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Enough With The Big — Here’s The Smallest Venue At ArtPrize, A Post Office Box

Giant bean bag chairs, huge birds constructed out of junk, and a gaggle of orange figures swimming in the Grand River.

This may be the year of BIG at ArtPrize, but there’s a place downtown that may be the smallest venue at ArtPrize. 

It’s hard to get attention at ArtPrize, so most artists either go huge, with the idea of the bigger the better, or they try to be controversial. But tucked into a few post office boxes at the Ledyard Post Office downtown at 120 Monroe Center NW are entire galleries of small paintings and works of art.

PO (Art) Box/ArtPrize
PO (Art) Box/ArtPrize

The project, known as PO (Art) Box, was the brain child of Grand Rapids artist Sierra Cole. “We all know that ArtPrize is about having a conversation about art, we just feel that most of the time that conversation revolves around large scale works of art. We want to flip that conversation and talk about how small works of art are just as viable as large scale works. They are just as challenging, time consuming, and complex as their large counterparts.”

Denise Ardis/ArtPrize
Denise Ardis/ArtPrize

Eric Millikin, Firth MacMillan, Barbara Lash, Denise Ardis, John Whipple, Lynn Whipple, Ed Brownlee, Jonathan D. Lopez, Howard Sheltraw and Cole are the artists displaying their works in the tiny spaces both in and just outside of the Post Office. The mediums range from small oil and acrylic paintings to work in clay, textiles and paper.

And small doesn’t mean the works aren’t thought provoking, like Millikin’s ‘Made of Money’. A pull out picture book constructed of money colored paper, it consists of portraits of people whose ideas live on to this day, and yet they all died penniless. “These are a reminder to us — as ArtPrize artists compete for more than $500,000 in corporate-sponsored prizes — that our best people aren’t always rewarded with wealth, and that our wealthiest people aren’t always our best,” Millikin said in his artist’s statement.

Eric Millikin
Eric Millikin

The venue has a Facebook page highlighting the various works.

Jonathon Lopez/PO (Art) Box via facebook
Jonathon Lopez/PO (Art) Box via facebook

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