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Grand Rapids has long been a mecca for creators and admirers of art. In the 19th century, we were known as "Furniture City" for the artistry of our fine wood furniture. In the 20th century, we made art an integral element of the city's identity, starting with the very first public project funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. And in this century, we've revolutionized the global art scene with ArtPrize, the world's richest, most radically open art competition.
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In late September and early October of each year, 1,500+ artists from around the world display their work in every corner of downtown Grand Rapids - and more than 400,000 visitors vote on which artist will receive the $200,000 grand prize. This is ArtPrize, a cultural event like no other - named one of the world's top five festivals by Time magazine.
Grand Rapids also hosts a number of annual festivals beyond ArtPrize, showcasing all manner of art:
Grand Rapids is home to three top-notch art institutions: Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, one of the world's 100 most visited art museums; Grand Rapids Art Museum, internationally known for its distinguished, earth-friendly design; and Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts, which focuses on cutting-edge visual art, film, performance, music, and more.
Stroll the sidewalks of downtown Grand Rapids to see all kinds of art - starting with "La Grande Vitesse," the 42-ton, 32-foot high, bright-red sculpture by acclaimed artist Alexander Calder. The very first public art project partially funded by the National Endowment for the Art, the Calder (as it is commonly known) has become the symbol of Grand Rapids and its creative spirit. Take a walking tour of downtown's outdoor art.
A thriving local music scene finds expression in clubs and bars throughout the city, from live jazz nights to "acoustic stews." Outdoor concerts run the gamut from free "Blues on the Mall" events in downtown GR to a Summer Concert Series on the lush grounds of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Check out upcoming music events.
Professional ballet, opera and symphony companies, several outstanding community theatres, and a variety of performance venues ensure a steady stream of top-flight entertainment - from La Boheme to Lady Gaga to Les Miserables.
Grand Rapids is the center of the office furniture industry, which marries design and commerce. Local companies including Steelcase, Haworth and Herman Miller shape the future of the global workplace.
Downtown's Kendall College of Art & Design is a nationally prominent school offering a broad range of creative degrees, including furniture design, metals & jewelry design, digital media and fashion studies. Stop by to see student art, displayed throughout Kendall's public spaces. Non-professional artists can learn tips and techniques at Grand Rapids Art Museum, Brush Studio and Wine & Canvas.
Includes overnight accommodations, a $25.00 Old Chicago Certificate, complimentary round trip shuttle transportation, and two adult passes to Frederik Meijer Gardens (children’s passes available at ticket counter at gardens) starting at $139.00.