GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - The official kickoff of ArtPrize 2012 is just one week away.
The world's largest art competition will bring thousands of people to Grand Rapids to look at more than 1,500 works of art.
On Wednesday, organizers at the HUB at 41 Sheldon Boulevard were working on last-minute preparations.
They sorted and tagged official ArtPrize merchandise and organized a mass of volunteers.
"We have a database of about 3,000 who are willing to help us and we have about a thousand who have picked up shifts," said organizer Amelia Pegman.
"That's our plan that's an entire year of ArtPrize," said spokesman Brian Burch, gesturing to a large calendar marked with Post-It notes. "This is every person's responsibility for the entire year."
The Artprize HUB is just what it sounds like: The center of activity and the place to get questions answered.
"So most people will walk in, and there will be a concierge here for questions for trouble shooting," explained Burch. "If people have trouble with their voting account, if people have trouble registering or activating their account, they can answer that right away."
The HUB opens Saturday.
Artist Edward Casagrande, meanwhile, was working on setting up his entry -- a variety of pieces spread across a downtown bridge.
"The project is called 'Bridging Humanity,' and it is an evolutionary experimental piece that has been evolving," he said. "I think this project works when the vibrations become palpable."
The concepts can sound weighty and perhaps intimidating, but ArtPrize-goers shouldn't need to have an art degree to get it.
"It successes on the fact that it is very approachable," Casagrande said.
A young man passing by took a few minutes to speak with Casagrande about the piece. It was a rough go at first, but the two soon shared a pleasant conversation about the piece.
"To shake hands and pat backs and wish good luck, that's what has to happen on this bridge," said Casagrande.
The passerby said the setting of the work and the bright sky was uplifting and made him feel happy. Casagrande seemed to approve.
"It's supposed to be happy," he said. "That's what we want. We want people to be happy and comfortable."
24 Hour News 8 will provide extensive coverage of ArtPrize 2012, which runs through Oct. 7.
Hey Clark W. Griswold...it looks like you have some competition!
A 70-year-old died after a bus collided with a semi-truck on US-131, and two others were hurt.
Kalamazoo police are looking for the two people accused of robbing a Dollar General store at gunpoint.