Make the Most of ArtPrize 2013 with a Walking Tour of Grand Rapids

ArtPrize 2013 kicks off in just a couple of weeks! From September 18 – October 6, artists and visitors from around the world will flock to Downtown Grand Rapids to display and see artwork.

If you’re heading to the event for the first time or just want to see more of what the area has to offer, a walking tour is a great way to do so! Kristin Coppens of Blue Cross Blue Shield fills us in on an Art Walk that’s being offered on Saturday, September 21st during the first weekend of ArtPrize.

ArtPrize is about to kick off the fifth year of being a world-renowned art phenomenon. The competition is the world’s largest art prize decided upon by public vote and has transformed the Grand Rapids community with a vision of integration and creativity.

The 19-day competition offers plenty to see throughout the Grand Rapids city limits, along with a calendar chock full of events that supplement the art. Wondering the best way to see the over 1,500 entries this year? Make your way through the ArtPrize locales by way of Art Walk.

Walking is a great way to boost physical activity and exercise. In addition to weight loss, walking strengthens cardiovascular abilities, lowers disease and cancer risk, and helps keep bones and joints strong in situations like arthritis. 30 minutes of physical activity is recommended five days a week; however, you can accomplish those goals in shorter 10-minute increments throughout the day.

Sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Wolverine Worldwide, both ArtPrize sponsors, Art Walk incorporates the ArtPrize entries with a health component. Taking place on Saturday, September 21st this year, Art Walk is comprised of both guided (by ArtPrize volunteers) and self-guided options.

Art Walk will kick things off at 8:30AM with opening comments from Jeff Connolly of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blake Krueger of Wolverine Worldwide. There will then be a guided warm-up exercise with a provided fitness professional before the 9:00AM start of the walk. The guided portion is expected to complete by approximately 11:00AM. Additionally, Wolverine Worldwide and Blue Care Network of Michigan will both have various tents set up at Rosa Parks Circle with health information, footwear, fitness information, goodies, and more.

With two different routes, ArtWalk will take participants through two of the five total neighborhoods hosting art. The first route will be through the Center City neighborhood, a total of one mile. The second route will take participants through the Westside neighborhood for a total of 2.2 miles. Each route will begin and end at Rosa Parks Circle downtown; there will be snacks and water provided between routes.

Art Walk is a great way to kick off the first weekend of ArtPrize and see a great deal of this year’s entries during the first round of voting. Walkers are encouraged to wear comfortable walking shoes and bring water bottles with them. No registration required; we look forward to seeing you!

Kristin Coppens is responsible for blogging and social media at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan throughout the West Michigan region. Kristin is a writer, social media enthusiast, and information junkie. A self-proclaimed foodie, techie, and political nerd, she is a dedicated promoter of Grand Rapids community development, urban engagement, arts, healthcare, wellness, supporting and buying local, entrepreneurism, and the city as a whole.

Photos included are by Ian Anderson of StellaFly, Courtesy of ArtPrize.

Will you be checking out Art Walk during ArtPrize? Let us know in the comments section below!

Put It on Paper at the Michigan Historical Museum

Literature lovers don’t want to miss Put It on Paper – a special exhibit running now at the Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing! Mary Dettloff of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources fills us in on what visitors can expect.

Hand-written manuscripts by Laura Ingalls Wilder. A piece of short fiction by a young Ernest Hemingway. The original architectural drawings for the WorldTradeCentertwin towers. What do all these items have in common? They are part a special exhibit at the Michigan Historical Museum in Lansing called Put It on Paper.

The exhibit highlights the various stages of the creative process used by writers, artists, architects, musicians and designers with a Michigan connection, such as the hand-written manuscripts of Laura Ingalls Wilder. The famed author, a native of Wisconsin, began her Michiganconnection in 1937, when she spoke at the Detroit Book Fair hosted by the J.L. Hudson Department Store. In 1949, the Detroit Public Library named its branch on Seven Mile Road after her, and in a show of gratitude Wilder donated two manuscripts – The Long Winter and These Happy Golden Years – to the library. 

An early Ernest Hemingway handwritten manuscript for his story Sportsman’s Hash, which he wrote while visiting Michigan as a young man.

Hemingway spent time in Michigan as a young man, and while here, he penned a short piece of fiction called Sportsman’s Hash. The original document, written on his father’s stationery, is part of the exhibit and shows Hemingway’s work before he went on to become one of the iconic writers of the 20th century.

Minoru Yamasaki came toMichiganin 1945 as a young architect and in just a few short years would help usher in theMichiganmodern design movement. He designed several important buildings at the height of his career, but perhaps none as well-known as the former World Trade Center twin towers in Lower Manhattan, which would later be destroyed in the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Yamasaki’s original drawings for the twin towers, along with other materials, are housed at the Archives of Michigan, and select items from the collection are on display as part of this exhibit.

The original architectural drawings of the World Trade Center Twin Towers by Michigan-based architect Minoru Yamasaki. Yamasaki was based in the Detroit area and is one of the celebrated architects of Michigan modern design movement. He also designed several buildings in Michigan, including One Woodward Avenue in Detroit.

Other items in the exhibit include conceptual car design drawings and models, art from contemporary Michigan artist and illustrator Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen (best known as a children’s book illustrator, including The Legend of Sleeping Bear), and music compositions by Michigan performers. An interactive area allows visitors to create their own masterpieces, including an area for kids who want to dabble in landscape architecture.

Put It on Paper is on exhibit until August 25, 2013. For more information about the exhibit, hours of operation and admission fees for the museum, go to While at the museum, check out its permanent exhibits about the history of our great state – The First People to 1900 and Michigan in the Twentieth Century. The museum also has a gift shop stocked with interesting Michigan-related items, including several books about different aspects of the history of the state. Group tours are welcome at the museum, and please note that spring school field trip season is the busiest time of the year.

Mary Dettloff is senior advisor for communications for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and a native of Northern Michigan.

Sneak Peek at the 2013 North American International Auto Show

The North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) is happening in Detroit next week! The show will officially be open to the public January 19 – 27, but we were able to snap some photos during media preview days to share. Check them out in the gallery below and learn more about the show at

Will you be attending NAIAS this year? If you’re looking for things to do in Detroit while in town, see suggestions here.