Grand Rapids, Michigan has fired up their design machine.
They’ve got a thriving design industry, an outdoor sculpture park, a brand new art museum and ArtPrize, a five-year-old citywide art competition and display with than 1,700 painters, sculptors, and performing artists competing to win over $500,000 in prize money.
At a time when many museums are having a tough time attracting paying visitors, Grand Rapids has made art fun, experiential and part of its urban DNA. Nearly 400,000 visitors experienced ArtPrize 2013, contributing $22 million to the local economy.
It’s not just the art on display… it’s a rare show of the power that can be harnessed you get when city and tourism officials are working on the same page. The branding and development has clearly paid off: Lonely Planet voted Grand Rapids the top destination in America.