Michigan town’s artists use entire city as canvas

Creatives know art has the power to transform, but not when it’s only confined to enclosed galleries. The creatives in Grand Rapids, Michigan have taken this to heart, initiating two stellar art-transforming programs that cultivate artistic expression throughout the city.

One ongoing program, ACTIVESITE, hosts art/sculpture exhibits and shows in empty buildings within revitalizing neighborhoods in partnership with real estate developers and multiple university and college art programs. There’s potential here to add a crowdsourced placemaking element that allows creatives to become the future permanent inhabitants of the buildings they generate citywide interest in. In fact, this is the direction The Pink Line Project in Washington DC is going in.

Another unique experience is ArtPrize, presented as the “world’s largest art prize”. You could say it’s a crowdsourced art show, where any artist can present their work/experience at any venue in the entire city that will have them. The show runs September 23 to October 10, and the residents of Grand Rapids then vote on the winners, who get $250,000 for first place, $100,000 for second… no chump change at all, and motivation for some pretty transformative stuff.

Photo of ACTIVESITE above. Photo of ArtPrize below by Vincent Dudzinski.

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