GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Though a lot of work has already been done, there are still 18 active construction projects in the ArtPrize area.
Some of those projects are road work and some are private jobs that are blocking sidewalks or single lanes. There has been fear the work will disrupt the world's largest art competition, which officially kicked off Wednesday.
One project on Jefferson Avenue SE south of Fulton Street was blocking the way to the venue at the old Grand Rapids Public Museum building. That building houses Site:Lab, which won the juried award for Best Venue in both 2011 and 2012.
"We were nervous," Tom Clinton, Site:Lab's exhibition coordinator, said.
Things weren't looking good in July as Los Angeles artist Mark Veca started working on his piece at Site:Lab. The road in front was torn up.
"The roads were being completely destroyed. I'm thinking, 'Oh, great. They're fixing it up. It's going to be really nice for ArtPrize,'" Veca said.
Veca returned this past weekend to finish his work. The road still wasn't done.
"I was like, 'Oh, this wasn't right,'" he said.
Clinton said the city and ArtPrize reassured him that everything would be fine.
"We heard from all different sources from the contractors themselves that they were under a lot of pressure to get this done before ArtPrize began," Clinton said.
And the city kept its word.
"It was down to the wire, but it got done," Clinton said.
The road has reopened.
"On Monday, they were out there. They were really cranking on it and those guys were really getting it done, and it looks really great now, so it worked out perfect," Veca said.
Things aren't so perfect a few blocks away at the Children's Museum on Fulton Street near Division Avenue, where work on Monument Park out front is blocking the view.
"We have some really cool pieces, so we're hoping people come through," Adrienne Brown of the Children's Museum said.
The museum has moved outdoor art to the less-traveled side. Other art hangs in windows that can't be seen from Fulton. Brown said they're still waiting to see how it works out.
The museum is trying to draw attention with signs and with painted footsteps on the sidewalk.
"They actually extended it a little bit more than the original temporary walk was going to be on our request," Brown said. "People are going to come down here, we're going to help them get around down here."
City officials say they don't believe the ongoing work will get in the way. Neither does Kathy Williams, who drove downtown Wednesday with a friend from Paris.
"I just think it's just not very attractive, all the construction, but as far as getting here and getting around, I hope it won't cause problems," she said.
While ArtPrize-goers can still get around by car, there are also ways to avoid construction using public transportation.
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