GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — After a year filled with cancellations, West Michigan breweries are teaming up to showcase local artists.

ArtPrize 2020 was officially canceled back in May due to COVID-19. The event was set to begin in September. In light of its cancellation, 18 breweries organized a local art competition they’re calling “Ale Prize.” The breweries serve as the venues where the art can be viewed. 

“The city likes beer, the city likes art and so it’s a really good combination,” said Marco Ruiz with Brewery Vivant on Cherry Street.

The artwork ranges from traditional paintings to murals and installations. Visitors can vote for their favorite piece online. 

The breweries say the competition is a good way to garner support for local businesses after a less than ideal year.

“It’s important, especially as it gets colder. This day a week ago, it was nice out and all these tables were full and now they’re not,” said Edwin Collazo of City Built Brewing Company.

They also say the competition is an opportunity to shine a light on local artists who are missing their chance to showcase on a national stage this year. 

“The first year that I actually would be eligible to enter, everything is canceled,” said artist Maddison Chaffer.

Chaffer entered three paintings that are now hanging at Brewery Vivant. She says they’re a representation of emotional states people grow through after a traumatic event. Chaffer says she appreciates the non-traditional art showcasing space that breweries are providing this year.

“Getting to be a part of someone’s anniversary or someone’s special dinner with friends who they haven’t seen in a while, that actually means a lot to me,” Chaffer said.

The breweries say they ultimately wanted to host Ale Prize as a way to give back to the people that kept them afloat during a pandemic.

“Caring about our employees and our community means obviously creating a safe space for everyone where they can come enjoy themselves, but also creating a place of interest. The fact that, culturally, beer plays a big part of who we are and so does art, so when you bring the two together, often times you find a lot of good comes out of that,” said Ruiz.

The Ale Prize competition runs through the end of the month. Voting closes on Oct. 31. A winner will take home $1,000.

A full list of host venues can be found on the Ale Prize website