Wow, it's hard to believe that we are getting ready to kick off ArtPrize 8 in less that a week! (Preview week kicked off on Wednesday, August 14th, but the official start of ArtPrize will be next Wednesday, September 21st.)

I have been to each and every ArtPrize. One of the things I've learned over the years is there is always more to art than meets the eye.

The first couple of years I walked around Grand Rapids and observed the different pieces. Some I liked -- some left me wondering just what the art piece was all about.

After about the third year -- and quite of few "head scratching" installations -- I started to just ask the artist about their entries. I have found that most artists like to talk about their art pieces as much as most people like to brag about their children, or us childless people...brag about our pets.

Every piece of art has a story behind it. The little descriptions that you see posted barely scratch the surface on what the whole masterpiece is all about. If I have the time while strolling through ArtPrize, I try to take the time to talk to the artists. Most of them are sitting by their work and really would love to tell you the story behind it...

  • What does the piece represent?
  • How did you get the idea for the piece?
  • How long did it take to do?
  • What materials did you use?
  • How did you transport the piece?
  • Is this your first ArtPrize?

I have to admit, there have been some conversations that have completely changed the way I felt about the artist's work. Several individuals ended up with votes that I initially would have never given them had I not had a chat with them.

So, stop and talk the artist...welcome them to Grand Rapids...and ask them about their art and what it represents. Be ready for some very interesting conversations.