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Sunday, September 28, 2014

First four days review of ArtPrize 2014

The first two days of ArtPrize I came to answer questions about my work. The past two days? I've been folding cranes onsite giving live demonstrations then giving them away. Artist's are allowed to sell their work as long as the ArtPrize logo is not printed on it. I contacted the ArtPrize support desk to ask if I'd be breaking any rules by giving away the cranes I'd just made. I was given a green light that that would be ok so now I sit and fold cranes all day long. But here's the really cool part. The best part. . .

Gifts I've received by people attending ArtPrize!

Several visitors have walked up and asked for pieces of my origami paper. . . Then they make me origami! In return I give them one of my cranes. I suspect this may be a whole new form of interactivity that doesn't typically occur at the competition with the visitors making art and giving it to an artist :) I'm seriously just tickled to bits when someone takes the time to make me a something!

What has become an incredibly popular part of my 4000 Tiny Origami Cranes exhibit is the "Petting Zoo." Do you see it? It's to the right of my entry.

Here's a closer look and why people are loving it.

Quite a few visitors have now told me it's the only entry they've come across that encourages them to touch part of a display.

The funniest part is that kids are not the ones touching the mobiles. It's been adults. They walk up, reach out, touch the mobiles then see the "Please do not touch" signs and are often mortified that they just touched one in front of me. One woman even said "I'm a grown up! I know better! I just couldn't help myself!" LOL. It actually makes me happy that people want to connect with the cranes in a tactile way, I just worry about damage to the very fine fishing line that the mobiles are suspended from if someone were to hold onto a strand and pull too hard.

So Day 1 I went and registered to receive my artist's badge. I'll admit I didn't wear it that day. It seemed so large and conspicuous. My friend Dana told me on the phone "There's a fine line between effective marketing and looking like a dork." But he encouraged me to wear the badge and do whatever I need to do to help people discover my work so now I wear it every day.

I could never bring myself to ask people to vote for me. But if they tell me they just did. or are going to, or take postcards to give to other people they know I sincerely thank them then tell them that I really appreciate it as I only know nine people in the state of Michigan and only half of them come to ArtPrize so I need all of the votes and exposure I can get. LOL

Venues in the three mile ArtPrize district will have these sandwich boards in front of them so it's fairly easy to spot venues even if you're not using an official map. If you have kids I encourage you to bring them here if not this year then next year. This event reminds me so much of Maker Faire where exposing kids to so much creativity can only stimulate their imaginations.

On Day 1 I made a beeline to the Fountain Street Church to see the entry "Just Listening." One of the three artists who collaborated on this sculpture is someone I met while posting my updates on Instagram (she's truthinart) the past few weeks. A few days later Ruth Tyszka stopped by the Grand Central Market and we were able to meet in person for the first time.

From her artist's statement:

"Just Listening is a visual commentary on American ideals regarding the National Security Agency’s (NSA) electronic data surveillance and collection programs."

"Three accomplished artists with backgrounds in the law, healthcare and the arts, come together to deploy art and technology in an intriguing sculptural statement about the systematic use of technology to collect information on Americans and worldwide."

I encourage you to go see it. The detail work is incredible!

I also took just a moment to visit the Sitelab. I'd also been following the progress of their installations on Instagram. They feature many different artists so it's somewhere you can see a lot of art in one location.

And these huge race cars parked at an intersection really conveyed the spirit of public art. I was parked right beside them at a red light and thought it was cool that some of the art you don't even have to walk to to see.

I've met several other artists over the past four days. One of the first was Randy Jackson. His photograph "American Woman / Stars and Stripes" is hanging at the shop right next door to the Grand Central Market. I appreciated he took the time to introduce himself and ran next door for a quick peek at his entry.

And a favorite person I've met so far is go-getter Richard (Dick's) Bourgault. A retired psychologist who picked up a paint brush for the first time last December, this is Dick's first time participating as an artist in ArtPrize. In less than a year of painting! Awesome! The paintings are his entry "Lady in Red." He's also a musician and photographer, a true renaissance man.

Where to eat at ArtPrize? The Grand Central Market & Deli

Being hosted at the Grand Central Market has made meal breaks a breeze. Wonderful because I barely have time to sneak in eating let alone going to get food. They make a multitude of sandwiches, ready-to-heat deli food, and incredible pasta salads (I love the veggie 4-P's) inside.

And during lunch have street eats cooked right out on the sidewalk. You order outside, get a receipt, take it inside to pay for it and get it stamped, then come back out and pick up your food once it's ready.

Though I almost never eat pork anymore I asked for a recommendation and the Pulled Pork with BBQ sauce, bacon, smoked mozzarella cheese, and caramelized onions was the specialty sandwich of the day. So I tried it. And loved it.

So far I've been staying most of the day. I can say that morning's are the hardest time for people to notice my cranes in the window. The reflection on the glass makes them hard to see. By afternoon and into evening they pop and many people say they were just walking by and saw them and had to come in.

BTW, if sixth graders could vote I think I could have captured their swing vote. A woman came in yesterday and told me the sixth graders at the school she works at came on opening day and could not stop talking about the Tiny Cranes. Because of their rave reviews she had to come down and see them! :)

To see the Tiny Cranes in person visit:

Grand Central Market & Deli
57 Monroe Center Street NW
Grand Rapids, MI

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