“It’s an art city.” Jason tells me matter-of-factly. Before I could ask him more about that, N.W.A’s Fuck Tha Police comes up on the radio and completely distracts him.
With that, I sink back into my cramped little position in the back of the car to mull over that statement. It was shaping up to be an interesting day. I was in a car full of strangers – save for Jason – on a road trip from East Lansing to Grand Rapids, a city I’ve never been before. It’s a situation I usually would find myself avoiding, but this decision was made entirely for Art Prize 2015.
I love art museums. It has always been a one-size-fits-all for me in terms of my mood. I go to art museums when I’m bored, in need of inspiration, sad and the list goes on. When I found out that every year and for a month, the city of Grand Rapids transforms into an art museum, an ‘art city’ I knew I had to see for myself.
As soon as the car rolled into the city limits I felt exhilarated. The advertising for Art Prize 2015 wasn’t joking when it says the whole city literally transforms into an art museum. There were so many maps and flyers giving us the best routes to make sure we get to see everything around the city. Restaurants, offices, back alleys, even the river, almost every nook and cranny of the city housed at least a piece of art.
The phrase feast for the eyes comes to mind when I think about Art Prize. It was a buffet. There were pieces of art that told stories in so many different ways. I saw an exhibit where there was a pond of floating gloves by Craig Merchant that represented the idea of many hands coming together to form a movement. There was a statue by Dean Kulger that parodied Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam”, confronting the issues of human rights. There were paintings, video installations, woodwork and performances galore.
It’s a real shame I didn’t get the chance to see all of it. There’s only so much in a day you have the time and luxury to objectively look at every art piece. It’s cool, though. I’m already planning out my trip to Art Prize 2016!
P.S.: I feel like I should mention, there was free WiFi throughout the whole city to celebrate Art Prize and it was working perfectly! That, guys, is an art form in of itself.