GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Last year during ArtPrize, about 200,000 people toured the galleries at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. This year, the number of people who toured the galleries there is zero.
As an indoor ArtPrize venue, the Public Museum would be contractually obligated to allow everyone to enter free. Museum officials found there were paying customers who were interested in renting the galleries during ArtPrize. So the decision was made to allow weddings, receptions and corporate events in -- and keep the public out.
The decision "to make the indoor space available for rental, which we were not able to do if we were an indoor venue like we were the last two years" has everything to do with economic constraints, said Dale Robertson, the CEO of the Grand Rapids Public Museum.
Only one piece is inside the Public Museum lobby. The museum is still an exhibition center for ArtPrize, you can still register to vote there and the gift shop is open.
But all of the art is outside, where maintenance, security and cleaning costs are more easily contained.
Most people who spoke with 24 Hour News 8 were disappointed with the Public Museum's decision. Most think a public museum should be open during a very public event like ArtPrize.
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