ArtPrize delivers a sense of community pride for all of us

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As much as we enjoy summer in Michigan and wistfully watch it fade away into the western horizon each September evening, we are comforted by the knowledge of what lies ahead. A season of harvest, a time when school campuses come back to life, and the return of one of Michigan’s favorite annual public events — ArtPrize. The 2022 art competition runs through Oct. 2 in Grand Rapids, attracting visitors from around the globe to gaze upon the creative genius of thousands of professional and amateur artists.

As a Michigan-based organization, we at the DTE Energy Foundation are well aware of the cultural and economic impact of ArtPrize for our state. We believe community events like this directly impact a city’s ability to attract new visitors, providing a sense of place and pride for everyone in the region. For 18 days, all forms of art are exhibited throughout the city in public parks, museums, bridges, businesses, bars, restaurants, nonprofit organizations and vacant storefronts. Everywhere you look, you’re likely to see creativity designed to stir your senses. It’s a communal experience that fosters engagement, interaction and, occasionally, discourse. It’s a healthy way to enliven a community and its collective spirit. For all of these reasons, the DTE Foundation has once again pledged its support to the event.

As with most of our favorite events, the pandemic forced the cancellation of ArtPrize in 2020, but the competition returned last year in remarkable fashion. Hundreds of thousands of residents and visitors alike toured the Grand Rapids area, observing great works of art and casting votes. The exhibit “Before You Go,” by Christian Reichle and Monica Pritchard, was selected by the public as the grand prize winner of the two-week event. Four other works were honored in the juried-competition categories and several more exhibits received honorable mentions. The sustainability, inclusivity, cultural vibrancy and economic vitality of last year’s event embody the very essence of what the DTE Foundation strives to support — a welcoming communal experience for all.

The DTE Foundation is among the state’s largest foundations and is committed to supporting initiatives throughout the state that are focused on arts and culture, community transformation, economic progress, education and employment, environment and human needs. We strive to support events that are culturally relevant, inclusive for all residents and serve to connect our communities. ArtPrize is perfectly aligned with those goals.

In my role as the foundation president and board chair, I have had the high honor of attending many previous ArtPrize competitions and sharing the stage with organizers, volunteers, artists, city leaders and other sponsors. I can tell you from personal experience that few events around the country bring such genuine joy to its participants and a sense of community pride to its residents. The DTE Foundation is proud to support such a wonderful event that is engaging and entertaining for everyone.

Lynette Dowler is president and chair of the DTE Energy Foundation.

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