For the next two plus weeks, Grand Rapids will be swarmed by serious art lovers, the not-so serious art lovers, the curious, and who ever else falls into whatever category you can think of, during ArtPrize 2012.

With venues all over town it is always difficult to take in all of the creations, visual and audio, especially since there will be more than 1,500 artworks and 161 venues taking part.

Yes, the great majority are in central city, and, what a party it is.  But, not all are in the great mass of art downtown.   Some of the artists' works are on the fringe of the area, and that's not such a bad thing.

You can actually avoid the massive crowds off the beaten path, at locations such as Baker Tent Rental near Belknap Park in Northeast Grand Rapids.  Yes, it's possible many voters may not travel out to see the works they have there, but you should.

Many other ArtPrize competitors are at outlying venues like Baker Tent Rental -- or Arnie's Restaurant on Leonard St. NW -- by choice.  But others are there because of a lack of choice.  The big venues fill up fast.

The outlying venues are happy to have the art, make no mistake about that, and glad to welcome the artists and potential new customers coming to see the pieces.  Who wouldn't want to go to Arnie's on Leonard, see six or seven artists works and have some pie.  That's a little bit of heaven.

The artists at these venues get to be part of the conversation.  Thousands of people may see their work, and some may buy the entries.

Also, artists and venues are increasingly using Facebook and Twitter to connect with the ArtPrize audience to attract them to outlying areas as well.

This year while most of the $560,000 in prizes are awarded based on the vote of the people, a jury of experts will choose the winners of $200,000.  Any art at any venue has the chance to win those jury prizes.

So, don't just get 'stuck' downtown.  Get out-and-about a bit.  There will be great art everywhere at ArtPrize.