Volunteers Overview

Nearly 1,000 people step forward as volunteers for each ArtPrize® event, generously dedicating their time, commitment and expertise. Our volunteers, many of whom return year after year, welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors to Grand Rapids and help create a platform to celebrate the vision and courage of artists who embrace the spirit of the event. The support our community provides to make ArtPrize possible is extraordinary. The 19-day event simply wouldn’t be possible without it. Without you.

Whether you find a spot behind the scenes or in the public eye, it’s people like you who breathe life into ArtPrize and make it the place to be. And volunteering at ArtPrize truly is the best way to experience one of the most exciting events in Michigan while supporting the vibrant arts culture of Grand Rapids.

There are plenty of different opportunities to get involved—from helping visitors find their way around town, to supporting our education team, events and more. Anyone 13 and older can volunteer.

The ArtPrize Volunteer Program is sponsored by

Why Volunteer at ArtPrize

What Our Volunteers are Saying

Volunteering at ArtPrize truly is the best way to experience one of the most exciting events in Michigan while supporting the vibrant arts culture of Grand Rapids. But don’t just take it from us — here’s what past volunteers have to say about their experience:

I love to talk with people who value the arts as much as I do. The conversations I had with people during ArtPrize reaffirm that I live in an incredible town!

Being part of the positive energy in this community is awesome. Sharing information with guests new to the city, and contributing in some small way to such an exciting event, is rewarding.

I feel like volunteering allowed me to become more confident, connect and feel welcome in the city of Grand Rapids, and I had the chance to learn about potential internship and job opportunities.

I love seeing the joy in visitors' eyes as they engage in conversations about the art they were seeing. It made me very grateful that we have a city that gives so much.

I have been with ArtPrize since its inception. September and October are now two of my favorite months in Grand Rapids.

I have been attending ArtPrize since it started 10 years ago and I love it. Volunteering has given me a new way to experience ArtPrize.

Volunteer Benefits

We know you’re not in this for the swag, but volunteering for ArtPrize has its perks. You give us a lot, and we’re happy to give a little back. You’ve earned it.

Every volunteer receives:

  • A free bus pass to get to and around ArtPrize
  • Access to the Volunteer Lounge (free snacks and a place to chill out)
  • Exclusive events
  • Weekly raffles 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 online ArtPrize store.
  • For completing every three (3) shifts after that (6, 9, 12, etc.), earn a coupon for 50% off one item from the online ArtPrize store.
  • For completing five (5) shifts, earn your "Fifth Shift Gift"— a special gift created for our most-dedicated volunteers each year.

Time Commitment

As an ArtPrize volunteer, your schedule is completely up to you. You’ll choose the dates and times you’d like to volunteer, and even which volunteer opportunity you’d like to take on. You’ll be able to add and drop volunteer “shifts” from your Volunteer Account, once shifts are available in late summer.

The length of a shift varies depending on the volunteer opportunity, however most shifts are three hours on average.

Volunteer Opportunities

Wayfinding — Serve as an ArtPrize ambassador of downtown Grand Rapids. As an ArtPrize Wayfinder, you’ll be equipped with visitor guides 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. As a Wayfinder, you must be willing and able to be on your feet for three-hour shifts.

Visitor Services — The friendly faces of ArtPrize, our Visitor Services Assistants welcome our visitors, get them set up to vote and offer them support to get the most out of their ArtPrize experience.

Education — Help facilitate fun art-making activities during family and school events as an Education Assistant.

Exhibitions — Get involved with our Exhibitions Team and help with public art installation and de-installations as well as artist events, or serve as a gallery attendant in exhibition spaces.

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.

Artist Hosts — Open your home — for a day, a week or more! — and help an ArtPrize artist offset some costs associated with participating in the event. And make a new friend (or two) in the process. Learn More.

Sign Up to Volunteer

Ready to take the next step? Great! It couldn’t be easier to sign up and become an ArtPrize volunteer.

  1. Create a Volunteer Account, including completing the Volunteer Application form.
  2. Review our current volunteer opportunities.
  3. Sign up for shifts through your Volunteer Account.
  4. Review training materials and/or attend an in-person volunteer orientation before your first shift.


Anyone age 13 and older can volunteer for ArtPrize. Volunteers under the age of 18 should be accompanied by an adult.

Returning Volunteers

Have you volunteered with ArtPrize in the past? High fives! We’re so glad you’re back.

Since you’ve worked with us before, there’s no need to reapply. Simply sign into your Volunteer Account and sign up for shifts when they’re available.

Remember, all volunteers — new and returning — are required to attend volunteer orientation before each ArtPrize event, to learn about the organization, programming, events and new initiatives to better serve our visitors.

Also, we’re always on the lookout for experienced ArtPrize volunteers to take on additional responsibilities as Volunteer Leads.

Group Volunteering

Volunteering with friends and colleagues is a fantastic way to experience ArtPrize. Your group will have the opportunity to help visitors sign up to vote, design their ArtPrize experience and explore hands-on educational activities.

Signing Up

Signing up is easy! Here’s how:

  1. Pick Your Date: Select a date and time from the schedule below and email us at volunteer@artprize.org with your preferred shifts. We’d love to hear a little bit about your group and why you want to volunteer, too.
  2. Check Your Email: We’ll send you a link to a custom website to share with your group. Each member of your group will need to create a personal volunteer account and then sign up for shifts on this site.
  3. Get Trained: In August, we'll reconnect with your group about volunteer training and orientation. We have online training resources that make it easy to learn all about ArtPrize and what to expect when volunteering. We're also happy to provide an in-person training for groups of 20 or more.

Group Volunteer Shifts Schedule

The ArtPrize 2020 Group Volunteer Shifts Schedule will be updated soon.

Volunteer Leads

Interested in getting more involved? Join our volunteer leadership team and serve as mentors to new volunteers, provide guidance and welcoming them onto our team, and assist our staff in overseeing program operations throughout the event. 

ArtPrize Volunteer Leads are:

  • Willing to commit to five or more shifts
  • Willing to put in the time to become an “expert” on all things ArtPrize
  • Willing to attend an additional leadership training 
  • Friendly, enthusiastic and flexible
  • Natural peacekeepers and peacemakers
  • Well-organized

If this sounds like you, send us an email at volunteer@artprize.org to get started.

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 Stacey Kirby, Beili Liu, Mia Tavonatti, Adonna Khare, Young Kim, and Anila Quayyum Agha — were all hosted by volunteers.

As a host, you’ll:

  • Decide when and for how long you’d like to open your home
  • Have the opportunity to review the artists seeking housing support
  • Connect directly with artists and invite them to stay with you

Ready to get started? Let’s go.

  • Sign Up to host an ArtPrize artist (coming soon)
  • Review Our Tips for hosting artists — including our advice for sharing your preferences, arrangements you’re willing to provide, learning about interested artists, and more. (coming soon)

Volunteer Orientation and Resources

We want to help you make the most of your volunteer experience. Each year, the ArtPrize team creates a series of orientation and training resources that make it easy to learn all about ArtPrize and what to expect when volunteering. These resources for ArtPrize 2020 will be available in July.

Thank You

To all of our wonderful volunteers, returning and new — 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!