The Rapidian

ArtPrize to celebrate local neighborhoods in upcoming volunteer kick-off party

ArtPrize, in its seventh year, added its seventh neighborhood. This prompted a focus on the seven Grand Rapids neighborhoods and their unique histories at this year's volunteer event.
Some of the entertainment at last year's Volunteer Kick-Off Party included music by Michael Schaeffer

Some of the entertainment at last year's Volunteer Kick-Off Party included music by Michael Schaeffer /Courtesy of ArtPrize

Underwriting support from:

/Courtesy of ArtPrize

/Courtesy of ArtPrize

ArtPrize 7 is right around the corner and their volunteer kick-off party is honoring the seventh year by focusing on the seven neighborhoods ArtPrize covers in 2015. The Volunteer KickOFF Event: Seven Neighborhoods | Seven Stories is this Thursday, August 20.

"Seven has been a big number for us, both because it's year seven and we added our seventh venue with Rumsey Street. We really wanted to bring seven in and elevate Grand Rapids neighborhoods in a way they deserve," says Kelly Mackie, Program Coordinator for the Volunteer Department at ArtPrize.

The volunteer kickoff event will feature the seven neighborhoods as ArtPrize designates them, including Heartside, Rumsey Street, Hillside, Fredrick Meijer Gardens, Westside, Center City and Monroe North. The party will include games, activities and food rooted in the history and highlights of each neighborhoods which participants can tour during the party. Each neighborhood visited will garner the volunteer a postcard based on that particular neighborhood.

"After World War II, the whole Americana craze created this huge tourism push around the country. Every city, including Grand Rapids, had these wonderful postcards touting their destination. We took that idea and gave each neighborhood a specific color palette and highlighted their landmarks," says Mackie.

“The very foundations of ArtPrize are formed by those people that take part in it ­­from artists to venues to volunteers,” says ArtPrize Managing Director Amelea Pegman. “Volunteers become the face of ArtPrize, interacting foremost with attendees to offer support and guidance throughout the bustle of the 19­ day event. Without their helping hands, ArtPrize simply couldn’t happen.”

Volunteers remain an integral part of the ArtPrize event, with almost 1,000 individuals, friends, families and groups stepping forward each year ­­poised to welcome over 400,000 visitors to Grand Rapids.

"I moved here from East Lansing and didn't realize there were all these cool neighborhoods at first," says Mackie. "We wanted all the visitors that come to Grand Rapids to really feel like they know the town and neighborhoods when they leave."

Mackie says that encouraging people to tell their stories about how ArtPrize has affected them will continue during ArtPrize itself, with volunteers collecting these stories at the ArtPrize Hub. Posters featuring each neighborhood from the volunteer kickoff event will also be on display in the ArtPrize Hub for everyone coming through to see.

The Volunteer Kick-Off Party will be held at New Vintage Place (889 Broadway Ave.) in Grand Rapids this Thursday, August 20 from 5­-7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

For further information and questions, contact the Volunteer Department at ArtPrize.

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