GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — I can’t imagine I’m the only one who found ArtPrize 7 a little underwhelming. Last year was, arguably, peak ArtPrize, with a glut of artworks and a massive turnout of people. Every space in Grand Rapids was packed with human traffic trying to take in the sights and vote for their favorite.
This year feels a little dialed-down in comparison — perhaps the natural growing pains of an event still trying to accommodate the huge surge in visitors that ArtPrize stimulates, in a city that is not otherwise a major destination, for art or otherwise. But that isn’t to say ArtPrize 7 lacks for interesting artwork on display. In fact, it seems as though the major venues have changed tactics, investing more heavily in fewer pieces. This made it much easier to navigate some of the high-flow downtown destinations, such as the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM), the Fed Galleries at Kendall College of Art and Design, the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA), and the B.O.B. (Big Old Building).