ARTPRIZE and the McKay Tower

Posted in GRAND RAPIDS, URBANISM by urbanmi on September 28, 2012


Despite all of its many criticisms and failures, ArtPrize is great for Grand Rapids and good for Michigan.

As an urban development strategy, the event highlights the city and activates the streets and businesses, awarding Grand Rapids the feel of a bustling and vibrant city. The rhythm of the city changes.  Downtown Grand Rapids already has a healthy nightlife, but, although it is improving, the life in the day is limited. With ArtPrize, residents get a glimpse of how Grand Rapids would feel if everyone used and lived in their downtown. We get to see and use our city as if it was an urbanized city. We get to see people inhabiting every space in the city simultaneously.

For this reason, I look forward to each ArtPrize.

A brief moment each year, where everyone can understand and experience the importance of cities and what Grand Rapids should strive to be every day.

I criticize ArtPrize not to condemn it, but because I celebrate its potential and want it to live up to its capacity for changing the city and improving its image.

The event, however, has failed to live up to its lofty ambitions. The purpose of the prize was to elevate Grand Rapids in the national and international consciousness and to continue to elevate Grand Rapids as a serious arts center. Unfortunately, the dependence on the community and social media retards this development. ArtPrize feels like a glorified Arts Fair, Ann Arbor on steroids. Only the museums continue to perform a commendable job elevating the quality of the entries.

Ultimately I am less concerned with the level of the “art” or crafts but who we as a public vote as our champion. Either the citizenry must learn to take their roles in the event seriously, or the event will begin to lose its credibility. No one currently views the prize as a serious participant in the culture of Art, but it should be. The ArtPrize needs to be an event each year the nation and the world looks to and is invested. I fear this will never happen with tweets and text votes.

Currently the top 25 this year includes a few deserving entrants such as Kumi Yamashita’s “Origami” but also 2 dragon, a fish, and many other animal sculptures.

Visit ArtPrize Worst for an informative study on the many of the works.

This moleskine was given as a gift to first year entrants.

I wish I had one



Posted in quick links by urbanmi on October 5, 2010

The Pistons sale could have significant ramifications for where the area’s pro teams play — in Detroit or its suburbs.

If Ilitch owns both the Red Wings and Pistons, he could likely leverage a deal with Detroit and Wayne County officials to finance a new arena in the city because they wouldn’t want him to move the storied hockey team to The Palace in suburban Auburn Hills, where the Pistons play.

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Posted in EVENTS, GRAND RAPIDS by urbanmi on September 23, 2010

ArtPrize began yesterday and runs through October 10th.  

Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend this year.

Last year the event was exciting and promising; this year will prove to build off of its inaugural success.  It is an event that is fantastic for the promotion and further development of Grand Rapids.  As an event it promotes local, national, and international artists and increases Grand Rapids’ and Michigan’s profile within the region and the art world.

Young Kim, one of the highlights from last year, returns with his piece Salt & Earth.  Go see it, it deserves far more recognition and respect than it previously received.

I encourage you to visit a friends work:

Liz Hazle: ArtPrize entry page

At the Riverview Center 678 Front Ave

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Posted in GRAND RAPIDS by urbanmi on September 16, 2010

From September 23-25th, Grand Rapids has a Music Festival, Prospecto Music Showcase & Sonic Experience, The festival coincides with ArtPrize, which should heighten its profile.  Prospecto attempts to highlight the growing Grand Rapids Music Scene and promote venues and acts.  The timing with ArtPrize is perfect.  Last year restaurants were flooded in downtown Grand Rapids with visitors looking for evening entertainment.

I believe the event will be successful and I understand the strategy of appealing to a wide variety of music tastes, but I find myself wanting more from any potential festival in Grand Rapids.  More importantly, what incentive do I, as a music fan, have to spend $26 to $60 on a festival that only gives me two or three acts I may be interested in seeing.

In its current from the festival is schizophrenic; it does not promote any particular music scene, hindering the festival’s ability to generate any excitement, particularly in the long term.  How will music fans maintain interest, in the manner of other annual festivals like Pitchfork or Lollapalooza, when Prospecto can’t attract more notable acts by catering to a specific audience, particularly a concert-going, music-loving audience.

Michigan already has several niche music festivals in Rothbury and the Detroit Electronic Music Festival that demonstrate the success of targeting a particular audience. Appealing to a specific demographic would give Prospecto a base to build long term success. When the festival itself is exciting, people will become interested and stay interested.

RapidGrowth has more details on the background of Prospecto

The Prospecto website has details on acts and venues

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