Top Ten Favorites at Art Prize

If you aren’t from Grand Rapids you probably have no idea what Art Prize is. But if you live here it is all anyone is talking about. You see it has kind of taken over our town. Here is how its creator described it:

Part arts festival, part social experiment–this international contest is decided solely by public vote.

The event is designed for you to take it into your own hands and make it what you want it to be.

Our whole city has been taken over by art. And art by every possible definition. But what is even cooler than that is that our city has been taken over by people looking at art. People of every size, shape, color, age looking at art. Facebook is full of friends posting about their favorite pieces. Even my kids want to go back downtown to see more. It is amazing to be a part of.

It is next to impossible to narrow down my favorite ten. Especially since despite going downtown twice since it started, I am sure I have only seen a sliver of what is 1200 pieces submitted. But I am going to show a few of my favorites. The actual top ten, chosen by popular vote, will be revealed this Thursday. We’ll see if the public agrees with me.

  1. IMG_2213

This was a recreation of deep sea fish created all out of recycled objects. At night it lights up just like the actual fish. It totally grabbed my attention and my kids loved it.







This picture doesn’t do this justice. The wading pool was filled with yellow jugs. Painted on the side are facts about the tragedy of the lack of clean water in our world. At the end is a picture of two African boys carrying water jugs. It is really a powerful statement that is drawing attention to a cause in a really impactful way. It was quite interesting to try and explain this piece to Lily. How do you explain to an American child that people die from a lack of something they can turn on a faucet and get anytime.






So a cool representation of creation right? What you can’t see is that the entire piece is made from broken crayons. See? IMG_2296

How cool is that. Even cooler is that kids from a local Catholic school helped. It is truly gorgeous.




Titled Steam Pig. See those little people? That should give you some perspective on how big it is. A kid favorite, but I couldn’t help but fall in love as well. So fun and it takes over the space it is in.







Another one that is so hard to explain. You can’t go in the room but you can overlook it. It is a forest of gorgeous red thread coils. It is so simple and complex all at the same time. It was just stunning to stare at. It must have taken a ridiculous about of time.






It’s a statue of a penny right? Big deal, right. Except it is a statue of a penny made completely out of pennies. It goes even deeper though. It was made by an immigrant who is so grateful for what this country has afforded him. Check out this close up:

IMG_2247 Dancing With Lions


  A pride of lions sculpted completely out of nails. Another fave of the kids, but who wouldn’t love this. In this close up you can see the nails:













Ok, so it might be a stretch to call this art, but it was so cool. It is Andy Warhol. But he is made completely out of barcodes. They had a barcode Elvis, barcode Marilyn Monroe and a few other celebrities. It was just pure fun!!



  This was just art. Everything else I loved seemed to have some sort of gimmick. This was just an incredibly gorgeous picture titled Subway. I just could not take my eyes off it. Beautiful!





On the surface this might not look like much. I mean it is a well done picture of Martin Luther King, but nothing all that out of the ordinary. Until you take a closer look.


It is made entirely of Rubik’s cubes. Can you imagine what this took to create. It was my all time favorite. Which might make me a bit simplistic when it comes to art, but this just astounds me. I cannot fathom how someone comes up with this. Brilliance.



Sorry I couldn’t really number things and it is a little hard to follow, but hopefully you could follow along. And seriously I know there is so much that I haven’t even seen yet. Heading back down on Thursday to catch a few more things. I can’t get enough Art Prize!!!

This post is linked up to Top Ten Tuesday at Oh Amanda


  1. Those are totally awesome! I would have so much fun looking at them all (and yes, a very hard time picking a favorite!). I love how creative people can be!

  2. My top pieces are:
    1 vessel – Amanda Katz
    2 lure/forest – beili liu
    3 dream big – Pete fecteau
    4 river of light – Joel d’orisio
    5 seven days of creation – Suzi furtwangler
    6 street pianos – Luke jerram (my kid’s class painted one)
    7 dream collection – heather (forget her last name off hand)
    8 confess (forgot artist’s name – it’s in UICA)
    9 the mirrored face one by Austin blough
    10 waterprize

  3. PS The artist for the crayon one was there when I saw it Saturday. She pointed out the cap of glue that one of the kids accidentally put in the piece. I love that she left it there.
    Sarah recently posted…The state of education and this mom’s opinionMy Profile

  4. Deb - Mom of 3 Girls says:

    Oh those are amazing! I’ve only made it downtown once for ArtPrize so far but want to go back this week sometime too, and I want to take the kids at some point. I’m going to post some of my photos this week too – I don’t remember the names of my favorites but there are so many incredible pieces of art… everywhere! :)
    Deb – Mom of 3 Girls recently posted…I ♥ Faces – with chalkMy Profile

  5. Not from the area (not even close) but I would *totally* be all over something like that – personally and with my kiddos!
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  6. Amazing! Even of those ten, I couldn’t choose a favorite. Nails, pennies, rubics cubes, crayon pieces–wow!
    Eos Mom recently posted…Five Question Friday-Sept 24My Profile

  7. I work in downtown GR and I agree that it is exciting to see so many people of all ages walking around, taking pictures, etc. I agree with all of the top one’s you listed. Some guys from my church did the one in the wading pool, so that one is extra special to me (our church is a huge supporter of the clean water need in Africa). Thanks for your post ~


  8. SpitFire says:

    Oh my gosh that is so cool! I need to see if there’s any kind of art festival in my region…there’s some really interesting stuff going on there! I love the crayon one. The sheer ingenuity behind the Martin Luther one is amazing. I always wonder how peoples brains functions to come up with things like that.
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