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ArtPrize 2013 kicks off in Grand Rapids
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - With more than 1,500 exhibits from 50 countries, ArtPrize 2013 kicked off Wednesday in downtown Grand Rapids.
The winner of the the event, which runs for 19 days, is decided by a public vote. A jury of experts will also pick a winner this year.
The event is in its fifth year now and people we've talked with in Grand Rapids say it only gets better every year.
You'll find exhibits like California's Silkwaves in the Grand, all over the city for the next nearly 3 weeks.
For artists Al and Laurie Roberts, coming from California to Grand Rapids was a no-brainer.
"Where can you go anywhere that has 3 square miles of total art for almost 20 days?" Al asked.
From a giant row of toy ducks to a Sasquatch family, you never quite know whats around the corner at ArtPrize.
"We saw the giant fishing which my twin boys loved; the kids love all the things that they can touch and feel," said Kathryn Kendall Pekrul, who lives in Grand Rapids.
"It's beautiful, it's always something exciting, something new to find," said Melody Vanderweide, another Grand Rapids resident.
Last year's attendance reached 400,000 people over the 19 day period, but this year, organizers hope to top half a million.
"19 to 20 thousand people a day--that tops any other art event in the entire world and its happening right here in Grand Rapids, Michigan, said Director of Communications Todd Herring.
And with most of the exhibits ready to go, crowds are excited to begin the voting.
"So we've set it up in such a way that we're not just hoping that there's an audience, we're dependentliterally dependent on the audience and the audience's participation, said Kevin Buist, the Director of Exhibitions with ArtPrize.
With more than 1,500 entries at almost 170 venues, it will likely be hard to choose a favorite.
But no matter which piece gets the most votes, its clear Grand Rapids is the winner.