• ArtPrize for Kids 2017


ArtPrize runs SEPTEMBER 20 – OCTOBER 8, 2017

Use this list & map and of attractions to navigate ArtPrize with children!

ArtPrize is for all ages, and that includes kids! We love to take our children to this city-wide event – from babies in strollers to big kids full of curiosity, they all have a great time. ArtPrize is a great opportunity to bring your kids to one of the biggest art events in the world, but how do you decide where to go and what to see?

ArtPrize transforms Grand Rapids into a giant art show attracting thousands of people, but it’s not always easy to navigate this large and exciting event with kids in tow.

Use this guide to plan your visit and make the most of your time. We’ll tell you which venues to visit, where they are located, and which exhibits the kids will enjoy most. And to enhance their experience, we’ve also created two Scavenger Hunt printables for kids to use on your visit!


We’ve chosen a couple of routes that are easy to walk with children and easy to navigate with strollers, as well as venues that have art your kids will love. One route is geared toward the littler kids, while the second route will be enjoyed by older kids. Check out our suggestions below – choose your own modified path or visit them all.

Please note that the Women’s City Club is a little tight with strollers. Also, DeVos Hall has exhibits you may want to use caution with when visiting with children (these exhibits are not on our list, but are found at the venue.)

Either way we know you and your kids will love what ArtPrize Nine has to offer!

More info on experiencing ArtPrize with kids can be found in the official ArtPrize Nine Family Experience Guide.

Get a group of friends together and follow our route for the perfect playdate. Please bookmark and share. Thank you!

This article brought to you by Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

KIDS ART FEST!SEPT 24, 2017 from noon - 5 pm
Join the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum for an artful afternoon at Kids’ ArtFest: A Celebration of the Arts! Sunday, September 24, noon-5:00pm on Sheldon Ave and Library Street. Draw, sculpt, paint, and more as you explore a variety of art forms! Visit www.grcm.org for more info.




1. Barnes & Thornburg LLP / PNC Bank

171 Monroe Ave NW

  • My Favorite Thing – A wire sculpture of a boxer dog chasing a ball. At 56″ tall and sitting outside of PNC Bank, this exhibit is hard to miss.
  • TARDIS Shared Library – This big blue box is more than it appears to be. Look inside this TARDIS for a literary surprise!

2. Blue Bridge


  • Congratulations – “Congratulations!” is an interactive live action exhibit that celebrates YOUR accomplishments. Walk through and be celebrated!
  • Dancing Tigers – Two tigers – one in the glow of daylight, one under the stars – are featured on either side of a shipping container.

3.  Grand Rapids Public Museum

272 Pearl St NW

  • Lux Maximus – Made of glass and mixed metals, this 8-foot tall horse-like sculpture is something to behold.
  • Stone Thrones of PTown – Have a seat in these king and queen thrones made of stone. They really rock!
  • Mother Earth – At 12 feet tall, this woman made of steel sticks will tower over you.
  • Yoga Bunny – This oversized clay bunny is finding some zen! Join in with your favorite yoga pose.
  • Dandelion Patch – Two large-scale dandelions are connected by a berm, and the entire piece is lit from underneath, giving the installation life and glow.
  • Laborer – A large figure carries a box on his back. The box, full of small holes, opens up for viewers to enter a miniature planetarium. ArtPrize Public Museum 2017
  • Sugar Throw-Up – A large graffiti mural is made entirely of piped sugar. The piece will slowly erode over the course of ArtPrize and guests are encouraged to revisit the piece to watch it transition.

4.  Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

303 Pearl St NW

  • Farmed – Enjoy 2-dimensional animals and landscapes in this piece celebrating nature.
  • Gerald R Ford artPRizeMandala – Made from vintage photos folded into geometrical shapes, “Mandala” represents balance and wholeness.
  • 9/11 – 26′ long painting depicts the 9/11 attack and recovery.
  • Spirit of Freedom – This massive sculpture features wild horses made of colorful glass and metal.
  • Lightkeepers – A life-size man and his canine companion are cast in bronze, keeping watch over an unseen lighthouse.
  • Play for Peace – Found in the pond at the Ford Museum, this colorful merry-go-round really moves.
  • Carousel – This large, brightly-colored glass sculpture celebrates the thoughts and feelings of childhood.
  • Tango – Check out your reflection in this large-scale sculpture where the mirror-finished steel swoops and curves into the sky.
  • Loquacious and Lovely – These dual unicorns fun to look at and they would be fun to ride, too! 

5.  Ah-Nab-Awen Park

303 Pearl St NW

  • Land Chimes – Experience Ah-Nab-Awen Park in a whole new way! Grab a mallet and make music in a field of vertical chimes.

6.  Gillett Bridge

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  • WLCoWSVoWLT Superlative Circus Wagon Sideshow Extravaganza – The is the World’s Largest Collection of the World’s Smallest Versions of the World’s Largest Things – miniature versions of monuments and objects.

7. Lyon’s Square

296 Lyon St NW

  • Unlearn Fear + Hate – The words “Unlearn Fear + Hate” will be painted in 30 languages, inviting viewers to interact with them in a variety of ways.

8. DeVos Place Convention Center *

303 Monroe Ave NW

  • Joy Buddies – “Joy Buddies” is a life-sized metalwork sculpture of people designed to represent the connection of hearts and minds.
  • Blooming Litter – Plastic waste made to look like beautiful flowers, this large-scale piece addresses environmental concerns.
  • So Good – We can all relate to the subject of this painting who is enjoying a delicious treat straight from the spatula!
  • Domesticated Sculpture: A Place to Gather – These benches are not only a place to gather and rest, they are complex and interesting to look at.
  • Proud Parent – Giraffe – This sweet painting of two giraffes shows the love between a parent and child.
  • Forces of Nature – Avalanche – This massive painting of an avalanche in blue, green, and white is part of the Glaciers Melting Series.
  • Egg Prize – Don’t leave ArtPrize without a prize! This interactive machine gives each user a unique piece of art to keep.
  • Ahab’s Dream & Turnpike Cautionary – A large and colorful sculpture made of plywood and plastic, this piece has many interesting shapes and colors to catch your eye.
  • You Be You – Based on the book “Only One You,” this is a collection of rocks painted by students to look like fish. Each is unique and original, just like you!

9.  Michigan State University Grand Rapids Research Center

400 Monroe NW

  • Finding the Light – A colorful piece that represents Harley, a brave and resilient dog, these sculptures are perfectly kid-sized.
  • Synergy – Three curved cones intersect to make an impressive and large metal sculpture.


10. Calder Plaza / Vandenberg Center

300 Monroe NW

  • Everything is Happening Right Here – This installation of aluminum scaffolding will tower over you while delivering its brightly-lit message.
  • Surreality – “Surreality,” a mural on the side of a shipping container, is a brightly colored mural full of energy and wonder.

11.  Grand Rapids Art Museum

101 Monroe Center

  • Enmesh – Over two miles of wire twisted into thousands of faces and hands to fill up a room.
  • Rainbow Generator – A machine spins rapidly to create the illusion of a circular rainbow.
  • The Language is Asleep – You might catch Poetry Fox at work when you visit this installation, but either way you can walk away with a poem. Caution: language.
  • Midtown Flutter – Video projected onto a large wall filled with protruding panels draws the visitor into daily life in Manhattan.

12.  Grand Rapids African American Museum

87 Monroe Center

  • Akwaaba! – Akwaaba means welcome in the African Akan language, and you are welcome to celebrate during this live performance of song, dance, and drumming.

13. Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

11 Sheldon Ave NE

  • Monsters Go – This exhibit features over 100 professionally illustrated interpretations of children’s drawings of monsters. And the artist will continue rendering new pieces throughout the event!
  • Birds of a Feather – These giant birds are made from reclaimed materials.
  • IMAJENation Hoop Revivial – A live performance art piece uses movement, math, science, and a hula hoop to create fun with splatter paint.

14.  Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA)

2 Fulton St W

    • Canceled Edition – Hundreds of hand-carved birds help demonstrate the influence of people on animals. Visitors are encouraged to take a bird with them.
    • Quench – Screens from deconstructed devices are folded to reflect light and ask us to reflect on our reliance on technology.
    • C H C K N – Watch a video of a woman eating glitter-covered chicken and watch the conversations unfold around you.

15.  Women’s City Club

254 Fulton St E

  • Splash – Oil paintings of water, sand, and sky will have you wishing you were back at the beach!
  • Windows Into Another World – Nine portholes frame photographs that show us an underwater world.
  • We See You – Three pastel paintings feature three often overlooked creatures: frogs, lizards, and alligators.
  • Circle Painting – Eighty-six students contributed to this bold and colorful abstract painting.
  • Little Owl – Two wise eyes stare out at you in this closeup woodcut of an owl.
  • Primary – The three primary colors play together in this large-scale trio of modern paintings.
  • By Popular Demand – Twelve shadow boxes feature playful cats and dogs made with found objects.

16. First (Park) Congregational Church

10 E Park Place NE

  • Tree of Life – Tree branches and arms reach out to the viewer and hold butterflies that light up.
  • Connection – This beautiful hand-crafted walnut picnic table is meant to be admired and used to gather with loved ones.
  • van Gogh Van – A 1991 Ford camper van is remade to resemble van Gogh’s famous “The Starry Night” painting.
  • Time Marches On – Ten eclectic clocks made from collected parts like tea kettles and telephones keep track as time marches on.

17.  Kendall College of Art and Design

17 Pearl St NW

  • Two-Way Protocols – Two large, suspended cubes made of two-way glass allow visitors to enter and view their reflection while others view them.

* Venues with this asterisk may include pieces around which some guests with children may wish to exercise caution.

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By | 2017-09-20T14:05:31+00:00 September 20th, 2017|Categories: ArtPrize, City of GR, Guides, THINGS TO DO|7 Comments

About the Author:

Melody V
INFJ. Mom of three. Idea chaser. People believer. Inspiration seeker. Together, we make this city amazing. Let's go!


  1. Suzanne September 24, 2017 at 10:19 am - Reply

    If you want to stay away from the crowds A great place to visit this year is Peppinos Pizzeria behind Van Andel. .They have a family friendly atmosphere and the art works are larger than life including a colorful insect display and Michigan,Michigan state football field with minions. Across the street is Western Michigan univ and they have several unique pieces including a tapestry rug created with sand. Also there is an all day $5 parking lot nearby I think its Area 4.

  2. Mandy September 22, 2017 at 9:21 pm - Reply

    Thank you so much for this map and information! Unfortunately, the streets are such a light gray, they don’t show up with my black & white printer. Bummer.

    • Mandy September 22, 2017 at 9:25 pm - Reply

      I’m also not sure which is the “stroller friendly” route and which is the “bigger kid” route. It only says “Route One” and “Route Two.”

  3. Britt September 20, 2017 at 2:03 pm - Reply

    Don’t forget to check out “Dream Big” in the lobby of the Courtyard Marriott! There are a couple steps to get up to the dream catcher to add your own feather/dream to it, but it’s also entirely visibly to enjoy from the main door with no steps or barriers in the way!

  4. Melanie September 15, 2017 at 9:20 am - Reply

    Thank you for the warning about DeVos. It’s one of the places we usually all go because there’s a lot of entries. Sometimes I get to go walk around ArtPrize without the kids first, but sometimes I don’t. I appreciate the tip so we can plan a kid-friendly route!

  5. Robin September 12, 2017 at 10:16 am - Reply

    Will there be a map available with these location, similar to last year? We used it for our 4th grade field trip and love it! Thank you:)

    • Melody V
      Melody V September 13, 2017 at 9:00 am - Reply

      Yes, the map and Art List is now available to print. Enjoy!!

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