GVSU continues annual tradition at ArtPrize Nine opening ceremony

President Thomas Haas kicks off celebration with Laker Marching Band, Dance Team

By Joshua Vissers | 9/24/17 9:54am


The Grand Valley State University Marching Band kicked off the ArtPrize Nine festivities with President Thomas Haas, Louie the Laker and the GVSU Dance Team Wednesday, Sept. 20.  

The world’s largest annual public art event kicked off Wednesday, Sept. 20, in Rosa Parks Circle, the heart of downtown Grand Rapids. ArtPrize Nine opened with fanfare as the Grand Valley State University Marching Band and Dance Team performed under the direction of GVSU President Thomas Haas, as they traditionally have. Louie the Laker was in attendance as well, encouraging crowd participation. 

Todd Herring, creative director of ArtPrize Nine, hosted the opening ceremony and invited Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalyn Bliss and ArtPrize Executive Director Christian Gaines to issue the official commencement of ArtPrize Nine. 

“ArtPrize is a catalyst, building community,” Bliss said, encouraging everyone to partake in and support the citywide event.

Cle Jackson, senior community liaison from Blue Cross Blue Shield, kicked off the Rapid Rides program, which is returning for the fourth time. The program provides 10,000 metro bus passes to community organizations, which they can hand out to residents and attendees for transportation around the city during the event. 

Sean Welsh, executive vice president at PNC Bank, also launched ArtPrize Education Days. The bank-sponsored program brings elementary and high school students to the city to partake in special educational programs during ArtPrize.

The Grand Rapids Symphony closed the ceremony with songs from Star Trek, Harry Potter and John Williams' "Hymn to the Fallen." 

ArtPrize Nine will run from Sept. 20 to Sunday, Oct. 8. The event includes more than 175 venues and 1,346 entries and clocked more than 10,000 votes within the first day alone. 

Here is a quick recap of the celebration: 

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