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ArtPrize is here again!

J-Storm Urban Maps So, it is that time of year again in Grand Rapids.  Where people greet each other with a question, “What have you seen?” 

 They are, of course, referring to ArtPrize, the art extravaganza that takes over Furniture  City for 19 days with more than 1500 pieces of art ranging from the most traditional to the whoa-what-is that? variety.  The streets are clogged.  Parking lots jammed.  Parties every night.   Our city gets embellished, adorned, decorated and filled with stuff that elicits ohhs and ahhs or confounds and confuses.

Even the bikes and the parking meters get embellished  during ArtPrize.


ArtPrize 2014

So what to do? Well, your first stop should be my son’s entry at the DeVos Place. Of course, I’m going to say that…..but if you can get beyond a Mother’s bragging, please know you won’t be sorry.     It’s his second year to enter in ArtPrize and as his Mom, I’m pretty excited.

So, what is it?  Made out of wood and called the G-Rap Map 2.1, it is another version of the huge mural that is enjoyed by all on Sheldon Street just down from the Children’s Museum. He installed that one last year and it has become part of landscape of Grand Rapids.

Here are some photos of both this year’s entry and last.




DSC_5515 - Version 3

ArtPrize 2013 J-Storm Urban Maps

 For fun, I am including some of the preparation views that happened at our home over the last few weeks.

preparation of the G-Rap Map




And a silver map that hung on the wall of Middle West, a Pop Up shop on South Division.

Middle West, Grand Rapids

More J-Storm Urban Maps

 So,what else? I haven’t had much time to view much of ArtPrize but here are a few offerings you might want to check out.  Be sure to go to the GRAM.  If you buy a membership, you can go during special members hours.  I particularly enjoyed this GRAM entry photographed here by Richard App, a Grand Rapids photographer and Gallery owner.     He posted the photo on Facebook.

Richard App

 I also loved these entries that can be found at DeVos, Site-Lab,  GRAM and Kendall College of Art and Design.





Some of the ArtPrize exhibits have themes to encompass all their entries.  Kendall College of Art and Design is one of them.

As a compulsive list maker, I found a “to do” list elevated to a work-of-art status intriguing.  I throw my lists away.  Hmmmm.  Maybe I should be saving them.  The pieces in this entry at Kendall are all words.  Be sure to take time to read them all.  The Artist has a great sense of humor.



Crochet is an art medium.  On bikes and parking meters, here at Kendall in Shades of Gray.



What are your favorite ArtPrize entries or venues?  Please post in the comment section for all to enjoy.   Thank you.


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. posted by
    Sep 30, 2014 Reply

    Art Prize sounds and looks like a fun event for Grand Rapids. I can only imagine all the time and energy that Justin has put into his awesome project. His 3-dimensional maps are truly impressive!!

    • posted by
      Susan J. Smith
      Oct 2, 2014 Reply

      I think it would be great if you’d visit us some year during ArtPrize. It is lots of fun.

  2. posted by
    Sep 30, 2014 Reply

    I like our shadows in the photo….the GRAM site could possibly be the only Art Prize venue I get to, unless I can squeeze in a visit downtown next week. With the weekend crowds, I’m likely to stay far away.

    • posted by
      Susan J. Smith
      Oct 2, 2014 Reply

      I enjoyed sharing the GRAM ArtPrize with you.

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