GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Wood) – The Art Prize is like Christmas for downtown businesses each year, local leaders say.

ArtPrize was first launched in 2009. The competition has undergone some changes along the way, including a short-lived format change. public art event and Cancel The pandemic has brought millions of people to downtown Grand Rapids for years. Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. will attract 1.7 million people in 2021, and the art prize will only surpass 500,000 people. Organizers told News8 last year. In 2018, the ArtPrize brought in $33 million in new economic impact, according to. Art Prize Annual Report.

“A lot of people who come here don’t come here without spending money. They’re going to buy food. They’re going to buy clothes here and they’re going to buy different things,” said the city of Grand Rapids. said Richard App, Retail Retention Attraction Specialist.

First Weekend of ArtPrize 2022 (Michael Buck/WOOD TV8)

According to App, the ArtPrize will help companies prepare for the later months. One business that used to be downtown even earned enough to pay for a year’s rent, he said.

“When talking about the economic impact on the business, the business said that for the second year in a row, it earned enough to pay for a year’s rent during the ArtPrize,” App said.

Rick Baker, President and CEO of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, likened the ArtPrize to the Super Bowl and Christmas season in downtown Grand Rapids.

“We hear from businesses downtown, especially our retail business, all of which are small businesses, that this is what the Christmas season is like,” says Baker.

Art venues can use the competition to advertise, and businesses throughout downtown can attract customers.

“Becoming a venue is a new way to get people into your store and your business who may not have had a reason to come to your business before,” Baker said. You get a little tired and it’s like, ‘Stop, have something to eat, something to drink, and let’s continue our journey’.”

Baker said the annual convention will help increase the city’s “brand awareness” and elevate it on a national and global level.

“All of these things can add up to the very tangible and measurable financial impact that an event like ArtPrize has on our community,” he said. “It really adds great value to our community.”

He said that brand recognition has helped the business, such as in hiring employees.

“If we’re doing this right, what people see is a vibrant city, and I hope people want to come back or stay,” App said. rice field.

The 2009 and 2017 ArtPrize winner App encourages people to come downtown and enjoy art while supporting local businesses.

“Get down and support the art. That part is free, but supporting these businesses is really supporting your neighbors,” he said.

ArtPrize brings communities together each year and brings significant benefits to art venues, said Craig Sear, Executive Director of ArtPrize.

“I love how the city comes together and feels like a community. These businesses are embracing that 18 days,” he said. “It’s beautiful chaos.”

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