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Sirico Parables book

    Ever since Acton moved into 98 E Fulton St., it’s been a venue for Grand Rapids’ biggest citywide event: ArtPrize.

    Started in 2009 by local entrepreneur Rick DeVos, ArtPrize is “an open, independently organized international art competition which takes place for 19 days each fall.” Both a jury and the public vote on how to award the half million dollars in different prize money (with $200,000 to jury-awarded winner, $200,000 to public vote winner and other prizes). Artists from any nation working in any medium are encouraged to enter. In 2016, 170 venues showed nearly 1,500 pieces. This event is estimated to attract 500,000 visitors to downtown Grand Rapids.

    Acton welcomed 11 pieces to its lobby during Artprize 2017, including paintings, photographs and sculptures.

    For the first time, Acton hosted interactive art. “Imagine That” by Jeff Grill featured a threedimensional wood sculpture projecting heavenly bodies onto the walls of a dark enclosure. The artist invited viewers to look into the enclosure, take in the scene and “imagine a name for this discovery.”

    Acton’s lobby also hosted three other sculptures, including fish made of butterwood, ceramic rabbits, and horses made of copper, wood, jute twine, leather and metal. There were also several photographs and paintings showcasing a wide variety of media and themes. Artist Toni Johnson Mendina used quilts and colored pencils to create vegetables in “the beet goes on.” “Otto and Marie,” a photograph by Paul Rose captures the story of escaping Hitler’s Germany and coming to America. This black-and-white photo captures German couple Otto and Marie in Detroit several decades after making the Motor City their new home.

    Acton was excited to feature many local and Michigan artists, including a group from the Upper Peninsula.

    For more information about all the artists shown in the Acton building, visit