GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Artists are celebrating the return of ArtPrize with the event officially beginning at noon on Thursday.

Muse GR held an event Wednesday night welcoming artists and giving people a sneak peek at some of the entries on display at the gallery.

Owner Stephen Smith says variety was important when he curated the collection of 24 works.

“We had about 300 people trying to get into our space, so it was really hard to choose,” Smith said.

ArtPrize 2021 entry “Lost and Found” by Shade Pratt at Muse GR. (Sept. 15, 2021)

Grand Rapids artist Esan Sommersell was excited for the return of ArtPrize.

“I think we needed this, the city needed this,” Sommersell said.

ArtPrize has made changes with a new QR code system that links you to more information about the work, the ability to express your interest in a piece and purchase it, if it is listed for auction.

Artist Cary Okoro says she likes the changes, which will also allow more artists to go home with a piece of the prize.

“I’m really excited about the new format of ArtPrize. I just hope people will be patient because they’re going to have to get used to it. It’s different from how they’ve voted in the past, but it really does open up the whole event to people exploring more works of art,” Okoro said.

ArtPrize 2021 entry “Every Imprint Leaves a Mark” by Cary Okoro at Muse GR. (Sept. 15, 2021)

The notoriety of the event brought artist Sukanya Mani from Missouri to enter for the first time.

“We’re all coming out of COVID and it’s wonderful to see people ready to experience art and there’s so many artists like myself that have made so many pieces of work during this time. We’re ready to show it, so it’s a perfect match,” Mani said.

ArtPrize runs through Oct. 3 and is free to view works of art.