ArtPrize 2015

IMG_8877The GRPM has a prime location, in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, situated on the banks of the Grand River. This location is accessible and walkable from many other ArtPrize venues makes it unique. The GRPM hosted an outdoor exhibition in which the artwork will visually lend itself to the setting of the Museum grounds, demonstrate a GRPM exhibition connection, and/or offer hands-on educational opportunities.

The Museum curates a rewarding experience with approachable art that is intriguing, distinctive and engages the viewer’s capacity for awe, curiosity and humor. With our unique setting along the busy river walkway, we are able to offer a not-to-be-missed immersive experience worthy of our fortunate location. The GRPM offered outdoor art, as well as blockbuster Museum exhibitions that intrigued and drew visitors to this location.

Pieces were installed on the grounds near the Grand River, and the front and back lawn. Food carts were stationed accordingly to make it easy for visitors to grab a quick bite or beverage while on the move.

This year during ArtPrize was an exciting time for the GRPM, as we were hosting The Discovery of King Tut exhibition, on its third stop ​on its​ U.S. ​tour ​and included with general admission, our newest exhibit American Spirits: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition.



Root of our Legacy - Autumn BildsonAutumn Bildson – Root of our Legacy

While we are now aware of the impacts human decisions have on our surroundings, many tracks still lead selfishly towards greed, not keeping in mind the state of our delicate and precious environment we share. These decisions have long lasting effects on our world that reach much further than the “split second” we hold a place on this Earth. Birds take flight and soar when all is right, telling us a tale of two leaves that are like two souls rooting, setting a foundation, growing and turning in a journey, growing towards a healthy life, towards answers, towards accepting our burdens and celebrating the ability to care. Will we have the ability to set strong roots that will keep our Earth in balance, while we can, while it’s not too late?


Michael - Larry deLiefdeLarry deLeiefle – Michael

This sculpture depicts those who live unmarred by the world and yet are knowingly and unknowingly marked men. The figure consists of only a head, representing a sense of powerlessness and a lack of agency. The rectangular pillar is both dehumanizing and emblematic of uniformity.



Watershed - Rena DetrixheRena Detrixhe – Watershed

Positioned along the Grand River, which bisects and defines the city, Watershed contemplates the primacy and beauty of our most valuable resource. Michigan is carved by rivers, dappled with lakes, and surrounded by one of Earth’s greatest supplies of fresh water. In a place so abundant, it can be easy to take for granted, but with threats such as climate change, pollutants, invasive species, scarcity and misuse, there has never been a more critical time to conserve this precious resource. Watershed is made from thousands of individually cast resin droplets emulating drops of water arranged in a sprawling form derived from the movement of waterways, streams, weather patterns, etc., on sheer fabric which disappears into the landscape, creating the illusion that the water is suspended in space. Appropriately situated at the GRPM, which encourages and inspires curiosity and education across fields of science, history, and culture; the work becomes a stage for conversation and reflection.


Artifact - James FreemanJames Freeman – Artifact

This piece is a welded steel assemblage constructed from 640 salvaged obsolete, worn out, and discarded industrial components, along with a healthy dose of compulsion and a truckload of obsession.




White Forest Project - Oriano GalloniOriano Galloni – White Forest Project

White Tree is a marble and stainless steel sculpture inspired by the classical concept of Greek purity. The sculpture is part of a larger public art project called the White Forest project which is designed to symbolize a powerful, unifying force that is guarding humanity and protecting the planet. The project is comprised of an unlimited number of white trees placed in far flung and unusual places around the world, like giant transmitters uniting various points around the planet. The White Trees derive from a body of my work known as Silent Souls. The Silent Souls are used by the artist to create sculptures that serve as points of communication between our physical and spiritual beings.


Free Fall - Ann GildnerAnn Gildner – Free Fall

Free Fall is crafted out of steel, emulating various spheres, piping, rings and casted human bodies, this piece is arranged and welded to create three “free falling” bodies. Each figure was created in sections as the artist arranged the discs by sight and feel. For the finish look, the figures were sculpted with weld, grinned and galvanized. The galvanizing process will allow the figures to remain unaffected by the elements – forever. Free Fall is the absence of any other forces. Gravitation is reduced to a space time curvature. A body in free fall has no force acting on it and moves along a geodesic force. The mind is at the state of openness.


Movement - Craig MerchantCraig Merchant – Movement

This artwork is a time-based piece that will be in constant motion throughout the entirety of Artprize. It consists of several “hands” made with latex gloves that are installed floating on water. The move and turn freely through space, making each viewer’s experience unique. The rhythmic motion of the hands can be heard as they move, creating a mesmerizing and hypnotic sound that will reach even further into the viewer’s senses. Although the piece may take on a variety of interpretations, it was designed to represent a movement: A group of people working together to advance their shared political, social, or artistic ideas. “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” -Helen Keller


What lifts you - Kelsey MontagueKelsey Montague – #WhatLiftsYou

#WhatLiftsYou is a unique, interactive set of wings created specifically for the ArtPrize. Artist, Kelsey Montague has created interactive wings in the USA, New Zealand, Australia and Europe. Each piece provides an opportunity for people to step into the work and become a ‘living work of art.’ Participants are encouraged to post pictures of their interactions with the work on social media channels using the hashtag #whatliftsyou.


In the Realm of Possibilities - Cara O'BrienCara O’Brien – In The Realm of Possibilities

This work will feature a kitchen table “pulling” itself from the ground with various “colonizing” clay shapes growing off the top and down to the ground. Made from porcelain clay, driftwood, reclaimed lumber, metal scraps and old furniture, the artist is drawing on the visually scarred appearances. She bring the various materials, textures and forms together, to preserves and transform the found and handmade.


Jacob Pierzchala – Auralwood

Auralwood is an interactive audio-visual experience that highlights the value of human interaction and participation. As more ambient noise fills the space where it is displayed, the forest grows at an accelerated rate. This extension of a piece created for the Toledo Museum’s digital art exhibition “Zeros and Ones”, will include a day and night cycle as well as additional visual elements.



City Folks - Ryon RichRyon Rich – City Folks

This sculpture is part of the “Transit Series,” a group of sculptures that address elemental aspects of the natural world. Our transient lives are interdependent on the air, water and land where we live, yet we unconsciously disregard our impact on this fragile ecosystem. This steel sculpture visually represents three related elements: ether, water and earth. It reflects upon the relationship of the natural elements and how we interact with them. City Folks is a morph of the family unit and speaks to our fragile interconnectedness with nature.


Ascension - Ryan T SchmidtRyan Schmidt – Ascension

Ascension directly refers to the supernatural passage into Heaven that Jesus made on the 40th day after Resurrection. Transformational movement on earth and sky are both reflected in the mirror of the sculpture, stirring contemplation of one’s own mortality and existence for eternity – the abstract Truth. The three vessels represent the mind, body, and spirit of those who are reaching towards Heaven in worship and expectation for the return of the “King of Kings!”


Kickin Back - Pamela TimmonsPamela Timmons – Kickin’ Back

These delightful bronzed frogs represent relaxing in all its’ many variations – chatting with friends, reading a good book, daydreaming, snoozing and, literally, hanging around.




Carry Me Home - Tom ZaroffTom Zaroff – Carry Me Home

This piece was inspired by an image of an emigration. The artist saw a mass of people moving through a ravine or hilly street, difficult for him to tell because there were so many people and they were so close together. The people appeared to be part of the topography. A strange thought occurred to him, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if that valley could lift itself up and like some great beast, carry them all back home, en masse.”


ArtPrize Educational Programming:

The Museum once again will host a special Chair Camp offered by ArtPrize for over 1,500 school-aged children. In this hands-on activity, Carla Hartman (granddaughter of Charles and Ray Eames) leads children in creating miniature chairs that are displayed around the Museum. Chair Camp will take place September 29, 30 and October 1.

The GRPM will also be offering ArtPrize Education Days October 5 – October 7 for early childhood development, K-5 and 6-12th grade students. These programs will include a walking tour of outside exhibits and hands-on presentation by ArtPrize artist Cara O’Brien using her piece In The Realm of Possibilities.