GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - With ArtPrize less than a week away, artists spent the so-called "Week Zero" putting the final touches on their entries in the world's largest art competition.
First-time ArtPrize contestant Michael Gard traveled all the way from San Francisco to enter his piece, "Taking Flight." With less than 120 hours before the first day of ArtPrize, he spent Friday putting finishing touches on his entry.
"It is, as you can see, a 13-foot tall … aluminum wire figure," Gard explained, "I've just been wiring it together, doing the final connection."
"Taking Flight" consists of several lighted wire sculptures of various sizes that appear to be dancing.
The larger figure will be stationed in DeVos Place. The smaller figures will be flown around on helium balloons to light up the Grand Rapids sky during the evenings.
Gard said he sells the figures in California. A small figure -- about a foot tall -- would sell for between $3,000 and $9,000, he said. The smallest piece in his ArtPrize entry is about four feet.
"I have been looking forward to this for a couple of years now. I have been working on this piece for nearly two years, so I have been anticipating getting here," Gard said. "I hope I can do well, but we all do."
The week before the official start of ArtPrize -- when entries start to go up and people start making early trips to see them -- is now being referred to as "Week Zero."
Photos: ArtPrize 2013 Week Zero
It's a way for art fans to enjoy the work without battling typical ArtPrize weekend crowds of thousands of people. And with beautiful weather expected, this weekend will likely be no different from years past.
Joyce Douglas and her daughter, Dawn Nelson, took their free night Friday to get an early look.
"I definitely love getting a head start because of the crowds. It's just hard to get close to the art and appreciate with people pushing and shoving at you, wanting to get in there, too," Nelson said, "It's much easier to appreciate it when there are just a few people around."
If you can't make it out early for ArtPrize Week Zero, the competition will officially begin Wednesday, Sept. 18 and run through Oct. 6.
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