ArtPrize Reader Picks for Families
ArtPrize 8 has taken over downtown Grand Rapids!
Below you’ll find everything from dragons to mermaids and music to puppet shows. ArtPrize has it all and if you only have time to visit a handful of exhibits, our readers suggest that these exhibits are the ones your family prioritizes.
If you have time for more check out our ArtPrize Stroller Guide or ArtPrize Field Trip Guide, both of which include maps to help you find art your family will love. And we’ve got a couple of interactive ideas in Two Places Kids Can Make Art at ArtPrize.
ArtPrize Favorites for Families
We polled our readers to find family favorites for this year’s installation of great art, and here are their top picks!
Imagination of a Farm Boy
Venue: Peaches Bed & Breakfast, 29 Gay SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Description: Mechanical fire-breathing dragon.
Why this is great for kids: Kids can see a dragon breathe fire. Artist will also use the dragon’s belly (which doubles as a forge) to create hot forgings.
Venue: Homewood Suites, 161 Ottawa NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Description: Giant soldiers made entirely of chairs and chair parts. The soldiers of “Victory” stand 16-20 feet tall.
Why this is great for kids: Stand in awe of the giant soldiers made from chairs. Try to identify different parts of chairs used in the sculptures.
RELATED: Insider ArtPrize Tips For Families
Artie the Needle Felting Dragon
Venue: Inspirations of Art Studio 801 Monroe Ave NW Suite 01
Description: An enchanted, interactive, felted forest.
Why this is great for kids: There is an Eye Spy sheet to help kids spot all there is to see in this installation. Dragons, and fairies, and gnomes, oh my! It is a fantasy jungle where Artie the Dragon lives with his family and friends.
Most of the installation was made by needle felting wool and other animal fibers into sculptures with a felting needle. Artie will explain everything in his new children’s book, Artie the Needle Felting Dragon. Kids can sit on boulders while looking at the 360 display. There will be select felted items they will be able to touch.
Venue: Monroe Community Church, 800 Monroe Ave NW, # 140, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Description: Fiendishly clever, complex wooden marble run powered by a desktop printer motor.
Why this is great for kids: Kids love watching marble runs and watching the inner-workings of a machine, and this art piece offers both.
Portraits of Light and Shadow
Venue: DeVos Place, 303 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Description: Wooden pixel portraits of famous people created from shadows.
Why this is great for kids: One display allows kids to turn the light on and off and see the difference in the portrait when shadows are absent. Getting up close to the portraits also allows kids to see how they are constructed.
A Weed Grew In Our Garden
Venue: Central Reformed Church, 10 College Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Description: A children’s book brought to life with ten 3 x 3 foot shadow boxes. Plus an interactive shadow box where you can make your own story.
Why this is great for kids: Hands on activities throughout the venue and special storytimes on Saturdays and Sundays at 12 PM and 2 PM.
Wounded Warrior Dogs
Venue: Amway Grand Hotel, 187 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Description: Exhibition of wooden dog sculptures symbolic of the sacrifice these dogs make in battle, as do their human companions.
Why this is great for kids: Kids naturally connect with animals. This is a unique way to help them understand the sacrifice that veterans, and their service animals, make for our country.
Finnish Forest Frequencies – sound installation
Venue: The city water building, 1101 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49505
Description: Sounds recorded in Finnish Forests are placed inside of tree trunks, etc.
Why this is great for kids: They get to hug the tree branches and listen the recorded sounds inside.
You May Also Like: Academy of Music is Grand Rapids’ Top Music School. Find out Why!
Venue: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum (Ah-Nab-Awen Park), 303 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Description: Giant multicolored inflatable structure.
Why this is great for kids: Kids love running among the “legs” of the structure and looking up into the “belly”. Looking up felt as though looking at the underside of a gigantic elephant.
Lady of the Lake
Venue: (near the street) at Gerald R Ford Federal Building 110 Michigan Street NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Description: A 6 foot long mermaid
Why this is great for kids: It’s a mermaid!
Various Musical Artists on the Blue Bridge
Venue: On The Blue Bridge
Description: Various artists perform instrumentally, vocally, and/or dramatically.
Why this is great for kids: Kids love the opportunity to dance and hop around to the music on the blue bridge. Some of the artists introduce dramatic elements that fascinate the kids.
Venue: TowerPinkster, 4 Fulton St E #200, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Description: Oil painting sculpture tableau with a living statue
Why this is great for kids: Whole families are delighted and surprised with intrigue and laughter by this display.
Venue: Grand Rapids Children’s Museum (and all over Grand Rapids), 11 Sheldon Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Description: Six kids and their dad decorated 1000 rocks with wild and wacky faces. Half are collected at the Children’s Museum. The rest are hidden around downtown Grand Rapids in a massive I-Spy game.
Why this is great for kids: Kids will compete to see who can find the most hidden rocks around Grand Rapids and hopefully feel inspired to go home and paint their own wonderfully wacky rocks to hide around the neighborhood.
That’ll Cut It
Venue: Grand Rapids Public Museum, 272 Pearl St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504
Description: Giant pair of moveable scissors.
Why this is great for kids: Patrons are encouraged to touch and move the scissors. Kids love moving scissors bigger than themselves (and so do adults!).
RELATED: Grand Rapids Family Arts Guide
The Spinach Dip Pancake Show (with Kevin Kammeraad)
Venue: Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, 11 Sheldon Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Description: Musical puppet show for people of all ages. Shows are on the sidewalk at 6:30 PM on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Why this is great for kids: If you’ve ever been to one of Kevin Kammeraad’s shows, you know how fun and funny they are. This show is inventive, inspiring, and fun!
Restoring The Art of Breastfeeding
Venue: Fifth Third Bank/Warner Norcross & Judd LLP, 111 Lyon NWGrand Rapids, MI 49503
Description: Interactive artwork of mothers feeding their babies that provides a feeding/changing station as part of the installation.
Why this is great for kids: Feeding and changing station. Conversation starter.
The Soul of Fall
Venue: First (Park) Congregational Church, 10 E Park Pl NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Description: Artistic depiction of trees in the fall made out of shoes.
Why this is great for kids: Kids will love the unconventional way this artwork is made and finding out that anything, even old shoes can be turned into something beautiful.
Pin this image for future reference!