Downtown Grand Rapids will surely be less busy now that the ninth annual Grand Rapids ArtPrize competition is over.
Artists from all over the world come to West Michigan to share their art. But only two artists each year are grand prize winners.
Both Seitu Jones and Richard Schlatter will take home $200,000 for their pieces "The Heartside Community Meal" and "A. Lincoln," respectively.
Jones' piece, which won the art judge's prize, is a video detailing a community meal in the Heartside neighborhood next to downtown that served 250 residents.
Schlatter's piece, a portrait of former president Abraham Lincoln made entirely of pennies, won the public vote. People voted through the ArtPrize mobile app or website to select the winner.
Terry Payne, a patron of the art fair who came all the way from Virginia, says Jones' piece says a lot about the community it focuses on.
"It's just outstanding work. An outstanding piece of work, we've really enjoyed it. The community itself is inspiring too, all the food pantries and art work on the walls, it's no wonder [Jones] wanted to do the meal here," Payne said.
Kari Perez is another one of the thousands who came to the art festival. She was more than impressed with Schlatter's penny portrait.
"I just think it's pretty impressive that someone could conceptually think of how you take pennies and turn them into an actual figure of a person with a face. That just is really amazing to me," Perez said.
Other artists walked away from the competition with smaller prizes for their work. For a full list of winners, venues, and categories check out the Grand Rapids ArtPrize website.