Gull Lake students make ArtPrize pilgrimage

Grand Rapids is filled with pride and eager observers each year as Art Prize overwhelms the city. As the world’s largest public art event according to The Art Newspaper, ArtPrize draws around 400,000 attendees to 3 square miles downtown. ArtPrize 8, spanning from September 21 to October 7,  amassed 380,119 public votes, and the massive pilgrimage continued following the release of the top 20 finalists. Ultimately, claims the ArtPrize official website, the event is “unorthodox, highly disruptive, and undeniably intriguing to the art world and the public alike.”

Artist Tracy Cole describes his 10 foot tinfoil creation as having grown exponentially until he was forced to move the massive giraffe into his mom’s garage (with her hesitant permission, of course). In many ways ArtPrize could be likened to this process, having developed into a phenomenon capable of enveloping the unlikeliest of venues-garages included.

“I liked how they incorporated art pieces into small businesses like coffee shops,” said ArtPrize attendee and GL junior Leo Cooper. “Even though I went to the big places like the DeVos Center and the Gerald R. Ford Museum, I do like how they spread it around the city, and you could get like a cup of coffee and a muffin and look at some art.”

This close relationship with the local businesses and the general public is integral to ArtPrize’s existence, and provides a link to the wider art scene.

“Art prize allows the entire community to experience a wide variety of art and mediums for free,” junior Quinn Scheller said. “It’s accessible to everyone.”

With a cultural event of such magnitude taking place only 52 minutes from the Gull Lake High School, many students have taken advantage of the festivities.

“Art prize is a great way to get out and enjoy the fall weather with family or friends, and it is very inspiring to see how artwork can transform the ambiance of a city,” Scheller said.

ArtPrize-goers are exposed to a wide variety of artworks (1453 to be exact) collected from numerous countries (47 in only 2013, and ever-growing from there).

“I enjoy the diversity of art that’s entered into ArtPrize and how the artists come from all over the world,” sophomore Maggie Clancy said.

Overall, student attendees of ArtPrize express their views on the significance of art in the community and the fueling of creativity.

“It’s important for the community to support art because art supports the community,” Scheller said.

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