Be In the Know

Be In the Know. Sign up to have DesignDestinations delivered right to your inbox, weekly.

ArtPrize Works in Progress


There’s something really fun about seeing ArtPrize entries before the real opening on September 21. I’m so curious.    And I keep having friends ask me about what to see, where to go and how to make sense of the mammoth  Art Extravaganza.

First off, I’m no expert and am not privy to the best and most interesting. I’m not sure anyone is.     But I do enjoy ArtPrize and for the pure pleasure of it, will post what I am seeing and what I hope others will enjoy as well.

First off, I attended a pre event at UICA Sunday night. This is the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts in the middle of downtown.  It’s one of the exhibition centers and last year hosted the 3rd place winner.









Well, I have no crystal ball to predict if there will be winners this year, but for sure it is a great spot to check out.  I loved the Maybe Next Time piece.  Made me smile.  It’s constructed of lottery tickets.  Hmmmm.  And this this piece.  Metal like helmets hanging from the ceiling.  I won’t destroy the surprise when you stick your head in one.

I loved the huge mural along the front wall.  This is a site specific work created by a group of artists from Saint Louis who work together on projects like this, creating the work on the spot.    Will be great to see it develop and completed.


These folks are all ogling some beautiful embroidered pieces with ironic and thought provoking titles.  Be sure to get over and examine them closely.  And btw, they are for sale.


There is more to see at UICA including a fascinating video called “There is no fixing the drift” near the film concession area and a stunning statement about surviving plants in our wetlands called “Nature’s Preserve.”

Before you leave the area, be sure to check out Pieces of MInd by Ji Lee in the front window.  Ji is the Creative Director for Facebook who found his way from the San Francisco area to bring 10,000 tiny Buddhas to distribute around Grand Rapids.  Keep your eyes open for them.  They will stop you in your tracks.

And if you want to participate. Take a Buddha and place it someplace else.  Why?

Ji Lee says in his artist statement, “We’re constantly thinking about work, relationships, and other worries and excitements.  We rarely experience the peace of mind that comes from being still.  Pieces of Mind is designed to disrupt this cycle.When people find them in unexpected places, we hope they’ll stop and contemplate their mysterious find.  Through this experience, they may also find peace of mind.”

What a lovely thought.

To learn more about the Pieces of Mind project go to



Post Author
Susan J. Smith
Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.


1 Comment
  1. posted by
    Making My Way Through ArtPrize | DesignDestinations
    Sep 26, 2011 Reply

    […] Have to report.  Most of the Buddhas on  the front window were gone.  Snagged one and installed a piece of construction equipment on these street around the corner and snapped this photo.  Before we even got down the block, someone else took it….it is truly a traveling Buddha.   To learn about this project go to or read about it  here. […]

Leave a Reply