ArtPrize race connects students with alumni artists


Photo Credit Jerry Grieser

Last Friday evening, beginning at 6:30p.m., over 200 Calvin students gathered in a local church parking lot to commence the very successful ArtPrize Race. Revamped this year, the ArtPrize Race incorporated the annual public attraction of ArtPrize as well as a Calvin sponsored occasion. When interviewed, Jerry Grieser, a member of the Knights 4 Life (K4L) programming team, expressed his enthusiasm over the event.

“We were very happy with the turnout. We are looking to pull on the little nuances within the Calvin community to bring students to our events” said Grieser as he referenced the free Taqueria San Jose tacos that were present.

Grieser went on to explain the coordination behind the event.The two prominent student organizations worked to find a successful replacement to the late “Celebration on the Grand.” Increasingly, organizations are collaborating in order to combine events with the intention to raise student participation. K4L and NiteLife explained that the goal of the event was not only to connect students to artist alumni, but also to familiarize underclassmen with the city of Grand Rapids.

Beginning on Division Avenue and wrapping alongside the river, participants were required to find eight pieces. The first place winners  received $250 and the second place winners won various posters from ArtPrize’s 2015 collection. The winning team completed the event in only 17 minutes and the second team in 23.

Undoubtedly, the cash prize for the first place winner was a great incentive to go to the event. One attendee explained that he was going to see ArtPrize inevitably, so he might as well try for a few hundred dollars while he was at it. Andrew Kollen, who participated in the race, expressed that “it was fun to work as a team and navigate through Grand Rapids, a city that [we] love and have come to call home over the past four years.”

Not all who attended the event were feeling competitive, Grieser explained. Many students enjoyed the downtown at their own pace, stopping for coffee at MadCap or snapping photos of the food trucks at Rosa Parks.

The ArtPrize Race left NiteLife, K4L and the student body feeling enthusiastic and positive about this year’s event planning success. K4L said, “We want to be really strategic about how we do events.” The ArtPrize Race was a hit and NiteLife is already considering the event for next year, according to Laura Steele, event coordinator.