KENT COUNTY, Mich. — ArtPrize 2.0 officially gets underway Thursday, which means many people are working round the clock to get everything ready. That includes the folks at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, which is hosting more than two dozen artists over the next couple weeks.
“We here at the museum are one of the original venues for ArtPrize, so we're very excited to have ArtPrize again here in 2023,” said Joel Westphal, Deputy Director of Ford Presidential Library and Museum. “Prepping for ArtPrize for us starts actually beginning in March and then goes all the way through April. We have a special committee that gets together to make the selections for the art when artists start submitting their work. And then of course that eventually cascades down into working with the artists themselves, helping them get prepped up, whether they're coming here to install their own work or we help them a little bit install some of their work as well. It's a major work effort.”
This year, he said, brought a unique challenge for the folks at the museum because of the timing of ArtPrize overlapping with the new exhibit “A Heartbeat Away.” But, Westphal said, they were able to find a workaround.
“The one little problem — we have a huge, giant vice president exhibit because of the 50th anniversary of Gerald Ford becoming the vice president,” he said. “We are only having art outside this year, and we're having a very large outside art presence.”
Westphal said ArtPrize attendees will be able to able to enjoy art installations in the fountain area, the plaza and the lobby of the museum.
“The submissions this year far exceeded the submissions that we got from the previous year,” he said. “We have almost double or almost triple the amount of outdoor art this year than we did last year.”
The opening celebration for ArtPrize 2.0 is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Thursday at Ah-Nab-Awen Park. More than $400,000 in prize money will be awarded to the winners this year. For more on ArtPrize 2.0, click here.
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