Secret’s Out: 3 Usually Off-Limits ArtPrize Venues to Visit, Plus 2 Bonus Hidden Stops for 2023

The Morton ArtPRize

Have You Been to these ArtPrize Venues?

ArtPrize has taken over downtown Grand Rapids, letting you wander through amazing art installations for free.

Now, if you’re a seasoned ArtPrize-goer, you might think you’ve seen it all. You’ve obviously been to the Amway and you’ve gone to DeVos Hall. But, we think there are still places for you to discover.

To get started, use this list to find three places that aren’t usually open to the public, and two other spots that you just have to see.

_ArtPrize Oasis 2023  - VW
2023 ArtPrize Oasis

Venue #1: S I L V A

975 Ottawa Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Walk into a building full of history. S I L V A is a massive, 45,000-square-foot space that once housed the Berkey & Gay Furniture factory in the up-and-coming Monroe North neighborhood.

Today, you’ll find remnants of its old gym and even a swimming pool in the old brick building.

S I L V A Exterior
S I L V A Old Swimming Pool

Renovation plans call for Bocce ball courts, a lounge, and a restaurant with sliding garage-style doors. The venue is under transformation, aiming to open as a restaurant and event space in the summer of 2024.

For ArtPrize, if you love large-scale, interactive art, this is your place.

Expect large-scale, interactive pieces that make you part of the exhibit. And get ready for this: real-life Sumo matches. Oh yes, on an actual clay sumo surface, right here in Grand Rapids.

Some Art Here:

  • Layers: A Hands-On Experience of Line and Color: Dive right into this interactive masterpiece. Use your hands to manipulate the vibrant colored layers, creating hundreds of variations. S I L V A Layers
  • Memory Room 302: Go on a nostalgic journey back to your school days in this room. Who knows, you might even find yourself writing on the chalkboard. S I L V A - Memory Room - VW
  • Sumo: Witness real sumo matches on an authentic sumo surface right here in Grand Rapids, a unique experience you won’t want to miss.
  • Journey with Messengers: Get ready to traverse from disorder to harmony in this multi-sensory, immersive experience that uses poetry, art, and music to move you – literally. S I L V A ArtPrize - Journeys

Venue #2: The Morton

55 Ionia Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

This historic 13-story building sits at the corner of Ionia Avenue and Monroe Center. Once a pre-depression hotel, now it features commercial and residential spaces on its upper levels.

ArtPrize takes over the unfinished ground floor, using the historic ceiling as a backdrop for the art.

the morton artprize

Some Art Here:

  • Two Faced: This is not just another art piece. It’s a 63-foot loop of double-sided paintings that forms an 18-foot circle on the floor. You’re encouraged to meander around it, seeing each painting from two perspectives. THe Morton ArtPRize
  • A Few Paintings: One of three oil paintings, the artist states that they don’t necessarily form a series, but that their individuality makes each one stand out in its own right. THe Morton ArtPRize

Venue #3: ArtPrize ClubHouse

2 Fulton St W, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Situated in the former UICA building, this ArtPrize-operated space is host to several exhibits that incorporate advanced technology. There are also special displays here. Overall, the venue houses close to 20 artists’ exhibits.

RObots ArtPrize Clubhouse 2023

The ClubHouse is also home to the Education Counter. Swing by between 4 and 7 PM from Monday to Friday to dive into K-12 educational resources and activities. It’s a space that offers a hands-on supplement to the visual art surrounding you.

Some Art Here:

  • Augmented Reality 2023: A mural that springs to life when you scan its QR code. It invites you to step inside the artwork through animations and interactive games. ArtPrize Clubhouse 2023  - VW
  • Light in the Dark: This one is unique. It integrates traditional photography with AR and VR technologies and takes inspiration from an art show held during a missile attack in Kyiv, challenging you to use personal light sources to view the art.

Bonus Venue #1: The Atrium at Uccello’s Downtown

122 Monroe Center St NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

You’ll probably miss it if you’re not looking.

Hidden behind Uccello’s restaurant, this secret indoor courtyard will surprise you with its four-story skylight, exposed brick walls, and more than 20 ArtPrize entries.

The Atrium Ucellos - VW

Some Art Here:

  • Yellowstone National Park Tour: A collection of touchable, textured paintings that mimic natural pathways, beckoning you to trace them with your fingertips. The Atrium Yellowstone ArtPrize 2023
  • There’s Always A Billy Project: Seven large-scale portraits of famous musicians named “Billy” grace the wall in a modern pop-art format, complemented by an interactive sound box. The Atrium THere's always a Billy - VW

Bonus Venue #2: ArtPrize Oasis

555 Monroe NW, Grand Rapids, MI

If you want a place to recharge in the midst of art-hopping, this is your spot. Think of the ArtPrize Oasis as the ultimate city retreat that just happens to sit along the Grand River.

555 Monroe ArtPrize Oasis 2023

Once a bland parking lot, the city has turned it (temporarily) into a vivid, urban playground by adding landscaping and massive outdoor public artworks.

Artprize Oasis 2023

Now it’s a place where you can play lawn games on turf grass or picnic at the spunky oasis tables.

Plus the space is brimming with activities like family workshops, block parties, and yoga sessions. It really is an Oasis.

The city skyline serves as a backdrop, and if you look across the water, you’ll spot Fish Ladder Park.

Some Art Here:

  • “Evanescent” (Giant Bubbles): Enormous, translucent, inflatable bubbles that you can walk between and under are a photo magnet. Giant Bubbles ArtPrize 2023 - Cox
  • “Optik”: Imagine ten six-foot gyroscopes with a special kind of film in the middle. They change color with the daylight and light up from within as the sun sets. 555 Monroe Optik Artprize 2023

Are these venues new to you?

ArtPrize unlocks several unique opportunities. Are these spots new to you?

Let us know if there are other under-the-radar venues we should highlight!

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