During the next two weeks, residents and visitors alike can view more than 100 artistic creations from ArtWalk participants.
“We couldn’t be any happier with the direction we’re going," ArtWalk organizer Steve Loftis said, "and the larger conversation about art and artists in our community.”
ArtWalk kicked off Wednesday with a community picnic at the end of Washington Avenue near Waterfront Stadium. It featured food, live music and a community art piece for the public to paint.
“I just think the enthusiasm continues to grow for ArtWalk,” Loftis said. “Our partner, ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, has a lot to do with us being that alternative location destination for people that’ve enjoyed Grand Rapids and want that Lakeshore experience.”
ArtPrize also kicked off Wednesday.
The public is invited to vote for their favorite ArtWalk entry in a variety of categories. A ballot can be obtained at various venues in the downtown area.
“It’s fun to see this stuff,” Mayor Geri McCaleb said. “Art is like music — it’s appreciated by everybody.”
McCaleb said there are a lot of people in the community with good ideas, and having ArtWalk is a good way to showcase that talent. She also noted that it does a good job bringing people into the community.
Community events for this year's ArtWalk includes Family Art Day and a bike parade on Saturday, a block party in Centertown on Sept. 25, and a rock music show Sept. 27-28.
Voting ends at noon Oct. 2, with the winners announced the next day at the Fire Barn Gallery, 20 N. Fifth St.
One thing Loftis said he is most excited about this year is the increased participation by children and young adults.
“If you want to measure success over the past couple of years, it's the number of youth competitors that we’re beginning to see,” he said. “The library has exploded with youthful competitors, and that means so much to what we’re trying to do to bring the youth forward, out of their basements and from their classrooms, and get their works of art out there for everyone to enjoy.”
More than 100 artists from the area and across the country are participating.
“We’ve got some New York artists here,” Loftis said. “They’ll be in ArtWalk and in ArtPrize.”
Grand Haven artist Barb Carlson said ArtWalk provides her with an outlet for her work.
“This gives me a chance to get out in the community and showcase my stuff,” she said. “I wasn’t doing any shows or displays until ArtWalk started.”
Carlson noted that she’s painted her whole life, and works in a variety of mediums. She has a painting and a drawing entered in this year’s ArtWalk.
“It really is a lot of fun,” she said.
See all of the artists entered in ArtWalk: Download the RELATED FILE (PDF) below.