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22 ArtPrize pieces on display at Monroe Community church

ArtPrize 2021
Posted at 7:29 AM, Sep 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-16 07:43:35-04

ArtPrize kicks off today!

Nearly a thousand artists are showing off their creations at more than 100 different locations throughout Grand Rapids.

And you can own a piece on display - just by using your phone.

“Last time ArtPrize was in this format was 2018,” said Craig Searer, Executive Director of ArtPrize.

The event started in 2009 and showcases artists from all over the world.

This year, artwork from more than 800 artists in 30 countries will be on display in Grand Rapids.

Searer took us inside one of about 150 venues around the city.

“We’ve moved away from the voting and moved away from our traditional app and moved into a progressive web app,” he said. “What that means is that visitors can come and interact and explore the city, explore the art, explore the venues.”

It’s basically a Grand Rapids city game.

Guests can scan QR codes with their smart phones awarding prizes to artists, like Marie Wohadlo from Thompsonville, Michigan.

Her 20-foot tapestry is made from 750,000 beads and each one represents an hour of her grandma’s life.

It’s on display at Monroe Community Church.

“We just love giving back to the city. Our mission statement is, ‘Love God, Love people, Love the city.’ So, we want to get involved in whatever the city is doing and this a big way,” said Steve Fridsma, who serves as the architect and curator at Monroe Community Church.

The church has 22 pieces on display for everyone to enjoy.

It includes a wax display by Holly Wilson of Mustang, Oklahoma.

She’s both Caucasian and Native American and grew up feeling she was not enough of one or the other.

It’s why she created “A View from within Under the Skin” and shows 288 little carved women – colored with crayons.

“We worked hard to design this space around the display of artwork. In fact, we’re not calling it the lobby, we’re calling it the gallery,” said Steve.

The church gets thousands of visitors during ArtPrize.

In 2017 it was one of the outstanding venue finalists.

Four weeks ago, it moved to a new location just a couple blocks north.

There’s s something unique about this spot as well. The pastor will take a piece of artwork and turn it into a sermon.

The COVID-19 pandemic may have canceled ArtPrize last year, but guests will follow safety protocols laid out at each venue this time around.

Monroe Community Church is encouraging masks for patrons and the artwork serves as a welcome sign that things are getting back to normal.

“Hopefully this opportunity allows us to bring the city together once again and create a really unique experience for these artists to collaborate, to communicate, and show off their work that they may have been working on for 18 months,” Craig said.

ArtPrize will make any changes to next year’s event based on feedback from this year.

You can check out the artwork through October 3 and bid on items by taking pictures of QR codes.

To learn more about ArtPrize click here.