The world’s most attended art event takes place all over downtown Grand Rapids every fall – and kids love it! Don’t miss out on ArtPrize happening September 14th – October 1st.

With 650 works of art spread over three square miles, ArtPrize is basically a big scavenger hunt to find pieces that speak to you. Kids tend to gravitate to the biggest, most colorful and whimsical pieces, but ArtPrize is also a great opportunity to expose them to a wide range of creative expression – from paintings and sculpture to music and performance art.

One of the coolest things about ArtPrize is that visitor votes determine the winners of $200,000 in prize money. You have to be at least 13 years of age to vote but you can certainly ask your younger kids’ opinions before you cast your smartphone ballot. Get them started on the road to art appreciation by asking them why they like or dislike the things they’ve seen and how the art makes them feel. You’ll also want to keep your smartphone handy for the endless photo ops of your kids with art.

Much of the art on display is outdoors and easily accessible by strollers. Free, stroller-friendly DASH buses circulate throughout the ArtPrize area to save time and conserve your family’s energy. When it’s time for a break, head to the ArtPrize Oasis, an outdoor riverfront space featuring relaxing seating, awesome art installations and yard games. Refuel with a snack or meal at any of 140+ downtown restaurants, many of which host ArtPrize entries. Or visit the weekend of Sept. 15-17 for the Art of Food Festival and enjoy delicious selections from 30+ of the area’s best food trucks.

Beyond Art Prize

Some of downtown’s kid-friendly museums are also ArtPrize venues. Come for the art, stay to explore the fascinating exhibits at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, Grand Rapids Public Museum and Grand Rapids African Museum & Archives. The Children’s Museum opens a new exhibit, Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum, based on the popular PBS KIDS series, on Sept. 16.

Downtown is also the site of the Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live Glow Party Sept. 15 & 16, and Brickworld Grand Rapids, featuring amazing LEGO displays and interactive play stations, from Sept. 22-24. The Broadway musical Funny Girl, appropriate for ages 10 and up, comes to town from Sept. 19-24. Disney’s Encanto: The Sing Along Film Concert, suitable for all ages, will be presented Sept. 25.

Save the date

ArtPrize kicks off the evening of Sept. 14 with a family-friendly party in downtown’s Ah-Nab-Awen Park, on the banks of the Grand River. The event will feature games, art installations, food trucks and a performance of Squonk’s Brouhaha, an immersive outdoor spectacle burstingwith rollicking music, dazzling imagery and the thrill of audience participation. The evening closes with a sensational fireworks show over the river.It’s just the start of 18 days of fun for the whole family – plan your visit now

Photo credit: Facebook