HCA ArtPrize Fieldtrip

On Monday the Harrison Center staff and a couple of our artists woke up early and met at the City Gallery. After piling in to our rented Chrysler Town and Country we hit the unlit U.S. 31 and we were Grand Rapids bound on our way to ArtPrize 2014. ArtPrize is the world’s largest art competition weighing in with 1,536 entries shown at 174 venues across 3 square miles with $560,000 in total prizes in the beautiful city of Grand Rapids, Michigan. File created with CoreGraphics


File created with CoreGraphics

As the sun started to rise off to the east its light hit us, as Joanna Taft put it, “like a nuclear explosion.” It was so glorious in fact that it made getting up before six o’clock more than worth it, and that’s not all! Due to the vaporous air on this damp Monday morning, the nuclear explosion of a sunrise created to the west what I can only describe as the most intense full rainbow I had ever seen in my life. What a morning.






After passing through the gauntlet of natural wonder, we made good time and arrived in Grand Rapids about thirty minutes before noon. After parking and meeting up with some old Indianapolis friends, we grabbed a bite for lunch at a local sandwich shop and embarked on a daylong artistic journey.


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We first took a few minutes to admire the colorful pillars of “Prime Commonality” by HCA’s own Quincy Owens and his collaborator Luke Crawley. After we had soaked in the domestic goodness of Owens and Crawley, we gathered our bearings and made our way over to the Grand Rapids Art Museum to see their particular show “[Dis]comfort Zones.” Among the notable permanent pieces of the museum by artists like Renoir and Picasso were some truly stunning pieces by ArtPrize contestants. We saw an installation by Herron School of Art professor Anila Agha called Intersections. We also had the chance to view numerous other pieces, spanning across multiple mediums, intended to explore the powerful ways artists take risks and push boundaries.





Moving to the next ArtPrize hotspot, we stopped on the “Blue Bridge” that provided us passage across the Grand River. In the water below, we spotted what I can only describe as the strangest self-portrait I have seen to date. Two mannequins of eerily realistic men in bunny suits stared at each other as they bathed, almost completely stationary, in the river. Once we crossed the bridge we ended up in the Gerald Ford Museum where we saw a giant angel sculpture and some incredibly intricate glasswork.


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We saw many more pieces throughout our day at ArtPrize, far too many to be adequately described in this post. Suffice it to say, I’ve never seen so much artwork in such a short amount of time. ArtPrize is truly a wonder. After we had voted for our favorite pieces on the ArtPrize app, we made our way back to the van and out of the city… after we took a gander at Kyle Ragsdale’s ArtPrize entry, of course.




Our day ended with an honest to goodness autumnal feast at Crane’s Pie Pantry in Fennville, Michigan. Once filled with our hearty favorites (and plenty of delicious pie) we headed back to Indy.






ArtPrize was an incredibly beautiful and enlightening experience that I would highly recommend. If you have a few too many vacation days and are feeling the itch for a holiday, or if your looking for a destination for an adventurous daytrip, take a trip up north and enjoy a city that truly loves the arts.

ArtPrize will continue through October 12.