Rick DeVos' brainchild is six years old this fall.

And for something originally imagined as a possible film festival, its 32-year-old founder admits ArtPrize has grown enough he's now able to take it in and enjoy it.

"In the earliest days, it was to do something that people would have to talk about," DeVos said Thursday at The ArtPrize Hub. "I always thought Grand Rapids could use a great cultural event."


Cincinnati multi-media artist Jenny Ustick's life-sized human figures cut from mirror polished stainless steel titled "Metanoia: You Are Here" is on exhibition for ArtPrize 2014 at Ah-Nab-Awen Park in Grand Rapids. (Photo: Ann-Marie Jurek)

ArtPrize 2014 is exactly that, with 1,825 artists represented by 1,536 entries at 174 venues in downtown Grand Rapids and Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

ArtPrize's executive director, Christian Gaines, was drawn to Grand Rapids by the energy he found in the event.

"I came here because I saw something I'd never seen before," he said. "It's true. You can't throw a rock without hitting a film festival these days. ...

"That's what made this unique. ... You could do it at your own speed. Your could develop your own language and your own understanding. It was a new and exciting concept to me. The great thing about ArtPrize is you have 1,536 pieces of art ... and it's all built into the cityscape."

It's become something the entire community and region can embrace, Gaines said.

"Year one, everyone was trying to figure out what it was," he said. "Since year two, it's been about active participation (for community involvement). ... Everyone's now saying: 'How are you going to celebrate ArtPrize?'"

Today (Friday, Oct. 10) is the 17th day of ArtPrize's 19-day run, and the celebration continues through Sunday.

Today's Big Event

The votes are in for ArtPrize 2014, with $560,000 in prize money being handed out in ceremonies at 8 p.m. tonight at Grand Rapids Civic Theatre.

The winners of two grand prizes -- $200,000 for public voting and $200,000 for a juried choice -- are being announced along with two-dimensional, three-dimensional, time-based and installation category awards for both public and juried selections at $20,000 each.

There were 398,714 votes cast in two rounds of public voting, including 352,732 in the first round, according to ArtPrize's tabulation. Public voting ended one minute before midnight Thursday.

WOOD-TV8 is sponsoring an ArtPrize awards watch party at Rosa Park Circle, 135 Monroe Center NW just west of the Grand Rapids Art Museum. The event is from 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., and includes music, food trucks and Founders Brewing Co. beer.

The broadcast of the ArtPrize awards begins at 7:45 p.m. on WOOD-TV8.

Sandwiched around the ceremonies is a concert with three performances by two Grand Rapids bands:

Today's Thing to Do

Music and Art for Justice in the Community (MAJIC) is a ministry of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 250 Commerce Avenue SW.

Since 2007, MAJIC has generated more than $30,000 in concert donations and passed those funds on to the Heartside Community Fund targeting Grand Rapids' Heartside District neighborhoood; Hill Music Together, which provides music classes for the church's Hill Child Development Center; and the Grand Rapids Area Coalition to End Homelessness.

The first MAJIC concert of the 2014-2015 season features Deep Greens and Blues, a Grand Rapids alt country band performing, and an artists' reception for  the 17 ArtPrize entries at Bethlehem Lutheran. The event is from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

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