GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The first weekend of ArtPrize is quickly coming to an end. The 18-day festival started Sept. 14 and goes until Oct. 1. Over the past four days, thousands of people have flocked to downtown for the event.

This year is the first time the City of Grand Rapids, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., and Kendall College of Art & Design are running the show.

Emilee Holzworth is a student at Kendall College of Art & Design participating in ArtPrize this year. She said her piece was inspired by her trip out West this past summer to Grand Teton National Park.

“I’ve always wanted to be a part of ArtPrize,” she said. “This got offered to us through school, so I thought it would be a great opportunity.”

“Everyone has that same thought on their mind,” said Tom Gifford, also an artist who has a piece in the competition. “Let’s go see beautiful things. It’s fun just being a part of the whole energy of everything.”

People from across Michigan came out this weekend, including Alex Melendez.

“We love the fact that there’s so much art,” he said. “So much stuff to see in the city. You know, they incorporate a lot of the buildings and the businesses in with the art, so, it’s fun just to take the day up, something to do, and see all the art mixed in with the City of Grand Rapids.”

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However, those who have been coming for years said crowds feel smaller this year, with less art exhibits.

This year, the festival includes almost 700 pieces of art from 950 artists at 150 venues across the city. Last year, around 750 artists participated.

“It definitely seems like there’s less people, there’s not as many exhibits, but the exhibits that we’ve seen have been great,” said Stephanie Melendez.

“Sometimes the bigger is more impressive,” said Sherry Melendez. “But sometimes you’ll find smaller ones that are just unique and different and very intriguing, and we’ve seen some of that today.”

Visitors who have smartphones are can sign up to vote with their devices through the ArtPrize website. You can do it by scanning an entry’s QR code and voting for it.