Laid-back Project 1 may mean less business impact

Project 1 by ArtPrize

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — With Project 1 kicking off Saturday, Grand Rapids businesses are expecting much smaller crowds than they get during ArtPrize.

The huge art competition always brings hundreds of thousands of people downtown. They check out the entries, shop and fill restaurants like those at venue The B.O.B.

“We get involved every year,” Gilmore Collection spokesperson Katrina Danko said Friday. “You’ll often see dozens of art installations throughout the building. It’s one of our busiest, most hectic times of year.”

This year is different. The public art event Project 1 is aiming to be quieter and more reflective.

“Instead of having thousands of artists’ site work in buildings in the downtown core, we’re actually commissioning five artists to produce really massive outdoor temporary installations,” ArtPrize Executive Producer Jori Bennett explained.

That art, all focused on the theme of city boundaries and belonging, is showing up at areas that aren’t generally part of the downtown-centric ArtPrize.

“People who are used to seeing art and walking around the city will have that, but the work itself is all massive and outdoor installation work,” Bennett said.

“Hopefully people enjoy having a little more space so that they can slow down and spend more time with the work and not feel like they have to arm wrestle people to get into to see things,” she continued. “We want people to drink it in and take their time and really ponder the work.”

But with the exhibits spread out, there will likely be fewer people crowding into places like The B.O.B.

“Without ArtPrize this year, we’re maybe not getting that same foot traffic,” Danko said.

But the venue was expecting it and understands why ArtPrize is changing this year.

“I think by changing it up and switching it up it, it helps keep ArtPrize and Project 1 top of mind and I’m very interested to see how it turns out,” Danko said.

Project 1 runs through Oct. 27.

The ArtPrize competition will return next year.


Project 1 by ArtPrize

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