Quick tips for enjoying ArtPrize despite the crowd

ArtPrize season is upon us! The crowds have descended upon downtown Grand Rapids, as they always do – but that doesn’t have to keep you and your family away from the festivities. Knowing which venues to visit, and when to ArtPrize can make your visit a lot smoother, with less time waiting in lines.

We’ve had the chance to sneak preview several of this year’s top venues, and are already placing bets on which entries will make the top 20. We’re bringing your experience to you!

Here are a few tips for local West Michiganders who want to enjoy ArtPrize without too much fuss:

When to ArtPrize

Are you planning to take your entire family downtown GR to enjoy a day of fun, art and food? If a family excursion is what you’re looking for, you’ll want to avoid evening and nighttimes downtown, which is when all the nightlife and events tend to kick into gear. Morning and afternoon are more serene, and with the beautiful weather we’ve been having, they’re the perfect time for the family to enjoy the city.

Saturdays and Sundays are the worst days for crowds. If there’s no other day you can make it, be sure to start early in the morning – as early as you can, to beat the crowds and evening events. If at all possible, go during a weekday. Pull the kids out of school for a day, cash in a day of PTO – whatever you have to do. Enjoying ArtPrize with minimal crowds and lines is DEFINITELY worth it.

Most importantly: if you want to participate in voting, do your ArtPrizing before October 3rd. This is when the first round of voting closes, and the period of time when the top 20 finalists are chosen.

Plan your route strategically

It’s easy to see everything you want to see, and to enjoy your favorite food trucks or restaurants – if you plan your route. This will be largely dependent on where you decide to park. If you have friends who live within walking distance of downtown, park at their house or apartment! If not, find a ramp on the outskirts of downtown. Cherry Street and the Gallery parking ramps are in Heartside but close to the city center. There are many more ramps in the city center, but if you’re heading downtown during peak hours, these will likely be full.

It’s always possible that you might find street parking, but don’t count on it. Driving around ArtPrize crowds looking for street parking could take you all day.

Next, ask yourself: which venues do you want to see the most? Want to see the riverfront, public museum, and DeVos Place? You’ll likely want to trek across the Blue Bridge, walk north along the river, up to the public museum, then back over the footbridge behind DeVos Place, which will bring you right in line with Monroe Avenue and some of ArtPrize’s hottest venues. If you’re interested in exploring SiTE:LAB’s off-the-beaten-path Rumsey Street Project, you’ll want to plan that visit either first or last, as it’s outside of reasonable walking distance from city center.

It’s easy to create a looped path that allows you to see everything without backtracking, with just a little planning.

Voting, navigating, etc.

ArtPrize’s app has you covered here. Just download the app, and use the map view to help plan your route. You can register to vote through the app once you’re within ArtPrize’s boundaries.

Our favorite venues

No two venues in ArtPrize are alike – and there are many to explore!

This year, a few have already caught our attention:

  • Processing Fiber at 250 Monroe
  • Nature/Nurture at The Grand Rapids Art Museum
  • Western Michigan University
  • Calder Plaza

Also, don’t forget that ArtPrize’s HUB at 41 Sheldon will not only have all the ArtPrize info and swag you could want, but last year’s Public Vote and Juried Grand Prize winner Intersections, by Anila Quayyum Agha, is on display again here. If you didn’t see it last year, it’s well worth the visit.

Catch a few photos from these venues below.

Happy ArtPrizing!

Processing Fiber at 250 Monroe

2015-09-24 19.22.15 2015-09-24 19.17.51 2015-09-24 19.14.37

Western Michigan University

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Intersections at the HUB

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Nature/Nurture at Grand Rapids Art Museum2015-09-15 10.53.08 2015-09-15 10.50.56 2015-09-15 10.34.37 Scott Hoyle artprize2 Armando Ramos artprize Carlee Fernandez artprize

Classic Stereo joins the Bekins family!

At Bekins, we’ve been keeping a secret for many months. Over the past year, we’ve been quietly preparing to open a new Grand Rapids store, focusing exclusively on electronics, audio, video and integration. At last, the time has come for our big reveal:

Bekins is re-launching Classic Stereo! Beloved by West Michiganders throughout the 80’s, 90’s, and 00’s, Classic Stereo has long been known as Grand Rapids’ go-to retailer for awesome audio and video equipment, and for expert advice. Although Classic Stereo fell victim to the recession and closed its doors in 2008, the retailer’s name has lingered.

Today, we’re proud to announce that Classic Stereo is officially joining the Bekins retail family. As Michigan’s #1 Electronics Integrator (according to CEPro), we have the CEDIA-certified expertise and muscle to back the high caliber catalog of A/V equipment Classic Stereo has been known for. Several of the old Classic Stereo’s experts have joined the new Classic Stereo team as Electronics Experts, including John Higgs and Bill Price. The store will be located right next to our Grand Rapids Bekins showroom at 6275 28th Street SE.

Along with the great brands and expert advice Classic Stereo fans expect, our rebooted Classic Stereo will offer virtually limitless integration and installation capabilities. Thanks to recent innovations in the industry, the new Classic Stereo will also be a resource for hi-fi lovers to discover the new, cutting-edge world of hi-resolution audio.

Read our official press release below, and take a look at how our construction has progressed over the last several months. The store is slated to officially open its doors at the end of October.

Want to find out about key launch dates and events? Sign up for updates at classicstereo.us. From here, you can also request to schedule an on-site or in-home private consultation.

June 11th

Reception Area

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Audio Lab

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Theater Lab

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June 18th

Reception Area

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Audio Lab

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Theater Lab

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June 26th

Reception Area

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Audio Lab

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Theater Lab

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July 22nd

Reception Area
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Audio Lab

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Theater Lab

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August 17th

Reception Area

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Audio Lab

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Theater Lab

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September…coming soon!