ArtPrize 2015’s new venues include a distillery, a sporting goods store and a new public space.
A total of 180 venues have signed up to participate in the seventh annual exhibition in Grand Rapids.
Some 30 first-time venues will be a part of the $500,000 competition opening Sept. 23 for the 19-day exhibition.
A total of 177 venues were on board following the close of venue registration Friday, but three more have been approved following mandatory site inspections.
“There weren’t really any surprises,” said Jaenell Ott, public relations manager for ArtPrize. “Venues that didn’t return were predominately restaurants or businesses that no longer have a downtown location.”
ArtPrize 2014 featured art in 174 restaurants, office buildings and public spaces last fall.
New venues participating for the first time in ArtPrize 2015 include Reynolds & Sons Sporting Goods, which will use its second-floor window at 12 Monroe Center to showcase art in the heart of downtown.
Long Road Distillers, a craft distillery, is located in a late 19th century building at 537 Leonard St. NW that originally was a dry goods store when it opened in the 1880s.
Lyon Square, a public space between the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel and DeVos Place convention center, overlooking the Grand River, has been a well-traveled space among ArtPrize viewers since the inaugural event in 2009. In the past, it’s been a part of the Amway Grand Plaza venue. But Lyon Square will be a venue in its own right for the first time in 2015.
Three venues that weren’t a part of ArtPrize 2014, but were past participants, have returned. The three are Speak EZ, Ledyard Building and Heartside Park.
All venues are located within a 3-square mile area of downtown Grand Rapids except for Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park and SiTE:LAB’s Rumsey Street project between Grandville Avenue and Century Drive.
Though 180 venues are signed up to participate, each venue must secure at least one artist’s entry in order to be a part of the event. Last year, a total of 194 venues signed up to participate but 20 had to drop out at the end of the Connections period to match artists and venues.
Artist Registration opens April 20 and continues to June 4.
Connections opens April 28 and ends June 18.
ArtPrize is shaping up to be similar in size to the past four events. The last four years have ranged from 161 venues in 2012 to 174 last year.
The inaugural ArtPrize in 2009 was the smallest with 159. The second ArtPrize in 2010 had the most with 192.
Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk, April 13, 2015