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ArtPrize examined from a youth perspective

This dispatch was added by one of our Nonprofit Neighbors. It does not represent the editorial voice of The Rapidian or Community Media Center.

Youth reporters from the Andy Angelo Press Club visited ArtPrize 2014 and reflect on their experience.
Young reporters look through binoculars to get a closer look at the detailed paper animal installation

Young reporters look through binoculars to get a closer look at the detailed paper animal installation /GAAH

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Andy Angelo Press Club - Who We Are

The Andy Angelo Press Club is a program run by the GR Creative Youth Center (CYC) and Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities (GAAH). The club exists to provide youth with the opportunity to improve their writing skills by way of exploring Grand Rapids and then writing about their experiences. Once a month, the club takes a trip to an event, organization, restaurant, performance or other Grand Rapids point of interest, and then writes articles or opinion pieces about the trip. Their writing is then published here on The Rapidian. 

The CYC prepares kids for life’s adventures by supporting their writing and amplifying their voices. They believe that while nurturing kids’ writing can give them access to the world, fostering their creativity may allow them to change the world. At the CYC, kids become published authors, leading to a strong sense of identity and an enthusiasm for learning. Their programs are free for all students attending Grand Rapids Public Schools.

GAAH operates the Cook Arts Center and the Cook Library Center, both located on Grandville Avenue in downtown Grand Rapids. Their mission is to enrich the lives of neighborhood youth through diverse and engaging programs at their two facilities, and provide access to the arts and humanities.  With the help of many talented artists and committed volunteers, they strive to provide an enriching environment for children and adults living in the Grandville Avenue neighborhood, and beyond.

Note: The club was named in honor of GAAH’s dear friend and longtime board member, Andy Angelo, who passed away in the summer of 2012. Andy was a journalist, editor and mentor at The Grand Rapids Press for 25 years.

Students and families gather around Salvador Jimenez Flores as he talks about his Artprize entry at the GRAM

Students and families gather around Salvador Jimenez Flores as he talks about his Artprize entry at the GRAM /GAAH

Students meet and interview Artprize artist Stan Skopek, who had work on display at the Gerald R. Ford Museum

Students meet and interview Artprize artist Stan Skopek, who had work on display at the Gerald R. Ford Museum /GAAH

The Andy Angelo Press Club (AAPC) is a program of the GR Creative Youth Center and Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities. On Sunday, September 28 and Friday, October 3, the AAPC visited ArtPrize and each student wrote about what stood out to them during their experience. Below are their reflections on art and ArtPrize, in their own words.


Antonio J. - Age 13

Every year, many people from all around come to Grand Rapids to a variety of artwork at ArtPrize. From abstract to still-life paintings, ArtPrize 2014 has a lot to offer visitors and Grand Rapids’ locals. The Andy Angelo press club (Press Club) decided to explore downtown Grand Rapids in search of wonderful art.

The first venue we went to was SiTE:LAB @ The Morton, 72 Monroe Center NW. SiTE:LAB is a three-time winner of the Outstanding Venue juried award. The Morton is a vacant 90-year-old hotel in downtown Grand Rapids.

The piece of art that intrigued me the most was the giant sculpture that could be seen when you once walk in. The piece was entitled “Symptomatic Constant” by Julie Schenkelberg. At first glance, the sculpture looks like some rubble someone left with the building. After close inspection, I noticed there was meaning behind the "rubble." The piece is a representation of a shipwreck in the Midwest and has items from Grand Rapids.“The installation emerges from its firm grounding of earth and envisioned water, reaching toward the tranquil place in the sky beyond the storm.”

The second venue we went to was the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM). The one that stuck out to me the most though was the 911 piece called “Life Copy” by Jason File. File’s piece is video installation consisting of a real book about terrorism that he co-authored, alongside video footage of an internationally televised appearance on CNN performing as a “terrorism expert.”“The video contains selected ads from the time of the broadcast, highlighting the absurdity of the juxtaposition of subject-matter, and emphasizing the nested layers of advertising that exist in the commercial market for information, including in the news itself”-- Jason File from


Kamarria W. - Age 11

On Sunday September 28, 2014, The Andy Angelo Press Club (Press Club) went to ArtPrize in downtown Grand Rapids. Press Club first went to The Mayan Buzz Cafe, 208 Grandville Avenue, which is one of the Artprize venues. While at the cafe there were photographs of people with words painted on them of things they loved about themselves and things they particularly did not like about themselves. It is called “I AM HUMAN” which was sponsored by The Michigan Eating Disorders Alliance (MiEDA). This program encourages people to accept themselves for who they are.

Another interesting exhibit was the “Dawn of Chimes” by Stan Skopek featured at the Gerald R. Ford Museum. It is a raptor made entirely of brass instruments and weighs about 500 pounds. When talking to Skopek he said that he has entered in ArtPrize for the last three years. Skopek has had three pieces of art bought by the Ripley's Believe it or Not museums. Ripley’s has 32 museums in 10 countries and four continents. Skopek said that his goal is to have a piece of art in every Ripley’s museum around the world.

The last piece of art that was interesting was "Shimmer" by Philip Lynch. It is about 600 pound piece of art with a wooden frame with real butterflies and moths in the tiles, that were hanging from the wooden frame. Philip Lynch is from California and it took him a 180 hours to complete.

The winners were be announced October 10. The Grand Prize winner received $200,000.


Michelle G. - Age 9 

Andy Angelo Press Club (Press Club) took a field trip to ArtPrize 2014 downtown Grand Rapids. One of the places that we looked was the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. Press Club while there saw a handmade Japanese paper cut sculptures by Nahoko Kojima. The sculptures represented three different animals: a leopard, a bald eagle and a polar bear. The most interesting thing about these sculptures is that they are made out of one piece of paper. These sculptures were hanging up on the ceiling. Visitors could use binoculars to look at them up close. The pieces took two years to make.

On the Blue Bridge located between Fulton and Pearl street, Press Club saw is a big camera exhibit called the “Camera Obscura” by Team GiBBs. The Camera Obscura teaches visitors how the inside of a camera works. (Artists of Team GiBBs: Bradley Jansen, Dan Gibbs, Jeremy Kruis, Justin Lovett, Kyle Venhousen and Stephen Panaggio)

Press Club saw the most interesting art exhibit at the Grand Rapids Art Museum (GRAM). There we saw the artwork of Salvador Jimenez-Flores called, “I am not who you think I am/ No soy quien crees que soy.” The exhibit shows many faces hung on the wall, with Spanish words under the heads. Jimenez made the faces out of clay. He used his own face to make the sculptures look like him. It took him 10 years to finish this artwork. Jimenez said he liked to use clay because it comes from the earth.


Luis J. - Age 9

The Andy Angelo press club saw great art in downtown Grand Rapids at ArtPrize 2014. Salvador Jimenez's art work stood out the most because it was funny. It looks like a real person and the faces are all Jimenez's - they told a story and the faces were on the wall. They had words written under the heads.


Below, Jazmine and Edgar decided to write a bit about the history of ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, and what it looks like today.


Jazmine B. - Age 13

Artprize started in Grand Rapids on September 23, 2009. The first ArtPrize event winner is hosted at a winebar and restaurant called "Reserve." The Grand Rapids Children Museum was included with 159 other venues. ArtPrize started because Grand Rapids wanted to start-up funding to art entrepreneurs. The way that ArtPrize has grown is very outrageous. In the year of 2009 1,262 artists came to show their art, and Grand Rapids had more than 200,000 visitors come to see the art work according to


Edgar J. - Age 11

ArtPrize is an incredible touring event for people from around the world. They come to see all the artwork in downtown Grand Rapids. On the opening day of Artprize Sep 23, 159 venues opened their spaces for artists from 41 states from 14 countries from around the world. In 2009 the voting methods were very different than what they are today. 

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