Life has been really crazy around here lately, which made me appreciate our anniversary getaway all the more. My wonderful son works at a hotel in downtown Grand Rapids and this is the second year he has given me a night at the hotel (on the concierge level, no less) for both my birthday and Mother's Day. With our anniversary coinciding with the opening weekend of ArtPrize, I thought that was the ideal time to redeem my gift.
Our room was near the top of the building facing the river, so this is the view we woke up to every morning. Nice, yes?
We put on almost 7 miles walking around on Saturday, but as you can see we were none the worse for wear. Our hotel is the tallest one behind us.
Even if you're not an art aficionado, ArtPrize is still a great reason to visit Grand Rapids. Anyone can enter to compete, so there's a little bit of everything out there. What I think makes it fun is that anyone can vote (either online or with an app). For the first round, which runs through October 4, you can vote for everything you like. The top twenty will be announced October 5, and for the remaining week of the competition you can vote for the one entry in each division you would like to see win the prize.
As you will see, I tend to like the more traditional art. Here's a peek at some of the pieces that got my vote:
I'm especially drawn to works that look realistic, such as the watercolor, "Brothers in Arms,"
and this oil painting, "West Michigan Winter." Anything that looks like a photograph, but isn't, gets my vote.
"Take Note" was another painting I thought was particularly well done.
Mosaics are also very impressive to me, such as "Into the Autumn Woods."
Unfortunately, most of my photographs don't do justice to the art, but as you can see from the photo of the largest venue, DeVos Place Convention Center, the viewing areas (in this location on the second level) were sometimes narrow and the crowds last weekend were large.
I found "Run Wild," which is actually a 3-piece installation, to be interesting because it was constructed of bits of shoe leather.
"Gold Fever" was one of the sculptures made of found objects,
as was "Dawn of Chimes." This photo was for Dude and Bubba, since Bubba loves dinosaurs and Dude is a fan of the minions.
Since we were having gorgeous weather, we grabbed lunch outside where we could enjoy some of the great architecture Grand Rapids has to offer.
This is only a portion of "Engulfed in Glass," which represents four seasons on the shoreline.
"The Wind" was on the river opposite from our hotel.
"The Moment, Nails Endured" is made almost entirely of nails. Surprisingly, this is the only one of the works I've shown you that hasn't shown up in the current "Top 25" list, probably because it was outside one of the smaller venues. If you go to ArtPrize you'll have to visit St. Mark's Episcopal Church and check it out.
Scattered throughout town are musicians of every stripe. The most unique we encountered was this one-man-band outside of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.
Of course, our favorite stop was to visit our newest grandson Karl, who made his grand entrance on Saturday morning. That makes 5 grandchildren for us, ages 3 and under! And for those of your familiar with Grand Rapids, yes, we walked there, uphill (both ways!)
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