ArtPrize Guilt

An Observation about ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, MI

I walked into the gallery and said hello to the proprietress. The occasion of my visit was ArtPrize, a local institution.

Nine years ago the local billionaire’s kid had an idea for an art contest wherein the public would vote for its preferred art piece. And the winner would get a big bunch of money. Members of the art community reacted in horror that the great unwashed should have a chance to say what constitutes good art, but that’s another story.

I like to go through as many venues and see as much art as I can during Art Prize. This is a daunting task which generally cannot be completed over the course of a single weekend. There are hundreds of venues scattered all over Grand Rapids.

The biggest venues are things like the Gerald Ford Museum or the Grand Rapids Art Museum. They are the primo venues. But many venues are little corner bars or restaurants with one or two art pieces on display. There are a ton of places I had never heard of and I’ve lived in Grand Rapids for decades.

Such was the case with the gallery on the north side of town I was visiting. It was a pleasant space with a good number of entries on display. I had enjoyed it immensely the year before when I went to ArtPrize. Then I recognized the gal in charge of the gallery with whom I had conversed so pleasantly the year before. I was repeating the same remarks of the year before without thinking.

And I noticed that I really enjoyed this place of business, but the last time I had darkened its door had been ArtPrize of the year before.

It’s that way with a couple dozen ArtPrize venues. I love the space and feel grateful to enjoy the ambiance. It’s that way for a couple dozen little restaurants and bars in Grand Rapids. I think, “Why don’t I go here more often?”

And a year goes by, and I return to the ArtPrize venue, and I think, again, “Why don’t I go here more often?”

Moments later I realize that I had a whole year to return to this venue and I never got around to doing so. Thus I feel guilt.

ArtPrize guilt.

Steve Poling

Masters degrees in math and computer science. Poet in several computer languages. I write stories about Sherlock Holmes' brother Mycroft, steampunk, and SF.

Grand Rapids, Michigan