Our annual tribute to art has become a regional event, drawing in tourists from all over the Midwest, but according to Google reviews and Yelp!, not everyone enjoys it.

The good news here is that weren't that many low rated reviews to churn through. On average, ArtPrize is a very well received event in West Michigan and the average reviews on both pages exceeded 4.4 on average.

But, like everything else in life, nothing is perfect and some people did not and do not like ArtPrize.

A couple of these comments come on the heels of ArtPrize having to adjust this year due to the pandemic, so when you add that consideration, it's even more astonishing there aren't more one star reviews.

Let's look at some random one-star reviews:

Valerie was displeased, and wished she hadn't journeyed here, which is fair, but a "total bust"? There wasn't one thing you liked?

It’s a total bust for 2021. Hardly any exhibit at all. Very disappointing that I made the trip.

Josh hit a venue that had short hours, and that made him testy:

Artprize has terrible hours. Seriously close at 7:30 on a Friday night. Apparently whoever runs artprize and comes up with these hours is gearing toward tourist who don't have to work all day and can just check out the venues whenever. Artprize needs to make longer hours and stay open later at night.

I think some venues have longer hours, Josh, just so you know.

Dan decided to get sarcastic after seeing some of the art:

Loved the penis gun and the couple having sex! Super appropriate! Great job making this family friendly again in 2016, awesome!

Fair enough, but I'm not sure taking one bad incident, and placing as the whole of the event is a good idea.

Bianca wasn't real happy with one venue dominating an area:

It was so much better before The BOB took up that whole open space! Don't like how spread out it is now 😕 still amazing work and amazing artists!!! Worth the walk around downtown

Okay. So one venue bummed you out, and everything else was cool, but you couldn't recommend it? Harsh.

Danielle read a lot into the art of some:

Turning political. Hate disguised by "art". No thank you, my family and I won't be back.

Here's another situation that caused a bad review and a 'NO' recommendation. Angela thought the food trucks sucked, everything else was great and so, a bed review:

I feel that there was less art outside, and way more food trucks. What I did see of the art was amazing! Great job artists!! Now we should focus on showcasing and more interactive art!

Jason sees an overall downslide for the event:

I remember when this used to be an open competition. It's sad what it has become. Greed, Greed, and more Greed

Scott didn't recommend it, and he has some ideas for the future. I like the constructive criticism (no sarcasm):


1. Change top 25 voted for art to the top voted for art in the 20 venues with the most art on display and 5 floaters in the top 25. This will help promote art in other venues beside the Ford, Devos and Bob art exhibit.
2. Reduce the grand prize dollar amount and distribute more money to more top voted for art. Many artist invest lots of money creating art and supporting the art on site and in the city.
3. Artist also should not be allowed to exhibit in the same venue Two years in a row.
4. Drop the food trucks and support the local restaurants and local employees. Restaurants also need to find way to provide food on the go for people walking and viewing.
Artprize is not the phenomenon it once was. In fact, I think the first sign of its eventual slide into mediocrity was the elimination of the thumb-down vote.
My friend and I often joke that all it takes to win Artprize is size, a modicum of skill, and a religious portrayal (but, only if it's Jesus!) Any works that are genuinely compelling are ignored in favor of chainsaw-art, or well-organized piles of trash.
Look for our entry next year, a 20 foot margarine carving of Jesus waving the American flag.

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