While I was skeptical of this turning out to be an event after the hype, the strength of this contest is in the details for the Grand Rapids community. Over the next few years Grand Rapids stands to pick up many world class artworks. It is very possible that through the venue partnerships that some top artists could be commissioned for their entries and that many of the works will remain permanently in and around Grand Rapids. The art work that remains after the event is the year round influence that this project could bring about. A walk through Meijer Gardens is mind boggling to anyone connected to the arts from outside the area. (We live so close to this venue and have watched it develop over time to a point that it is taken for granted almost.) Fast forward a few years and think of the downtown canvas that could develop as a result of this competition. It certainly should make for an interesting couple weeks this fall with the open definition of "Art".
As we sit and speculate I must first tip my hat to the DeVos and Van Andel families. They (as well as countless other families) in the Grand Rapids area are what have made this city what it is. While we all may not stand on their side, sharing their political views, and may question the non-traditional business structure that blessed them with their wealth, they have been nothing but world class with their support of Grand Rapids. It is easy to look at the countless buildings that bear their names, but to fully understand their philanthropy, look no further to Doug and Maria