Community celebrations are wonderful opportunities to connect with friends, neighbors, and family. When you live in or near a large metropolitan area, the idea of community takes on a much larger dimension. Grand Rapids hosts its annual Festival of the Arts each June, but this fall a new event arrived. Art Prize attracted creative people working in endless mediums, displayed in all sorts of venues. Visitors had two weeks to view their efforts and vote on their favorites. The unique thing about this contest is that the winners were selected not by a select group of experts, but by the regular people who came. Young people, elderly, entire families – everyone had an equal vote.
My daughters took me to view the sights last weekend. One daughter took the time to plan our route. I had only two requests – I wanted to see the large table and chairs, and Nessie. Other than that, I was content to walk wherever they led me. My wishes were granted, and I have pictures of both for my scrapbook. But I was treated to so much more.
This celebration was unique. The focus was art in all sizes, mediums, and forms. That in itself isn't unique. But I think the accessibility of the art for everyone who wanted to come was wonderful. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing some of the world’s most famous works of art. And I guess the experts knew what they were talking about when they decided what was special, and what was not. So those precious pieces are locked away, guarded against people who want to steal them for their own pleasure. And we commoners must pay handsomely for the privilege of peering at them for a few moments.
That’s what made Art Prize so special. The art was out there for all to see, and since we decided not to spend $15 for the shuttle bus, my only cost was a tube of Ben Gay for my tired legs and feet. But the rewards were priceless. I spent a wonderful Sunday afternoon with my kids, walking through a great city filled with the creative efforts of many talented people. I really think we saw Grand Rapids at its best.
There wasn’t much time for my own creativity this week, so here are pictures of my two favorites from Art Prize: