GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - For more than half a century, the old Public Museum in Grand Rapids attracted crowds of school children and families.
The natural history museum closed its doors years ago, but ArtPrize has given the old building a second chance as pieces of the past have been rejuvenated with an artist's touch.
For nearly five years, Paul Amenta has been transforming abandoned buildings -- like the museum through Site:Lab.
"We're looking for unique opportunities for the artists," said Amenta.
It took six months to flip the space -- tearing away the 1970s decor of shag carpeted walls to more of its original look -- moving from the past to the present, bringing back familiar faces to the old museum.
Eighteen works in the building are entered in ArtPrize 2012, and five of the entries are on the juried short list. One of those entries, "Habitat" by by Alois Kronschlaeger , is on both the 2D and 3D lists. The venue itself is on the juried list for Best Venue.
"Many people come in with amazing stories about their childhood that this was their museum, so they're very excited to get back in," said Amenta.
Looking around, you will see remnants of old exhibits with a contemporary twist. It's called a site intervention, when artists use what was left behind to create their pieces.
"So they can come in and there's already something there that they can respond to artistically," said Amenta, breathing new life into a building that was nearly forgotten.
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