Joe Simon is an ArtPrize visitor and volunteer, reflecting on his unique experience during the first year of ArtPrize in 2009.
When the first ArtPrize event was announced, I had friends telling me to join in. Some of them even offered to put up the entry fee for me. I did not join the first year, but I participated in a very fun way.
The three days prior to ArtPrize opening, my brother Ron and I wandered around the downtown area helping random Artists who were in a state of near panic as the deadline loomed near. We met so many smiling people who were glad to get a helping hand and we got to touch and be part of so many artistic projects.
This was a definite "behind the curtain" kind of experience. After the start of the first "show" this new ArtPrize adventure became even better, with the unrestricted access to so many venues and up close conversations with so much talent. I was definitely hooked on the ArtPrize adventure.
Since that time I have been an Artist for seven of the ten events and a volunteer for three of those years (this year will be number 4). The experience always gives back a return that is greater than the investment. My hat is off to all of the Artists, Sponsors, and Volunteers that make it all come together.
Who would have thought that this crazy idea would get such momentum?
Photo: Crowd gathered in downtown Grand Rapids during the inaugural event in 2009. Photo by Brian Kelly.