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ArtPrize and the Social Good

ArtPrize wants to help the world be a better place. Through our Social Good programming, we aim to explore and find collective, collaborative solutions to the social problems of our time. Using ArtPrize as a catalyst, we want to respond to challenges; inspire social change; advocate for social justice; and encourage healthy living for ourselves, our visitors, and the environment that we share.

Cultural Equity

Social responsibility lives at the heart of what we do, who we are, and how we plan to grow.

Believing that Art is for everyone, intentional inclusion is critical to the vision of ArtPrize. We are actively working to remove barriers to engagement and welcome a more racially and ethnically diverse audience. We are also working to address elements of diversity that are harder to see: disability, gender identity and sexual orientation, socio-economic differences, and access to education.

Our commitment has an internal focus on our employees, work practices, and environment, as well as an external orientation toward our partners, stakeholders, participants, and event audience.

Our Equity Goals

Audience: We will engage all community members equally; respect the cultural, emotional, and physical barriers that exist; and work toward an environment that welcomes all people and allows them to fully participate. We focus our work on the principle that shared experiences within the context of exposure to contemporary art will build a strong and vibrant community—one that fosters a deep sense of belonging and a lifelong curiosity for the arts.

Partners: The potential for our community impact is maximized through internal and external partnerships across disciplines and departments. We learn, grow, and improve alongside our key vendors, venues, sponsors, volunteers, artists, students, and educational partners.

Work environment: We encourage a working environment that is open and respectful, empowering employees to achieve their highest potential. We expect that all employees conduct their work with an awareness of and sensitivity to cultural and personal differences. We seek to hire individuals who feel comfortable bringing with them a diverse network, differing life experiences, and unique identity.

Equity Programming

Access Art: Our accessibility programming includes the availability of free wheelchairs, ASL services, a visitor respite space provided by Disability Advocates of Kent County, pathways curated with mobility in mind, disability awareness training, and a continued cultural partnership with DisArt. Download the ArtPrize Accessibility Guide or visit our Accessiblity page to learn more.

Rapid Rides to ArtPrize: Our granting program provides Metro Passes and Event Guides at no cost to 10,000 community members experiencing income insecurity. This program is made possible by The Rapid, Blue Cross Blue Shield of West Michigan, Grand Rapids Public Schools, and Head Start of West Michigan.

Community Engagement: We work actively to engage with underrepresented and historically underserved populations. Supporting the Artista Latina and Paul Collins Diversity awards, translating our key event materials into Spanish and purposefully engaging in dialogue on the role of race and equity in the arts are just a few ways that we make meaningful work of this commitment.

Independently Organized Awards: ArtPrize strives to provide a platform for dialogue, not only about art—but also social equity. And as an independently organized event, ArtPrize encourages participants to not only organize their exhibitions, but also organize awards that honor specific achievements within the larger event. This year, ArtPrize will host a variety of independently organized awards celebrating artistic excellence in the African-American and Latin-American communities, as well as shining a spotlight on independent filmmakers and musicians. 

Environmental Sustainability

In addition to showcasing the social, imperative, and economic benefits of sustainability, ArtPrize has enormous potential to educate and influence our community around waste diversion, energy use, alternative transportation, water conservation, local food systems, healthy living, and our overall ecological footprint.

ArtPrize approaches our sustainability work through the lens of triple bottom line business practices, addressing our cultural, social, environmental, and economic impacts equally. 

Alternative transportation: ArtPrize continues to promote alternative transportation to lower carbon impact and encourage healthy living. Find an environmentally-friendly transport option that works best for you. Whether it be the Park and Ride, The Silver Line, DASH, or taking your own path!

Recycling/composting: ArtPrize seeks to dispose waste responsibly at all ArtPrize-sanctioned events and spaces. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with The City of Grand Rapids, Kent County, and WMEAC to pilot S.O.R.T. stations at ArtPrize Eight. 

ArtPrize Water Share: Help us use less during ArtPrize by avoiding single-use water bottles. Pick up a free Water Share sticker (yep, FREE!) for your reusable water bottle at all ArtPrize Neighborhood HUB locations. Each Water Share sticker allows you to fill your water bottles at participating venues all around the ArtPrize district. 

Visitor and Venue Sustainability Guide: Interested in learning about how to lesson your impact? Some simple tactics and best practices have been lovingly compiled for your reference during ArtPrize and beyond. Download the Visitor and Venue Sustainability Guide.


ArtPrize strives to connect visitors with all abilities to the world of art. All of the city's leading cultural institutions meet Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility guidelines, and most participating venues are self-identified as handicap accessible. See all accessible Venues.

Universal Access: ArtPrize remains committed to implementing thoughtful and intentional ways of supporting all of our visitors. Rooted in a spirit of social inclusion and our belief that Grand Rapids can be a leader in Universal Access, we strive to offer supportive services to make ArtPrize enjoyable for everyone. We believe that the most captivating conversations happen when our audience reflects the true diversity of our community.

Oasis LoungeDisability Advocates of Kent County is proud to provide a curated ArtPrize respite space at Fountain Street Church during the 19-day event, with your needs in mind. The Oasis Lounge is specifically designed for guests who experience differences in mobility. Located in the heart of the ArtPrize district and promises the perfect place to begin and end a visit to ArtPrize for those using manual or motorized wheelchairs. Find open hours and amenities.

Access Art Pathway: While all ArtPrize Pathways provide the least amount of barriers to our visitors, those with accessibility needs can pick up a self-guided tour from any ArtPrize Neighborhood HUB and embark on a route that has been specially curated with visitors mobility in mind. The ArtPrize HUB/HQ acts as the beginning and end to our AccessArt Pathway.

Free Wheelchair Loan Program: Courtesy of Mary Free Bed and Airway Oxygen Inc., ArtPrize has wheelchair loans available in the ArtPrize HUB/HQ and the Oasis Lounge during the 19-day event. The wheelchairs will be available to loan for a few hours or the entire day, free of charge.

Multilingual Resources: ArtPrize continues its efforts to reach members in our community that speak a language other than English. 20,000 Spanish-language Event Guides were printed and distributed by ArtPrize media partner, El Informador, during the eighth annual event. Bilingual educational resources and wayfinding signage helped families to explore the event. And SiTE:LAB / The Rumsey Street Project, an ArtPrize satellite venue, offered another access point to the event through bilingual volunteers and a free shuttle service.

Rapid Rides to ArtPrize: ArtPrize expanded the Rapid Rides program, now in its third year, to grant 10,000 individuals with a free Event Guide, Map and Metro Pass. Working closely with Grand Rapids Public Schools, Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative, Head Start for Kent County and many community organizations around Grand Rapids, this program distributes key resources to those who might not otherwise have access to them. 

Accessibility Guide: For more details and suggestions on getting around ArtPrize, please reference our Accessibility Guide. You can pick up a copy at a Neighborhood HUB during the event or find it online here.

Health & Wellness           

Creating opportunities to promote health and wellness is something we care a lot about at ArtPrize. We are excited to share about our programs and community partnerships that aim to do just that and encourage you to consider the additional benefits of this unique art happening and community event on our ever-evolving minds, bodies, and environment.

ArtPrize Water Share: Our tap water share program, known as ArtPrize Water Share, encourages healthy balanced living and hydration while attending ArtPrize!

Art Meets Heart Steps Challenge: This collaborative program with the American Heart Association and Pantone Pathways encourages and educates our visitors on heart healthy ways to interact at ArtPrize. Raffle can be entered daily! Share your photos with us at #activeMI.

Pantone Pathways: We encourage walking each neighborhood through colorful paths that bring you within a few blocks of all ArtPrize Venues.

Bike Corrals: We encourage biking to and around ArtPrize and have set up a bike corral at HUB/HQ as well as just outside of our VIP Clubhouse. Please look for DGRI’s bike fix-it stations around downtown if you are traveling by bike.

Access to Arts Education

Through numerous partnerships with area schools as well as arts and cultural organizations, ArtPrize provides a range of free arts education programs and resources for students of all abilities and socioeconomic backgrounds so everyone has a voice in the conversation of what art is and why it matters—inspiring generations of artists and art-lovers.

Early Childhood Education Days: In collaboration with Head Start For Kent County, Grand Rapids Public Schools and Early Learning Neighborhood Collaborative, these free early childhood educational events provide resources and activities that encourages families and educators to explore, engage, and learn together at ArtPrize. 

K–12 Education Days: Through partnerships with leading arts and cultural organizations such as Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids Children's Museum, Artists Creating Together, Cook Arts Center, and many more, these free arts education programs are offered to schools visiting ArtPrize. It's through a collective of diverse educational offerings that we promote best practices in arts education and aim to elevate under-represented voices and diverse backgrounds and perspectives. 

Transportation Grants: Bus costs are often a barrier for schools when planning an arts and cultural field trip. Through our transportation grants we provide $10,000 to both urban and rural schools throughout Michigan to assist with the transportation costs of an ArtPrize field trip.

ArtPrize Partner Schools: We partner directly with schools located in the city of Grand Rapids interested in working closely with ArtPrize year-round to help deepen their students' ArtPrize experience within their classrooms.

Arts Education Advocacy: ArtPrize advocates the importance of arts education both in the classroom as well as in the community. We believe that the arts generate creative thinkers who solve programs, drive innovation, inspire empathy, and define culture. 

Education Days is presented by PNC Bank.