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Art in our own backyard

ArtPrize highlights for the rest of the world what locals already know: Grand Rapids art scene is a year round event.
Richard App Gallery

Richard App Gallery /Courtesy of Richard App Gallery

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ArtPrize starts on September 24 with voting beginning at noon. 

The Richard App Gallery is currently exhibiting Revolution/Evolution, featuring the photography of Roberto Salas and Jack Kenny.

Circle Theatre's next performance will be "Carrie the Musical." 

Actor's Theatre is currently performing "TempOdyssey" at Dog Story Theater

Super Happy Funtime Burlesque will be performing at The Pyramid Scheme September 27.

Circle Theatre's performance of Spamalot

Circle Theatre's performance of Spamalot /Christina Marie Photography

Super Happy Funtime Burlesque

Super Happy Funtime Burlesque / Courtesy of SHFB

Written by Jessa Timmer

Every autumn, the City of Grand Rapids begins to ramp up the fanfare and media attention on a very large and very popular art competition. It’s a really interesting time to be a Grand Rapidian as it seems every person in the city, and those visiting, have opinions on what "art" is, what it should be and whether or not the event in itself is just pop art. Stop into any brewery, coffee shop or restaurant during ArtPrize and I can guarantee that many of the patrons within will be discussing art in some context. 

It’s no wonder tourists from near and far flock to Grand Rapids during this time. When visiting other cities, my first instinct is to find an event, museum, theatre or venue to explore. It’s the best way to be immersed in the unique culture of a place. 

While the spotlight on art may be cast brighter during these few weeks in the fall, each Grand Rapids neighborhood is bursting at the seams with art every week of the year. Visiting the larger institutions like the GRAM, UICA or the Public Museum is inspiring and worthy of a full day. Checking out LaFontsee Gallery or Richard App Gallery is great for discovering local artists and those from around the world. Just a stroll down Division Avenue showcases the talent of West Michigan artists and artisans. Circle Theatre and the Actor’s Theatre produce outstanding quality shows all throughout the year. Dance in the Annex inspires and moves us with phenomenal contemporary dance. Super Happy Funtime Burlesque is something altogether unique and irreverent – self-described as a "12 member touring monstrosity." And of course, we have no shortage of live music! All of this in Grand Rapids. And all of it happening year round. 

If we want to build our communities and enhance our own neighborhoods, we need to support artists and creative entrepreneurs who have decided to make an investment right here in Grand Rapids. It is these people who make our city, and even specific neighborhoods within our city, unique and distinctive and places worth living. Without them, we would not have the vibrant culture that draws others into Grand Rapids as well as offers residents culture of the highest quality right in our own backyard. 

So, while ArtPrize may begin a conversation on art and perhaps bring the attention of the wider community to Grand Rapids as a hub for artistic expression, we are lucky to have no shortage of diverse, intriguing, excellent selections to immerse ourselves in art every single day. Don’t wait until ArtPrize rolls around to visit the city of Grand Rapids in hopes of experiencing something unique. Come down any time of the year and find something creative happening in every corner of the city!

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