Grand Rapids is extremely lucky to have some of the greatest free, family-friendly outdoor festivals in the country. We're able to see incredible pieces of art all over the city thanks to ArtPrize and World of Winter.

Big Joe Pesh
Big Joe Pesh

While most everyone acts kind, courteous and respectfully, since the return of the pandemic at least once a year we face the problem of someone being destructive to someone else's hard work.

In 2021, we saw the vandalism of one of the murals near MeXo

Courtesy of FOX 17
Courtesy of FOX 17

Then there was the defacement of the Massimal Bears on the blue bridge during World of Winter 2022.

Credit Big Joe Pesh
Big Joe Pesh

In 2023, someone decided to steal and break parts of a very neat mobile made of silverware during ArtPrize.

Unfortunately,  we've already started off 2024 with another set of problems. At this year's World of Winter festival, more troublemakers have struck, this time targeting the same installation multiple times.

On January 30th, Two Eagles Marcus who a local artist from Rockford, shared that his piece, Four Directions, had been destroyed. He shared his disappointment about a group of people who were climbing and smashing ice blocks on the LED cubes.

Then, yesterday (February 21st) he shared that his installation had been unplugged on four separate occasions, the sign that told people not to climb on it was broken, and someone even stole one of his speakers.

In the post he shared his frustration with how people are treating his art

Please know that if you ever see the lights off and the music not playing it’s because someone decided that their needs take priority over yours.
There are still three speakers for you to hear the music I made for you, that is until some decides that they are going to take them for themselves or maybe just because they don’t want you to hear it.

It's heartbreaking to see people doing this to beautiful public art that we get to enjoy thanks to our dedicated and passionate artist community in West Michigan.

How many years in a row does this have this happen before something changes? Should we be asking for security or police patrols of the area? Or do we ask people to keep their eyes open and report anything they see that seems out of place or destructive?

I don't have the answers, but I hope the rare few that decide to ruin this for everyone else realize the error of their ways. I would hate for anyone to stop participating, or worse- lose these festivals entirely because they can't keep the vandals away.

CHECK IT OUT: Hand-Painted Cars at ArtPrize 2022

Six artists are competing to win a 24 month lease in West Michigan Honda Dealers Design and Drive Art Contest at ArtPrize 2022. Check out each hand-painted car below and vote for your favorite here.

Gallery Credit: Janna

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