INSTUDIO Artists and Interior Design Directors Stephen Kladder and Samuel Fleming Lewis visited Grand Rapids, Michigan for the international art fair in its fifth year “ARTPRIZE”. Stephen accompanied his thought provoking “Self Portrait” on exhibit at the Grand Rapids Civic Theater. At ARTPRIZE over a half million dollars in total prizes are awarded to the winning artists who are selected by Grand Prize Jurors, Category Award Jurors and a Public Vote. Samuel joined the art lovers, collectors, artists and colorful people from around the globe to view a spectrum of visual art styles.
Downtown Grand Rapids has transformed into a Grand Gallery with art on view everywhere in sight. Even simple street lamps become engaging art when enhanced by colorfully crafted crocheted sleeves. Entire building interiors have evolved into temporary installation works. Fine art venues displayed curator collections that were specifically selected for ARTPRIZE. The vast array of interesting places to see unique works of art include city streets, parks, bridges, bars, restaurants, retail shops, churches, hotels, hair salons, educational facilities, music venues, banks, government buildings and health centers and a vast array of other unexpected places.
Grand Rapids may seem to be a curious place for a global art event. Knowledge of the city’s history will reveal it’s modernist past. Once known as the “furniture city”, home to classic furniture makers such as Baker and Sligh, it also boasts modernist home and business furnishings designed and produced by Herman Miller and made in the Grand Rapids area. Kendall College of Art and Design keeps youthful creative thinking alive. The Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts is located downtown. The Grand Rapids Art Museum hosts world class contemporary and modern exhibits. Site Lab provides locations for innovative installation art pieces in unused buildings and venues encouraging visions of how these spaces can be put back to productive use.
Grand Rapids was the first city to receive a National Endowment of the arts grant for “Art in Public Places”. The beloved symbol of the city “La Grande Vitesse” is a large scale stabile by artist Alexander Calder that was installed downtown in 1969. At the time the sculpture was controversial. La Grande Vitesse became controversial 44 years later when an ARTPRIZE 2013 artist added contemporary white magnetic floral motifs to the masterwork. Viewers both young and old either loved it or hated it and it created lively debate that could be heard throughout the city and made the news. (INSTUDIO is in the negative camp.)
INSTUDIO Interior Design Directors selected fifteen personal favorites that captured the eye and drew them in. ARTPRIZE 2013 closes October 6. It’s well worth a visit if you can make it. If you can’t go to Grand Rapids visit http://www.artprize.org to view a broad selection of visual art.
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