GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The first weekend of ArtPrize was a great success, according to the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce.
It drew in nearly 400,000 people to the downtown area.
“The first weekend Thursday through Sunday we had 387,000 visitors come in according to our Placer.ai numbers, which are incredibly accurate. Almost 50,000 more people showed up than this time the year before,” Richard App, the city’s retail, retention and attraction specialist, said.
He added that businesses are profiting from the large crowds. Kayla Binda, owner of two shops on Monroe Center agrees.
“The first weekend was insane. The turnout was crazy. We were feeling it was busier but looking at the numbers during the week and seeing how much busier we’ve been has been amazing,” she said.
It’s the second time both stores have been the hot spot for ArtPrize pieces though Binda says she and her team did a better job at incorporating the installations into each space.
“I think the type of pieces we selected and worked with the artists to determine who is in our space really changed this year. I feel like we really paid attention more this year to how to use our space the best to incorporate the art pieces into the space rather than them feeling like they are completely separate,” she said.
Binda says she and her team started preparing for the festival about two months beginning with stocking inventory. So far, the annual festival has been positive for her.
“We’ve been stocking like crazy. This year we are doing 32% more revenue than we did for ArtPrize last year. It’s our biggest generator. Christmas is good, but it’s 100% ArtPrize,” Binda said. “It’s make or break for us and helps us pay our employees from January through February which are notoriously slow. Without ArtPrize, I don’t know how long we’d be around.”
The chamber hasn’t been able to track the number of people from this past weekend.