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ArtPrize 2011 kicks off in Grand Rapids

More than 2,400 people have already started checking out ArtPrize. The art contest began in Grand Rapids Wednesday afternoon. 1,582 artists are competing to win a $250,000 top prize.

Even before ArtPrize opened, thousands of people had already preregistered to vote in the contest. Those who vote determine the winner.

“There’s a lot of people milling about,” Ada resident Julie Jendler said. Jendler and three of her friends and neighbors were out Wednesday morning. They’re wearing tennis shoes and carrying ArtPrize tote bags. They’ve made it a tradition to come out on opening day. Sue Ford laughs and tells me it’s “mom’s preview day”.

“It’s hard to see it all, but I’ll come at least 6 or 7 days because I’ve got people that are coming that want to see it and I’ll show them the highlights.”

Ford has a relative coming in from New York. Jendler is hosting friends from Detroit.

“I think people are surprised to find how nice Grand Rapids is once they get here. It seems such a long way to get to from Detroit but once you’re here its like ‘I didn’t realize how nice Grand Rapids was.”

ArtPrize is free. Voting is free. Voters must actually be in Grand Rapids to register. It all ends October 9th.

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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