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ArtPrize 2.0 kicks off this week with some changes and twists

GRPD says there will be increased police presence as well amid increase in criminal activity downtown

With ArtPrize set to begin this week in Grand Rapids, organizers and city officials are educating the public on what changes have been made this year.

Calling it ArtPrize 2.0 this year, the annual artist competition kicks off Thursday evening at Grand Rapids’ Ah-Nab-Awen Park, just west of the Blue Bridge and adjacent to the City Museum. Officials say the celebration will feature live music, food trucks and a fireworks—however, Grand Rapids Communications Director David Green says there has been one key change:

“Probably one of the biggest things that we want people to understand, especially come this week is the firework on Thursday is not going to be the same as the fireworks on the Fourth of July. So, all major roadways are going to remain open.”

Another addition to this year’s festivities: a new ArtPrize Oasis at 555 Monroe---where attendees can take part in yoga classes, meditation, art workshops, block parties, yard games or just a place to sit and relax.

With the recent increased criminal activity downtown, Grand Rapids Police Chief Eric Wistrom said Tuesday there will also be an increase in police presence.

“You will see us down there,” Winston said. “We don’t anticipate any issues whatsoever.”

Spread out across Grand Rapids, officials say this year, there are 950 artists competing for $400,000 in prize money awarded. The winner of the most public votes will receive $125,000.

The competition runs through October 1st.