health facilities of the Medical Mile, where Spectrum Health System, Van Andel Research Institute, and the 14-floor Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital are quickly transforming the city into a pioneer in world-class health care and cancer research. The North Monroe business district once produced some of the finest cabinetry and handcrafted furnishings in the country. Now refurbished to resemble their original design, these former manufacturing sites house state-of-the- art office spaces, chic taprooms, art galleries, and upscale salons. See Venues in the Monroe North/Belknap neighborhood.
Thousands of artifacts from ancient and recent times are housed in the two museums along the Grand River. The Grand Rapids Public Museum features a planetarium, a working 1928 carousel overlooking the river, a recreated street from historic Grand Rapids, and diverse exhibits on the area’s Native people, habitats, and furniture industry. The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum celebrates our 38th president, a Grand Rapids native. Highlights include a replica of the Oval Office, interactive Cabinet room, relics from the 1970s and Vietnam War, and other artifacts from Ford’s presidency. The Westside is also the center of Grand Rapids’ Latino community, with many Spanish- speaking businesses and organizations serving the area’s growing population. See Venues in the Westside neighborhood.
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park grew out of the West Michigan Horticultural Society’s wish to promote understanding and appreciation for gardens, art, and most importantly, the natural environment. Covering 132 acres of natural wetlands, woodlands, and meadows, The Gardens blends art with nature, integrating sculptures throughout the site. Besides the critically acclaimed sculpture garden, the site features miles of nature trails and boardwalks and an amphitheater which hosts major recording artists. The popular Children’s Garden welcomes young visitors with interactive stations and a playhouse, a perfect place for imaginations to run wild. Tours are offered daily, and a café and gift shop are also located on the site.
*Meijer Gardens is the only Venue outside the boundaries of ArtPrize. It is located at 1000 East Beltline NE. Only the ArtPrize Exhibition Center is free to the public.
Start at the HUB or any Voting Site and register to vote to get your free copy of the ArtPrize map. Whether you prefer to walk, bike, or ride, it’s easy to get around Grand Rapids and get close to the ArtPrize action.
During ArtPrize, buy an ArtPrize Wristband (2 for $5!) at the ArtPrize HUB, any Exhibition Center, or one of several area Meijer stores to gain unlimited rides on all Rapid buses for the duration of the event.
The Downtown Area Shuttle provides the best transportation in the downtown area. DASH West and DASH to the Hill offer a great east-west connection, and the DASH has partnered with ArtPrize to link the DASH North and DASH South routes to create a single north-south transit line during ArtPrize. Grab a copy of the ArtPrize Event Guide or check the blog for schedules, maps, and more details closer to the event.
The Rapid Buses
The Rapid, Grand Rapids’ excellent bus system, offers routes throughout the greater Grand Rapids area. Visit ridetherapid.org on your computer or mobile device for schedules, maps, and quick search tools including Nearest Stop, Next Bus, and a handy Trip Planner that make it easy to visit ArtPrize and explore the city. More information can be found in your Event Guide.
The DASH and all Rapid buses are wheelchair-accessible. ADA service animals are permitted on all transit. Learn more about the Rapid's available mobility services.
With its bridges, riverside walkway, parks, and sidewalks, Grand Rapids is a pedestrian-friendly community, and the entire downtown is open to ArtPrize.
ArtPrize Walking Tours
To help visitors explore on foot, we’ve created a series of walking paths that will take you past ArtPrize Exhibition Centers and venues, along with many of the city’s finest natural features, landmarks, restaurants, and shops.
Start your journey at Rosa Parks Circle, choose a neighborhood, and follow the walking path markers on the sidewalks. And if a particular piece of art, Venue, or restaurant entices you to stray off the path, so be it. That’s one of the many reasons it’s so enjoyable to experience ArtPrize on foot—you never know what you’ll find along the way.
For maps of each route and more information about the ArtPrize Walking Tours, pick up a copy of the Event Guide at the HUB or any Exhibition Center.
ArtWalk is a three-mile group walking tour through the heart of downtown, and it’s a great way to kick off your weekend. Walkers are advised to bring drinking water and wear comfortable shoes. You can find more information about this annual sponsored event on the Events calendar.
Take your bike* out to explore ArtPrize and avoid the hassle of parking! With nearly 1,000 bicycle parking spaces available throughout downtown Grand Rapids, you can almost always find a safe and convenient spot to lock up on the street, in a ramp, or in a lot. Spots are particularly prevalent around college campuses—GRCC, Ferris/KCAD, WMU, Cooley Law School, Douglas J Aveda Institute, GVSU—and all Grand Rapids museums.
Furthermore, all DASH and Rapid buses are equipped with bike racks to make it easy to transfer your bike to and from ArtPrize. Read more about bringing your bicycle on the Rapid.
ArtFitness Bike Tour
Learn how to exercise your body and mind by exploring the core questions that guide you through a discusion about art. This bike tour will glide through Grand Rapids three times throughout the 19 days and is a great introduction to ArtPrize. Check the blog and events calendar for more information about the ArtFitness Bike Tour.
ArtPrize is committed to connecting visitors with all abilities to the world of art. All of our Exhibition Centers meet Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility guidelines, and most participating venues are self-identified as handicap accessible. See all accessible Venues.
Limited handicap parking is available at our downtown parking garages and near some venues. More parking information is available through the City of Grand Rapids.
Description of our Event Site
The ArtPrize District covers a 3 square mile radius. Our hope is that, by using the accessible transportation options provided by The DASH and Rapid buses, you are able to see as much of ArtPrize as possible!
We welcome suggestions and feedback about how to be more accessible. It is very important to us that ArtPrize is experienced by everyone. If there is something we are missing, we look to you to point it out as we move forward and plan future events.