GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- It's ArtPrize time in Grand Rapids again.
The fourth annual art competition began at Noon Wednesday. This year, the competition features entries from 1,517 artists at 161 venues.
Participating artists come from 56 countries and 45 states. Their work is being displayed throughout a 3-square-mile area of downtown. Total prize money is $560,000. Some winners are picked by public voting, and other prizes are juried awards.
ArtPrize runs through Oct. 7. It's free and open to the public.
Wednesday afternoon, with crowds packing sidewalks, bridges, museums, and the waterfront. The city has seen an influx of visitors for several days leading up to ArtPrize, as artists put the final touches on their pieces.
ArtPrize organizers have implemented some changes this year. One is extending the amount of time for the public voting. Also, the public's top 25 list won't be released until five days from now, instead of from day one.
Also, juried, professional judges will rank art in five categories for the first time. At a Wednesday news conference, Daryn Kuipers, the Interim Executive Director of ArtPrize discussed that dynamic.
"We'll kind of have this populist vote/professional vote-- throw them out there live, 25 on each side at the same time, and we'll let the voters decide what they like and what they don't."
An artist displaying his work at the Gerald Ford Presidential Museum was pleased with the changes. "Especially for first round because you want to give people a chance to see everything, and really the second round voting you don't need a week to pick who you want to be that first place piece, so I think thats going to help," says Justin LaDoux of Alma.