ACTIVESITE is a biannual art event, which seeks to provide a catalyst for collaboration between the Art, Business, and Development communities of Grand Rapids: creating unique exhibition and promotional opportunities.

Monday, August 10, 2009

ACTIVESITE shakes things up for ArtPrize

ACTIVESITE shakes things up for ArtPrize
Posted by Olivia Pulsinelli | Business Review West Michigan August 04, 2009 11:48AM



For a community like Grand Rapids, which is trying to tap into the creative class, to help retain the next generation and to show that -- as the second biggest city in Michigan -- it really is a vibrant community, endeavors like ArtPrize are great opportunities for promoting those missions.

And ACTIVESITE seems like a natural fit for such an event. The biannual exhibits for art students are held in underused buildings, while participants in ArtPrize will exhibit their work throughout Grand Rapids -- both bringing the art world and the business community together.
ACTIVESITE also has a history of building partnerships in the business community, and many of those organizations -- plus more -- will be a part of ACTIVESITE's entry in ArtPrize later this year.

So far, the list of 12 organizations includes names familiar to the ACTIVESITE crowd -- Serve Studio Architecture, Ice Sculptures Ltd., etc. -- plus newer collaborators, such as ThinkXD and Immersive Labs. I'm betting more will be added as the team finds other opportunities to collaborate.

They're also shaking things up in terms of the actual event. I attended the ACTIVESITE ArtSpace open house last week to try to get a better idea of what their upcoming exhibit will be like.

On their Web site, the tagline for their ArtSpace concept says, "ACTIVESITE inverts the usual art experience, instead focusing attention on the social interaction generated by the space itself. Sculpture equals walls, performance equals environment, art equals experience ... you."

I asked Paul Amenta (in charge of the creative side of things) to expand on that -- he used the analogy of a play, which helped me grasp the idea better. When a play is being performed, that performance is the art. So in ArtSpace, sometimes the people who come will be observing the art, and at different times, they will be interacting and will be a part of the art.

Although Paul said this concept isn't anything new in the art world, I still think it's probably something many people (myself included) won't really get until they see it. Which I don't think is a bad thing. I'm certainly up for new experiences, and I hope a lot of other people are, too.

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