Good changes this year, and room for improvement

There’s some changes I appreciated this year, and I’m going to blog about them here very soon.

1. ArtBus Shuttle: two routes and more stops, not limited almost exclusively to exhibition centers. Feels like it’s getting you where you want to go faster and closer. They also partnered with Hope Network to provide accessible transportation for those with wheelchairs and walkers – still requires a shuttle pass – ask a wayfinder for a card with the number to call.

Room for improvement:

-Shuttle drivers are requesting wayfinders on board – seems like a good idea, questions get asked on them.

-Clarity on using the Alpine bus route to see some art that way – it’s a good option if planning around the schedule. There’s already dots on the map for ArtBus stops, I’d add dots for other route stops, at least those near venues.

-Dash information – a free way to hop around town.

-Maybe a north shuttle which covers some more venues up there, making the other shuttles south-east (blue) and south-west/central (pink). I’d suggest the third route cover north Monroe and Front street.

2. Neighborhood Top 25: showcased pieces in less-visited neighborhoods…

Room for improvement:

-…but such neighborhoods still didn’t seem to get much exposure. I think each neighborhood should be represented in the second round of voting, so elsewhere I described a representative pool, where each neighborhood would have a number of their top 25 corresponding to their total number of pieces move on to the pool, from which the top ten would be chosen during the second week, still ending with the second week.


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A few places to visit

A few gems off the beaten path, though I’ve seen things tweeted about most of these as well:

The Spot at 29 Pearl. Well curated, some beautiful pieces, and a good number of them.

Peaches Bed and Breakfast on Gay just off Fulton, not far from College. 29 pieces, if I remember correctly… or maybe 19. Some pieces I liked well, some “eh” to me, but you’re likely to find something you like. Should be able to find on-street parking free close by.

Kent Republican Party Headquarters on Lake Michigan Drive. Also well curated, I really enjoyed most of the pieces here, and the musical piece, which plays over a speaker, really adds to the experience. Possibly my favorite venue – and don’t worry about being approached for the party, a representative is there but won’t engage you in conversation without your initiative. Free parking lot.

City Art Gallery just off Leonard on the bit of Ionia that resumes there. Many pieces, some of which I’ve heard others say were their favorites. My favorites aren’t there, but I did appreciate a lot of the works. Free parking in area.

Monroe Community Church on Monroe just north of the 6th Street bridge. Another well-curated spot worth the stop. Some lovely pieces, free parking in attached lot or across the street.

Mercantile Bank on Fulton just east of Ionia, sign on the building reads “ArtPrize Venue”. The lights are mostly off in here, with the pieces using light to their advantage. Some lovely use of light. About ten pieces.

Open Concept Art Gallery hiding in the top of a building bordered by Fulton on the south and Ionia on the east. Some really good art… and some that seems to be simply trying to illicit reactions with the use of full male and top female nudity. If you don’t mind that it’s worth visiting.

Fountain Street Church, on Fountain street of course, just east of Division across from the GRCC campus. Quite a few pieces, all of which seemed to be aiming to be thought-provoking. I liked some of it, some of it I thought was weird, but that’s “in the eye of the beholder”.

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I’ve been talking about what I’d like to see being blogged about ArtPrize, things to help people see more pieces – so I decided I may as well start one since I consider myself to know a lot about the event. I don’t know what other blogs may exist, am am not currently inclined to search them out as my Internet access is limited to this iPhone I’m typing this on. I hope that will change tonight, as I’ve been trying to get home service since moving a month ago. Then I’ll try to blog different things than what is already being blogged.

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Optimizing ArtPrize

Optimizing ArtPrize – copied from a note on my Facebook written a couple days ago. Spreading this idea to anyone who will listen!

Voting and “liking” system – limitless “likes” available for casting online with discussion areas for each piece – continues through entire event. Similar to Facebook pages.
Only 10 votes per person during the first week, changeable until initial voting ends – so people must choose only what they think should be in the top ten.

Top ten not chosen after first week – rather a pool to be explained below. The top ten would be announced in order at the end of two weeks with no voting afterwards.

The pool would consist of a representative amount of artists from each neighborhood – such as if Center City has 600, Westside 400, and Heartside 200, the top 6, 4, and 2, from each neighborhood respectfully, would make it into the pool.

This system would include all neighborhoods. It would also cut down on votes cast for highly-likable pieces – such pieces invite voters to throw votes their way even though the voter may not feel the piece is actually worthy of the top ten. Instead, voters could cast “likes” for such pieces while saving votes for what they really believe merits awards. This may also generate further discussion and thought as people consider why they would choose a “like” or a vote for a piece.

Also, optimize viewer time by creating map symbols indicating when some or all pieces at a venue are viewable outside – maybe a moon and half moon. This way people can better plan their time and visit outdoor exhibits during off-hours. It would also cut confusion as to where to look for art at venues.

Personally, I also feel it would be appropriate to require venues to allow photography of the ArtPrize pieces – not allowing this cheats both the viewer and artist from social promotion.


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