Crossed Lines

Photo Credit: Bryan Esler Photo
This essay is from the Project 1 by ArtPrize catalog.

By Kevin Buist
Artistic Director of ArtPrize

“There are parts where even individual trees are crosshatched, where Ul Qoman children and Besz children clamber past each other, each obeying their parents’ whispered strictures to unsee the other.” — China Miéville, The City & the City [1]

China Miéville’s 2009 science fiction novel The City & the City is murder mystery set in the fictional Eastern European cities of Besźel and Ul Qoma. Unlike Cold War East and West Berlin, Besźel and Ul Qoma are not divided by a wall. Instead, the two cities occupy the same physical space, overlapping and sharing town squares, buildings, and roads. The “border” between the cities is strict. Citizens of each city are trained to “unsee” the other city and all its inhabitants and activities, and can only “enter” the other city through an onerous bureaucratic process. Project 1 artist Olalekan Jeyifous cites Miéville’s The City & the City as an influential text, drawing parallels between the double-occupied space of Besźel and Ul Qoma to his gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood, where new and old residents rarely interact. [2]

The City & the City nearly shares a title with another book influential to the development of Project 1: Crossed Lines, Todd Robinson’s A City Within a City: The Black Freedom Struggle in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Robinson’s carefully researched recounting of the hardships of the Grand Rapids Black community in the 20th century recounts familiar themes from the national struggle for civil rights and shows what made the Grand Rapids story unique even among other Northern industrial cities. Robinson identifies a tendency in Grand Rapids toward “managerial racism,” which was born out of an idea championed by pro-business reformers who dominated city politics after World War II. The city’s white leaders reasoned that the welfare of Grand Rapids would be best served generally if the specific needs of business were taken care of first, often at the expense of communities of color. [3] This largely passive approach still led to entrenched disadvantages for the Black community, even without the more explicit discrimination common in the Jim Crow South. Taken together, The City & the City and A City Within a City are overlapping narratives about how discrimination and alienation are built into the social and physical realities of cities. The lines that divide us can be hard to see—sometimes we even work hard to unsee them—but art creates conditions where those lines are seen, challenged, and crossed.

Bryan Esler Photo

Project 1: Crossed Lines is the next evolution of ArtPrize. After ten years of citywide art exhibitions in Grand Rapids—defined by large cash prizes determined by public vote and expert jury, global open calls for artists, invitations for any space in the city to become a gallery, and an eclectic variety of art—we decided to try something new. In the summer of 2018, a few months before the tenth annual ArtPrize, we announced that the competition would shift to a biennial format to allow for a new type of exhibition in the fall of 2019.

The first in a new series of exhibitions set to alternate between ArtPrize competitions, Project 1 is in many ways a deliberate reversal of the qualities that have come to define ArtPrize. While ArtPrize employs a broad open call to artists, welcoming somewhere between 1,200 and 1,700 per year, Project 1 focuses on just five carefully selected artists and collaborative teams.

The venues hosting ArtPrize installations are, similar to its artists, the result of an open call, where any space from museum to laundromat can collaborate with artists to display their work. The installation locations for Project 1, on the other hand, were carefully selected by the ArtPrize team, community members, and the artists themselves. While ArtPrize venues select the artwork in their spaces, the show overall is famously not curated, resulting in a dizzying array of media, creative approaches, and (yes) even a broad range of artistic skill. Project 1 is curated. In my newly created role as Artistic Director, I had the privilege of working closely with a team of curatorial advisors to identify artists and refine the themes of the exhibition.

There is also a shift from the ArtPrize model in how Project 1 artists are paid. ArtPrize is animated by the creative efforts and public interest generated by large cash prizes and the unorthodox way those cash awards are given out. Project 1, in contrast to the competition of ArtPrize, employs a commission model. The resources that would fund prizes are instead given to artists upfront and throughout the production process, in order to enable public art projects to be created at a scale and level of complexity that are rarely possible in the competition format.

The most important evolution from ArtPrize to Project 1, however, is the way this new format allows us to organize the exhibition and its supporting programming around a particular set of thematic ideas. The theme for Project 1 is “Crossed Lines.”

“THE EXHIBITION IS ABOUT SEEING, UNDERSTANDING, AND CHALLENGING THE VISIBLE AND INVISIBLE LINES THAT DIVIDE A CITY, AND THE WAY THESE LINES CONTRIBUTE TO OR DETRACT FROM OUR SENSE OF BELONGING.”

Some of these lines are clear: neighborhoods, wards, roads, and rivers. Other lines are harder to see: the legacy of redlining and other discriminatory housing practices; the way perceptions of safety map onto city space; the limitations imposed by the built environment on persons with disabilities; the shifting implicit borders that come with cycles of urban decay, development, and gentrification; and more. The artists in Project 1: Crossed Lines were selected because their past work already dealt with these issues. Our engagement with them for this exhibition began with conversations that helped refine and even shift what the concept of Crossed Lines ultimately became.

This new rhythm of biennial curated public art exhibitions between ArtPrize competitions, the Project series, is designed to allow for vastly different thematic and practical approaches from one iteration to the next. The theme for Project 1, however, is born out of the interlinked histories of Grand Rapids and ArtPrize. 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the installation of Alexander Calder’s La Grande Vitesse. The iconic red stabile was the first such public artwork funded by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and has since become an icon for the city. [4] The sculpture was part of an urban renewal effort that leveled and rebuilt a large swathe of downtown.

The broad, minimal plaza that Calder’s piece occupies sits at the center of a collection of modernist government and bank buildings, erected on the site of what was once a dense network of streets containing retail, housing, theaters and churches, demolished in the early 1960s. [5] 1969’s La Grande Vitesse is a triumph of public sculpture, but it also sits in a desolate plaza on top of what was once a dense, multi-use urban core. Its elegance and austerity can be read as a testament to the way so many of the gains of city building are entangled with complicated with losses. Looking back from the perspective of 2019, the 1969 erection of La Grande Vitesse is not an isolated moment, but rather a beginning point of five decades of closely linked city building and public art experimentation in Grand Rapids. This half-century is chronicled in this book in Joseph Antenucci Becherer’s essay “Along the Grand: Contemporary Art History and Grand Rapids, Michigan,” on page 101. Many of these initiatives—the groundbreaking Sculpture Off The Pedestal, Robert Morris’ Grand Rapids Project X, Maya Lin’s Ecliptic, and even ArtPrize itself—are examples of art reaching beyond beautification to play a more integrated and consequential role in building the material and cultural fabric of the city, each with its own wide-ranging implications.

Crossed Lines is also born out of a critical reflection on ArtPrize itself. ArtPrize was founded in 2009 with a combination of (what we thought were) three simple principles: Any space in downtown Grand Rapids could host artwork, any artist in the world could participate, and anyone who shows up could vote on the winner. We quickly learned that simple principles can lead to complex outcomes. We defined the ArtPrize district as a three-square-mile rectangle centered on downtown. That box contained parts of the city’s First and Second Wards but completely left out the Third Ward. The Third Ward is home to a large portion of the city’s African American population, and this was hardly the first time it was left out. A recent study noted that while the Third Ward accounts for about a third of the city’s land area and population, from 2012 to 2017 it saw only 1.5% of the overall private investment supported by the city’s economic development programs. [6] ArtPrize is open to all, but by layering the exhibition onto the city, it tended to reflect and even amplify existing boundaries, movement patterns, and inequities.

Photo by Brian Kelly

With Project 1 we took a different approach to site selection, working closely with community members, city government, and the artists to find appropriate locations in all three wards. The public vote component of ArtPrize establishes a particular relationship between the viewer and the artworks on display. The purpose of the art, the vote seems to suggest, is for it to be perceived and assessed. ArtPrize frames the art viewing experience with a pervasive question: “Does this artist deserve a prize?” The vote is a wildly successful tool for audience engagement, but the frame it creates can also be limiting.

In planning Project 1, we took the opportunity to collaborate with artists and ask not only what visitors would see at the exhibition, but also what they could do, how they could occupy space, and how they could consider cities and belonging in new ways. The artists in Project 1 have built more than just objects and images to behold. They’ve built spaces for action, contemplation, and belonging.

Photo by Katie Zychowski

Amanda Browder’s Kaleidoscopic is a collection of monumental textile installations that wrap around and drape over buildings at each of the three locations of Project 1: downtown, Martin Luther King Jr. Park, and Tanglefoot. Browder’s work radically alters the visual landscape of the city. The artist speaks of letting the colorful, vibrant geometry of classic Disney comic books spill into the real world. The buildings she wraps shift from architecture to sculpture. Browder’s process of creating these textiles is as important as their final form. She solicits fabric donations from the community and leads hundreds of hours of volunteer sewing days to assemble the works. The shared stories behind each donated fabric and the camaraderie that forms during the sewing days open up new ways for people to be together. The installations become monuments to these shared moments.

While researching Grand Rapids with the theme of Crossed Lines in mind, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer selected the Blue Bridge as the site for a new interactive installation, Voice Bridge. Lozano-Hemmer has been a leading practitioner of artworks that employ light, sound, and proprietary interactive technology for decades. Voice Bridge features 400+ lights installed on the pedestrian bridge’s handrails, sending pulsing beams at an oblique angle across the footpath of the bridge. The lights are linked with speakers that replay short voice messages recorded by visitors using intercoms at either end of the bridge. Each time a new message is recorded, the existing messages and the lights that modulate with them are bumped one station further down the bridge. When a message completes the journey from one end of the bridge to another, it disappears forever.

Artist and architect Olalekan Jeyifous created a new sculpture for Project 1 titled The Boom and the Bust. The large building form contains three sections, a base resembling a single home, a mid section featuring a steel lattice supporting an array of small homes, and finally the top portion, which resembles a skyscraper. Jeyifous drew inspiration for the work from his research into housing discrimination and displacement in Grand Rapids, exacerbated by uneven economic growth and the long shadow of redlining and other forms of institutional racism.

Paul Amenta and Ted Lott collaborated to produce Critical Infrastructure at Tanglefoot, a historic manufacturing site that houses artist studios. Amenta is an artist with a wide-ranging creative practice which includes co-founding and organizing SiTE:LAB. SiTE:LAB is a nomadic, volunteer-run contemporary
art nonprofit based in Grand Rapids that stages site-specific exhibitions and
performances in a variety of urban environments, including a number of celebrated ArtPrize venues. Lott is principal of Lott3Metz Architecture in Grand Rapids, and actively involved in Grand Rapids city building and neighborhood development. For this installation, they collaborated closely with DisArt, a Grand Rapids nonprofit that promotes Disabled cultural identity through exhibitions, events, and consulting. Critical Infrastructure is part sculpture and part architecture, a structure that serves as both a literal and metaphorical stage for the actions and creative expressions of others. With help from DisArt and SiTE:LAB volunteers, the space will be programmed with music, dance, video, DJs, drag shows, and more throughout Project 1.

Finally, Heather Hart contributed The Oracle of the Soulmates, a pair of sculptures that resemble rooftops emerging from the ground. The twin pieces are installed at Martin Luther King Jr. Park on the southeast side and Rosa Parks Circle downtown. By constructing nearly identical works in these two sites, Hart invites us to consider how and where we’re empowered to claim space. Local performers are invited to use the rooftops as stages. The rooftops are at once playful and foreboding, symbols of home and belonging that are sinking beneath the surface. The rooftops are a threshold, a line between public and private space, and Hart invites visitors to dance on that line and sing from the rooftops.

Photo by Katie Zychowski

All of the artworks in Project 1 are organized around the idea of belonging, and how the lines that make up a city enable or inhibit our sense of belonging. But this doesn’t mean much if it’s just an idea to be deduced from an artwork. Belonging is a state of being, so these artworks are places to be, not just things to look at and think about. It’s our hope that Project 1 does much more than communicate an idea; we hope it can alter and reorganize the city, breach borders, cross paths, blur boundaries, and point toward a future city where we all belong.

[1] China Miéville. The City & the City. London: Picador, 2018. 195.
[2] Olalekan Jeyifous. Interview with Kevin Buist. Project 1 Catalog. 82.
[3] Todd Robinson. A City within a City: the Black Freedom Struggle in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2013. X.
[4] Joan M. Marter. “Alexander Calder’s Stabiles: Monumental Public Sculpture in America.” American Art Journal 11, no. 3 (1979): 75-76.
[5] Garret Ellison. “Timeline: Key Dates in Downtown Grand Rapids Urban Renewal.” mlive.com, May 22, 2014. https://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/2014/05/urban_renewal_timline.html.
[6] Justin P Hicks. “Grand Rapids’ Third Ward Being Left behind in Economic Development.” MLive.com. MLive.com, October 15, 2018. https://expo.mlive.com/news/erry-2018/10/8286c253d67310/grand-rapids-third-ward-being.html.

ArtPrize Announces Continuing Partnership with Switch

FIRST® Robotics teams will experience STEAM-based learning at Project 1 by ArtPrize, and will meet Project 1 artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.

What: FIRST® Robotics teams from across Michigan are invited to take a field trip to Project 1 by ArtPrize to explore the intersection of the arts and technology. The event is part of an ongoing relationship with Switch, to promote STEAM education. Students will have an opportunity to meet Project 1 artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, who’s work regularly integrates technologies such as robotics, computerized surveillance and telematic networks. They will hear him speak specifically about “Voice Bridge,” his installation for Project 1. Students will also attend the opening day celebration of Project 1 in Rosa Parks Circle featuring a ribbon cutting, performance by GVSU music and dance ensemble, vertical dance troupes, musical artists and more, before visiting the Blue Bridge where Lozano-Hemmer’s installation will be sited. To conclude, students will travel to Kendall College of Art and Design and Grand Rapids Community College to explore STEAM career pathways, with a focus on providing talent development for the future.

Why: ArtPrize is an educational experience that embraces STEAM education. Partnering with STEAM advocating companies like Switch to provide learning experiences for FIRST Robotics students, we are connecting them to opportunities that deepen their knowledge of arts and technology and the Grand Rapids community in meaningful ways. ArtPrize aims to inspire the next generation of art lovers and artists.

When: Saturday, September 7, 2019 10:30AM – 4:00PM

Where: ArtPrize Hub 41 Sheldon Ave SE Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Who: FIRST Robotics representatives will be available to speak to the media about the event, as well as Becca Guyette the Director of Learning and Engagement for ArtPrize.

About Switch 
Switch (NYSE: SWCH), the technology infrastructure corporation headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada is built on the intelligent and sustainable growth of the Internet. Switch founder and CEO Rob Roy has developed more than 500 issued and pending patent claims covering data center designs that have manifested into the company’s world-renowned data centers and technology solutions. The Switch PRIMES, located in Las Vegas and Tahoe Reno, Nevada; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Atlanta, Georgia (opening in Q4 2019) are the world’s most powerful hyperscale data center campus ecosystems with low latency to major U.S. markets. Visit switch.com for more information.

ArtPrize Announces Project 1 Event Schedule

The public is invited to the official Project 1 free events happening Saturdays during the run of the exhibition.

Grand Rapids (Michigan) August 19, 2019 — ArtPrize announced today the official events for Project 1: Crossed Lines. Each Saturday in September and the last week in October will feature a different program of free and open to the public events that will activate the artists’ works in an unforgettable way. Many other exhibitions, community events and performances will be happening throughout the run of the exhibition.

“We couldn’t be more excited to partner with community members and organizations across the city to build out a spectacular set of events throughout September. These free Saturday events will give participants of all ages an opportunity to experience Project 1 art installations and the city in new and exciting ways.” —Jori Bennett, executive director.

ArtPrize has also partnered with community partners to provide an even richer experience at each of the Saturday events. All Art Works is putting on an exhibition to provide connections between artists and art buyers. The WestSide StreetFair will be happening on Saturday, September 14th that coincides with the run of Project 1. The Grand Rapids African American Art and Music Festival will also be happening on Saturday, September 21 in Martin Luther King Park. 

“The Grand Rapids African American Art and Music Festival is thrilled to partner with ArtPrize again,” said Lisa Knight, Festival board chair and director of the Centers for Innovation, Health, Education, Youth and Community Engagement, at the Urban League of West Michigan. “This will be the first time the Festival is held in Martin Luther King Jr. Park and the Project 1 installations there will provide exciting programming opportunities.”

Photo by Jessica Swanson

Saturday, September 7, presented by DTE Foundation
Join ArtPrize and the City of Grand Rapids for a day of one-of-a-kind performances and events. Begin at Rosa Parks Circle at Noon to kick off the inaugural Project 1 exhibition with a headlining performance from BANDALOOP. From 2-5 pm enjoy the Martin Luther King Jr Park community kick-off with headlining performance by Jordan Hamilton. 

While downtown stop in to see the All Art Works Show: Great Art at Great Prices at 37 Ottawa Ave NW from 10 to 6 pm. 200 artists of every career level are curated next to work by world-famous artists. The show is free and open to the public and all artwork is for sale and priced for new and experienced buyers. The show runs from September 6 through 10.

Evening programming includes an artist panel hosted at Critical Infrastructure at the Tanglefoot site. After the talk, the Disability Drag Show, presented by DisArt, be taking place at the Wealthy St Theatre. Following the show, head back to Tanglefoot for an after-party featuring Grand Rapids Soul Club.

Saturday, September 14, presented by Meijer
Start the second weekend of Project 1 at the WestSide StreetFair on Broadway and Bridge from 11 am to 6 pm. Enjoy live music, art and educational activities for the whole family. Community partners John Ball Zoo, Experience Live Art, Artists Creating Together, Grand Rapids Public Museum, Comedy Project, Gilda’s Club and more will be there.

Be sure to check out Meijer’s Grand Taste Truck sited at Rosa Parks Circle, which will be giving food and household items out. They will also be providing art activities happening from 11 am – 3 pm. 

Then don’t miss an unforgettable evening of light, sound and community at this one-night-only performance at Blue Bridge Amplified, presented by Founder’s Brewing Company. Electronic beat-maker and headliner, Dan Deacon, and an array of local artists and musicians will take over Rafael Lozano-Hemmer’s Voice Bridge, activating the sound system and 400+ lights that will traverse Grand Rapids’ iconic Blue Bridge from 8-11 pm. 

Saturday, September 21, presented by Wolverine Worldwide
Explore the immersive artworks on view as part of Project 1 from the unique perspective of your bike seat. Pedal Project 1 is a family-friendly guided bike tour for all ages and levels featuring stops at each site location (Downtown, MLK Park, and Tanglefoot). Start at Rosa Parks Circle at 8:30 am to check-in and prepare for the bike ride departing at 10 am. The tour will be led by Jason Hall from RiDetroit and Johannah Jelks from She Rides Her Own Way. Event registration is required by visiting project.artprize.org/pedal-project-1/

Additionally, the Grand Rapids African American Music Festival will be taking place from 9 am until 11 pm. The festival features the contributions of African-Americans and will immerse the community in art, music, dance and food reflecting the diversity of the African American Community in Grand Rapids and West Michigan. Performances will be taking place all day with headlining act, Raheem Devaughn. 

Head back downtown to DeVos Place to see Shades of Blackness an exhibition featuring African American artists from across the United States. The exhibition runs from September 6 until October 4. 

Saturday, September 28, presented by DisArt and SiTE:LAB
For the final Saturday in September join DisArt and its collaborators as they present Voices an immersive, multimedia project displayed and interacted with throughout the Tanglefoot site. Designed as both an aesthetic and archiving experience, Voices will gather and visualize stories of alienation and belonging from Disabled community members as well as visitors to the site. The event runs from Noon to 10 pm and all are encouraged to attend and participate. 

Saturday, October 26
Join us at Studio Park to celebrate the final weekend of Project 1. The evening will kick-off with a press conference where several exciting announcements will be made for ArtPrize 2020. The evening will unfold to feature live music in the Studio Park Listening Room.

ABOUT PROJECT 1 BY ARTPRIZE
The ArtPrize organization produces open citywide contemporary art experiences that encourage critical discourse, celebrate artists, transform urban space and promote cultural understanding. Project 1: Crossed Lines is the first in a series of multi-sited public art exhibitions to take place between biennial ArtPrize competitions.

From September 7 – October 27, 2019, Project 1: Crossed Lines exhibition will occupy multiple outdoor sites in Grand Rapids, Michigan and will feature temporary public artworks by five artists. The seven-week run will be punctuated by a series of events, volunteer opportunities, educational programs and performances.

As of publication date, underwriting partners for Project 1 include DTE Foundation, Herman Miller Cares, Meijer, PNC Bank, X-Rite and Pantone. Major sponsors include Amway, Consumers Energy, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., Haworth, ITC—Your Energy Superhighway, LIFEWTR, Switch, West Michigan Honda Dealers and Wolverine Worldwide.

Honda is the Official Vehicle. LIFEWTR is the Official Water. WOOD TV8 is the Official Broadcast Media Partner. Rehmann is the Official Technology Partner. 

Major supporting foundations include CDV5 Foundation, Peter C. & Emajean Cook Foundation, The Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, Douglas and Maria DeVos Foundation, The Edgar & Elsa Prince Foundation, Efroymson Family Fund and Frey Foundation.

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MEDIA CONTACT
For additional information, interview requests, and images of artwork, please contact: 

David Simantov
Blue Medium, Inc.
E: david@bluemedium.com
T: +1 212-675-1800 

Margaret Paxton
ArtPrize
E: media@artprize.org  
T: +1 (616) 214-7921

ArtPrize Statement on DisArt’s Disability Drag Show and Drag Syndrome

Last week ArtPrize announced the community events scheduled to take place during Project 1 on September 7 through October 27. There are a multitude of performances, talks, and celebrations happening across Project 1 locations around Grand Rapids, but one event in particular has generated a lot of questions and even some controversy. 

Drag Syndrome is part of a UK-based experimental dance company established in 2010 that invites audiences to experience drag and disability together, creating a new form of Disability performance. The artists participating in Drag Syndrome are adults who have chosen this as their form of artistic expression and have been touring Europe for the last year. Drag Syndrome has captured attention and accolades from audiences and art critics alike, most recently at Tate Modern.

This group was invited and funded by DisArt, an arts organization based in Grand Rapids that advocates for disabled contemporary artists, to be a part of the community event schedule taking place during Project 1 to recognize artists with disabilities. Over the years, DisArt’s contributions to ArtPrize have included work by acclaimed artists both within Grand Rapids and internationally. 

Alongside a great deal of positive response, the news of Drag Syndrome’s participation has recently motivated groups to coordinate a campaign of communications calling for their performance to be canceled.

The ArtPrize organization has always supported free artistic expression by all participants and has not denied or screened individuals. Consistent with this, we believe it would be inappropriate to limit the participation of performers who have Down syndrome.

We are excited to host the many diverse artists and performers from the community participating concurrently with Project 1, and appreciate the value DisArt brings to the event alongside the other artists and collaborative groups who have enriched the creative community of Grand Rapids over the last ten years.

DisArt has more information about Drag Syndrome as well as helpful information that addresses the concerns that have arisen around this event. We encourage you to visit their Facebook page.

UPDATE (8/23/19): The property owner of the Tanglefoot Building, where Disability Drag Show was set to take place, has declined to host the performance. DisArt is working to secure a new venue. ArtPrize will provide updates when a new location is set.

Parallel to Crossed Lines, Project 1 by ArtPrize

By George Miguel

What a time to have been a lover of art and granted the opportunity to have a hand in the actualization of Project 1 by ArtPrize! My name is George Miguel, a recent graduate from Grand Valley State University who has run the course of an internship in the Learning and Engagement Department. It was through this position that I was better able to connect and engage with my community. I am fortunate to have joined the ArtPrize team during this exciting time in the endeavor to communicate their message through a new approach that has been carried out through the past 10 competitions. I have searched in a multiplicity of areas since “entering the real world,” and candidly express that it has taken me some time post-graduation to finally say that I belong in the city of Grand Rapids.

“Artists in Project 1: Crossed Lines have been selected because of the way they create more than objects, using public art to question and alter spaces, both physical and social. The way people move through a city—the ways in which people feel as if they do or do not belong—are the result of design decisions as well as policy decisions.”

I have had a front-row seat in beginning to internalize our message and all the work that goes into ArtPrize through the many departments that I’ve seen in action. In particular, the conduit that is the Learning and Engagement Department has demonstrated for me all the work that goes into developing such art events for the world, from the community members to the neighboring nonprofits that have participated thus far in volunteering and helping us to complete Project 1. Our events attract art lovers from around the world! This fact excites and leads me to truly believe that if art or “design decisions” within the transformed urban spaces of Grand Rapids in a way catalyzed euphoric belonging for me—a first-generation-college-graduate and the first of many things in my family—then so it can for others.

For example, something as fundamental as your desired arrangement or new design for your room will not just affect you, but will design you right back! On a larger scale, the design decisions of Project 1 aim to highlight the lines that we wish to cross in this community. Beyond my own experience, this project is able to have a monumental impact if art and message can intertwine successfully for the grand experience to belong.

In retrospect, my time at ArtPrize has been meaningful in clarifying and finding a place in my heart for what we have been trying to communicate. As people we are the sum of our experiences and need Art, it is wonder-full, rich in discovery and the exception of beauty. It has had me think of Picasso’s words, “we all know that art is not truth, art is a lie that makes us realize truth,” when I begin to overthink anything. From milestone to milestone I will continue to pursue the things I love and work parallel to my passions. I am absolutely sure in saying that my time at ArtPrize has fit such a frame.

My name is George Miguel… and I belong in this community.
Me llamo Jorge Miguel y pertenezco a esta comunidad
Jorge Miguel ‘in bi an, Akateko winaj jin’an

The Project 1 by ArtPrize internship program is underwritten by Deloitte and Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University.