A list of things to do in Grand Rapids during ArtPrize 2023

From Sept. 14 through Oct. 1 there will be a multitude of community events happening throughout the international art competition.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — ArtPrize is returning to Grand Rapids once again and will feature much more than its signature arts competition. 

From Sept. 14 through Oct. 1 there will be many community events taking place alongside the featured artwork and ArtPrize-sanctioned events. 

“The City and its Office of Special Events are dedicated to encouraging high-quality events that showcase our community’s personality, charisma, vibrancy and diversity,” said Evette Pittman, Grand Rapids’ special events manager. “The fantastic activities and entertainment options on tap this September meet that goal,” she said. “All take place both inside and outside ArtPrize’s footprint for those who want to explore Grand Rapids’ quaint neighborhoods and unique business districts.”

The City of Grand Rapids provided a list of events complete with dates, addresses, descriptions and times (which are subject to change). Information on all events can be found on the ArtPrize events page linked here.

ArtPrize-Sanctioned Events

ArtPrize 2.0 

  • Sept. 14 to Oct. 1
  • Rosa Parks Circle, Calder Plaza, Canal Park, Ah-Nab-Awen Park, 555 Monroe Ave. North Lot, Sixth Street Park, Downtown
  • ArtPrize is an annual, international art festival and competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan—a celebration of creative ideas, conversations, experimentation, and inclusiveness. Interactive programming and 748 physical and experiential installations will be exhibited across 153 venues. More than 950 artists from 15 countries and 30 states will compete for $400,000 in prizes in the Public Vote and Juror Competition categories.

ArtPrize Oasis

  • Sept. 14 to Oct. 1 – Noon to 8 p.m.
  • 555 Monroe Ave. N
  • Corewell Health and Priority Health present the ArtPrize Oasis is a temporary but transformative urban expanse along the Grand River offering guests a place to regroup and recharge. It re-envisions our urban environment, organizing the flow of people and space by the same principles as the river, and provides visitors three distinct functional areas for those seeking fun, respite, or connection. The Artist Lounge is a welcoming enclave where participants recharge and network. The Studio serves as a flex space for both private events and public activities and is supported by Meijer. And the Public Activation Area features games, relaxing seating, and art installations presented by DGRI and the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

Oasis Block Parties

  • Sept. 16, 23, 30 – 2 to 4 p.m.
  • 555 Monroe Ave. N

ArtPrize Opening Celebration

  • Sept. 14 -5 to 10 p.m.
  • Ah-Nab-Awen Park
  • ArtPrize is back, and we’re kickstarting this year’s event with a joyously boisterous and gloriously vibrant opening celebration, presented by Wolverine Worldwide. Ah Nab Awen Park will transform into a multisensory feast featuring games, food trucks, art installations, fireworks, and a performance by the renowned visual and musical spectacle, the world premiere of Squonk’s Brouhaha presented by DeVos Place.

Grand Rapids African American Art and Music Festival

  • Sept. 15 – 5 to 10 p.m.
  • Sept. 16 – Noon to 10 p.m.
  • Rosa Parks Circle
  • Live music and food celebrating the African American Arts & Music Community in Grand Rapids.

Curb Appeal

  • Sept. 16 – Noon to 8 p.m.
  • Lyon St. (Monroe Ave. to Grand River)
  • Beyond the minds of engineers shaping clay molds that hit the manufacturing line to the showroom floors of the latest and greatest makes and models is a culture of creatives that stretch the imagination and self-expression in garages and driveways across the streets of America and across the globe. No matter the subculture, make, model, or background, we all share the same passion and respect that brings out the curb appeal. Come join us as we explore the art within the world of automotive customization.

State of Play

  • Sept. 21 – 8 to 9 a.m.
  • Sheldon Avenue

ArtPrize Top 25 Announcement

  • Sept. 22 – 5 to 8 p.m.
  • 555 Monroe Ave. N
  • The suspense grows with this first big reveal as we announce the Top 25 entries for ArtPrize 2023 based on the public vote. While here, immerse yourself in the hopeful, invigorating soundscapes of musical performers Y-Not. Supported by Rockford Construction.

ArtPrize 5K

  • Sept. 22 – 8 to 9 a.m.
  • 555 Monroe Ave. N

City Hall Exhibition Silent Disco

  • Sept. 23 – 6 to 10 p.m.
  • Calder Plaza

Merchants and Makers

  • Sept. 23 and 24 – 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Gillett Bridge/Ah-Nab-Awen Park
  • Merchants and Makers, the growing West Michigan collective of creatives and shops, is teaming up with ArtPrize to bring its new generation of craft fair to this year’s event. Over 80 vendors will sell their inspired, quirky, and stylish wares in an outdoor marketplace spanning the Gillett Bridge and stretching through Ah-Nab-Awen Park. All of this handmade goodness, along with food trucks and live artistic and musical performances, make it a relaxing and celebratory gathering for everyone.

ArtPrize Closing Awards Ceremony

  • Sept. 29 – 6 to 9 p.m.
  • Rosa Parks Circle
  • It all comes down to this: the “Prize” in ArtPrize. We’ll gather at Rosa Parks Circle to announce and celebrate this year’s winners. And we’ll also celebrate everyone—from the Artists and Venues to the Donors, volunteers, and visitors themselves—who’ve made ArtPrize 2023 a success. That means throwing a closing bash featuring local food vendors, an immersive and colorful experience, and a live musical performance.

Community Events

Relax at Rosa

  • Sept. 14, 21 and 28 – Noon to 1:30 p.m.
  • Rosa Parks Circle
  • Concert/Food Trucks

Art of Food Festival

  • Sept. 15 and 16 – 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Sept. 17 – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Calder Plaza and Ottawa Ave.
  • Art of Food Festival aims to bring together the diverse culture of a thriving Grand Rapids and its visitors around the one thing we all love…FOOD!  This free to attend event brings together over 30 local food trucks/vendors as they line Ottawa Ave. from Calder Plaza to Pearl St. in downtown Grand Rapids. In addition to these delicious options, a collaborative effort Festival of the Arts is joining GR8 Food Trucks in activating Calder Plaza, through stage performances all weekend, 30 local artist vendors, interactive art stations and art installations through ArtPrize. The Grand Rapids Food Truck Association is helping sponsor a beer tent for refreshments over the weekend and has partnered with the Grand Rapids Fire Department so that half of all proceeds raised will help our local firefighting community.

Art Of Disruption

  • Sept. 14 to Oct. 1
  • Heartside Park

The HUG Station

  • Sept. 14 to Oct. 1 – 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Canal Park

Squonk Performance and Workshop

  • Sept. 15, 16, 17 – Noon, 3 & 6 p.m.
  • Ah-Nab-Awen Park

Eastown Streetfair

  • Sept. 16 – 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Wealthy Ave. (Lake Dr. to Giddings)
  • The Eastown Streetfair is a family-friendly celebration of arts, crafts, food, music, and the Eastown neighborhood; one of Grand Rapids’ most eclectic districts!

West Side Walk for Gilda’s

  • Sept. 16 – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Gilda’s Club

Grand Rapids Pagan Pride Day

  • Sept. 16 – 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Richmond Park

Ballpark Series

  • Sept. 16 & 23 – 5 to 9 p.m.
  • Sullivan Field
  • Ballpark Jam 90’s Throwback Fest, Taylor Swift Experience, Live music, yard games, food, drinks.

Stop the Hate Community Walk

  • Sept. 16 – 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • MLK Park

Global Gathering

  • Sept. 16 – 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Garfield Park

Lake Michigan Credit Union Bridge Run

  • Sept. 17 – 8 to 11 a.m.
  • Front Street & Race Route

Heart Prize

  • Sept. 16 – 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Sept. 17 – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • S. Division Ave. (Fulton to Wealthy)
  • Heart Prize is a cultural event, incorporating and promoting diversity in this vital neighborhood of downtown Grand Rapids. It will feature in-store events, sales, food vendors, pop-up merchants, artists and makers, trolleys, historical tour, and performing artists, musicians, dancers stationed outdoors throughout the neighborhood.

KissCross Cyclocross

  • Sept. 17 – 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
  • Highland Park

Outdoor Storytime with the Grand Rapids Public Library

  • Sept. 18 – 10:30 to 11 a.m.
  • Lincoln Park

Pop-up Westside Stride

  • Sept. 19 & 26 – 6 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Bridge Street

Tuesday Night Swing Dance

  • Sept. 19 – Brena Live – 7 to 9:30 p.m.
  • Sept. 26 – Broadway Swing – 7 to 9:30 p.m.
  • Rosa Parks Circle
  • All ages. No partner needed. Family friendly. Join over 200 people as they swing dance, line dance and Latin dance to a variety of songs and music.

Start Garden Demo Day

  • Sept. 20 – 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Calder Plaza

GR in XR on the Blue Bridge

  • Sept. 21 – 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Blue Bridge

East Hills Summer Concert Series

  • Sept. 21 – 6 to 9 p.m.
  • Cherry Park

Confluence

  • Sept. 22 – 5 to 10 p.m.
  • Sept. 23 – 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Rosa Parks Circle
  • Confluence, presented by Steelcase and JR Automation, is a free, multi-day festival that explores innovation and creativity across art, music, science, and technology within six major program areas. The Future Innovators Zone is a STEAM-based playground for kids of all ages, the Maker Expo spotlights the DIY maker community, the Innovation Showcase features an esports tournament with the region’s top high school and collegiate teams, the Robotics Expo & Parade features top middle and high school teams who show off their creations and demonstrate their work in the fields of engineering, coding and computer science, the Music Showcase includes musicians who test the limits of instrumentation to create exuberant soundscapes, and Art@ features experimental media artist Brian Alexander who will present over 30 of his works including installations, devices and hybrid media shorts.

Parkrun Riverside Park

  • Sept. 23 and 30 – 9 to 10:30 a.m.
  • Riverside Park
  • 5k community event – walk, jog, run

Retriever Fever

  • Sept. 23 – 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Riverside Park
  • Paws with a Cause

Tour de Food Trucks

  • Sept. 28 – 5 to 8 p.m.
  • Lookout Park

Grit Summit Yoga on the Bridge

  • Sept. 28 – 6:45 to 7:30 a.m. and 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
  • Blue Bridge

Oktoberfest

  • Sept. 29 – 3 to 9 p.m.
  • Sept. 30 – Noon to 9 p.m.
  • Riverside Park and Bandshell
  • German/American festival

Neighborwoods

  • Sept. 29 and 30 – 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Roberto Clemente Park

Brews at the Calder

  • Sept. 30 – 4 to 8 p.m.
  • Calder Plaza
  • Join 30 brewers as we celebrate Beer City, USA. This isn’t just another beer fest – this is THE festival of Beer City brewers, planned and orchestrated by the area brewers and brewery owners themselves that make up the Beer City Brewers Guild. Admission is free, just purchase tasting tickets. All ages are welcome, 21+ will be carded and given a wristband. The guild’s Pro-AM competition has grown into an annual staple that randomly pairs home brewers with commercial brewers to collaborate and brew a unique batch of beer. Those special beers will be available at this fest, and the annual winner will be announced.

Chili Cookoff

  • Sept. 30 – 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Sullivan Field

One Community West Michigan

  • Sept. 30 – Noon to 10 p.m.
  • Rosa Parks Circle
  • Kid’s Day and Concert

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