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ArtPrize has a new mobile app for 2021! Learn more here.

There has been an overarching theme for the past year and a half - we’re sure you’ve heard it and there’s a good chance you’ve said it yourself:

“This year is just a weird year.” 

We use it to explain our isolation and insecurity, our new obsessions with baking bread and taking naps in the middle of a work day. It is the reasoning behind the feeling of emptiness in the streets and anxiety in a public space.

There is no denying - this year was a weird year.

But...

Did you see it? Did you feel it? For 18 days in downtown Grand Rapids, things felt… normal. In fact, they felt better than normal. They felt lively and joyful and wonderful and beautiful and happy and just goldarn electric. Restaurants were booked and coffee shops had lines out the door as hundreds of thousands of visitors made their way through the city streets, enjoying the artwork of 955 artists at 142 venues. With our new prize format, these visitors awarded monetary prizes to almost 200 artists and thousands of non-monetary prizes to hundreds more. All of these engagements led to the determination of our grand prize winner: “Before You Go” by Christian Reichle and Monica Pritchard. To view a full list of this year’s winners, click here.

And so, we say thank you. 

Thank you to our artists and venues who consistently embrace this ever-changing artistic experiment; to the volunteers who sacrifice countless hours to help during the 18-day event; the City of Grand Rapids; Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. and the knowledgeable and helpful Downtown Ambassadors; and the gracious sponsors and donors who help keep ArtPrize free and open to the public. And a special shout out to our small but tireless staff. Without the collaboration of all those listed, ArtPrize simply would not be possible. 

We are forever grateful for the support we receive, and can’t wait to see how ArtPrize evolves in the years to come.

Check out the video below for a recap of ArtPrize 2021.

By Kati Molhoek on