t's exactly eight days until ArtPrize Eight begins, which means the artists are spending this week bringing their exhibits to downtown Grand Rapids and preparing for the competition.
One of the exhibits was put into place Monday afternoon, and if you're near Monroe Center, directly across the street from Rosa Parks Circle, you can't miss it.
It's a giant, colorful, wooden ball just sitting on the sidewalk in front of Kilwin's Chocolate & Ice Cream shop, located at 146 Monroe Center St. NW.
The exhibit is called "EMOH," which is the word "home" spelled backwards. The piece was created earlier this year by Cleveland-based artist, Loren Naji, who decided early on that this creation would become more than just art.
"I will live inside 'EMOH' on the streets of Grand Rapids for 30 straight days," Naji said. "I'm doing this to make a statement; homelessness is a big issue in our country because the system is backwards.
"There are all these boarded-up houses in the cities, while homeless people sleep on the streets. ... The boarded-up homes are just torn down and the remains are taken to landfills which hurts our environment.
"I hope to bring awareness to all these issues."
To covey his message, Naji will live, sleep and eat inside his own art for the duration of ArtPrize Eight. His official "move-in-date" is Wednesday, Sept. 14.
If 'EMOH' happens to win ArtPrize, Naji says he plans to donate $20,000 of his winnings to a charity for the homeless.