It's hard to believe, but ArtPrize is nearly here. It opens September 21, and that's not far away. Are you excited? I am, and can't wait to see what the 8th annual competition brings us.

As part of the ArtPrize competition, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park will host 13 artists in an exhibition titled Almost Home: Grand Rapids in Focus. These artists were chosen based on their ties to West Michigan.

In contrast to recent exhibitions at Meijer Gardens that have been curated with a more global focus, this exhibition holds a mirror to our local community for consideration by a diverse audience that includes a broad spectrum of visitors and residents alike.

Each artist was asked to create a new work that reflects on their experiences with Grand Rapids and the notion of “home.” Cultural, social, environmental and aesthetic reflections connect the works through a variety of materials, installations and forms. Viewed as a whole, this exhibition provides a current framework for a place that, for many, has become home.

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for LAAA

Officially beginning the Friday prior to ArtPrize, Almost Home: Grand Rapids in Focus will be on display as Meijer Gardens’ fall exhibition from September 16 through December 31, 2016.

All sculptures and installations were created specifically for this exhibition, reflecting the social and historical, industries and enterprises, the natural and the creative forces that helped shape Grand Rapids.

Meijer Gardens is an official ArtPrize venue. Almost Home: Grand Rapids in Focus will be free of charge during ArtPrize (September 21– October 9, 2016). Almost Home: Grand Rapids in Focus exhibition areas will be open to the public during Meijer Gardens’ regular business hours, as well as official ArtPrize hours (Sundays 11 am to 6 pm; Mondays, Wednesday-Saturday, 9 am to 8 pm; Tuesdays 9 am to 9 pm). On ArtPrize’s opening day, the public will be able to register to vote in ArtPrize and ArtPrize exhibition areas will be on display from 9 am to 8 pm. All other areas of Meijer Gardens observe regular hours and standard admission fees.

Visitors can register to vote and purchase official ArtPrize merchandise at Meijer Gardens.