GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids City Commission on Tuesday approved the plan for how the newest incarnation of ArtPrize will be run.
The city is one third of a new partnership set to take over the massive art competition that draws hundreds of thousands of people to downtown Grand Rapids annually. The new leaders say when the 18-day event returns next fall, it will be much the same as it has been since it started in 2009.
“And then we’ll look at where can we build? What are our opportunities? How can we scale it up or even bring in additional elements and types of are?” Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss said.
Bliss will be part of the nine-member board that oversees ArtPrize 2.0.
“We’re bringing together three strong public partners in addition to a lot of private sector leaders and we are going to look at and approach ArtPrize as a true private-public partnership,” Bliss said.
The city will partner with Downtown GR Inc., the organization that manages the Downtown Development Authority, Downtown Improvement District and the Monroe North Tax Increment Finance Authority, to handle the business end of ArtPrize. Those organizations are supported by taxes collected from downtown property owners.
Kendall College of Art and Design brings its art community expertise to the table. The city will handle everything from permits to parking.
“As we know, a lot of work is done that involves city staff. We’re using public spaces. We have a lot of event planning. We have a lot of permits, a lot of public safety issues,” Bliss said. “So we’ll step up our involvement and engagement to make sure on our end, the city and city government, city staff are at the table making sure we’re doing everything we can on the front end to make sure that it’s very smooth.”
So how much will taxpayers be on the hook for the cost of ArtPrize?
“I would say it will be similar to years past,” Bliss told News 8.
Exactly how much the city will contribute is still being added up. The mayor says ArtPrize is no different than other events the city supports because they bring in people and their money.
“We contribute to other large-scale community events,” Bliss said. “And so this will continue to be one of them. Downtown GR Inc., as well, DDA — we have funds set aside for events. We know that activation of public space is absolutely key.”
The official transition to ArtPrize 2.0 happens Jan. 1.