Monday, September 24, 2012

Cottage Day Trip - Art Prize

While at the cottage, we ventured out for a day trip to Grand Rapids. Our destination was Art Prize, a large, independently operated art competition showcased throughout the city's downtown. When my father in law suggested it, I thought it sounded like a lot of fun. I asked Dave to check it out online, since we were without internet access. He wasn't sure what the kiddos would think. Since rain and cloudy skies were forecasted, I figured it was worth a trip.
I wasn't sure what to expect, but we were enthralled. While looking for a place to eat lunch, we found quite a few exhibitors. The one that first caught the kiddos' attention was entitled "Cloud Zombies." We sat and talked with the creator. The kiddos had some great questions for him. From that point we were hooked. We then passed a huge dragon crafted from recycled materials. We liked the piece most, because it was made by someone from the town where the cottage is located. As we walked we found many other pieces and chatted with other artists.

We spent a lot of time watching two gentlemen metal smithing. Eamon was especially interested in the process. Aine and Benton held several of the pieces, and we all watched in awe as they took a copper disc and turned it into something beautiful. The kiddos kept returning to this display. Eamon is now wanting to find metal smithing classes when we return. I am hoping we find something that will accommodate his age.

They also liked the gentleman with junkyard musical instruments. He had a large musical box roller that he would crank to play music. All of it was made from discarded materials. They kids liked his many xylophones made from granite pieces, 2 X 4 sections, disc brakes, or tools. He spoke of teaching music early. I was inspired to create a xylophone when we return out of 2X4's. So very easy and fun.

When asked, the kiddos were unanimous in their vote for best piece. They liked the woman with the sand castle best. They marveled at her bare feet and elaborate creation. We asked her about her tools, her sand, her bare feet and even what she used to spray her creation (a glue and water mixture). She mentioned that the castle had withstood several rainstorms already. We were amazed at the intricacies of the piece. She told us of all the beaches around the world where she had made her masterpieces.  The kiddos were inspired to make their own.
I was most impressed with everyone's willingness to talk to the kiddos. They were all open and honest with their process, materials and inspiration. Many took extra time with them to answers the multitude of questions the kiddos had. It was quite inspiring.


  1. what a great outing! it looks like everybody had a wonderful time, a perfect place to become inspired.

  2. Very cool that the kids got to talk to the artists, ask questions, watch them work, etc.

  3. It's been a few years since I've been to GR. This is wonderful! I love when artists are so willing to talk to not just adults but also to the kids about their work. Amazing!