By Nate Slauer
ArtPrize Eight kicked off this week, and you can get involved! WMEAC, the City of Grand Rapids, Kent County Department of Public Works, and ArtPrize teamed up to create a brand new initiative called S.O.R.T. (Separate, Organic, Recycling, Trash) Stations. The six S.O.R.T. Station located at Rosa Parks Circle, Calder Plaza, and the ArtPrize HUB will provide a place for visitors to take care of their waste.
WMEAC is calling for volunteers interested in monitoring the S.O.R.T. Stations and raising awareness of waste management practices. Here are five reasons to sign up.
Reason 1 – Participate in a World-Renowned Event
ArtPrize continues to attract huge crowds for a good reason. Estimates suggest that 400,00 visitors will to see the work of 1,647 artists, who contributed 1,453 entries house in 170 venues. In a new addition called the “Featured Public Projects,” artists Dewitt Godfrey, W/Field Workshop, Christopher Schardt, and FriendsWithYou received $55,000 in grant funding to install large-scale public art installations. These installations range from a 3-D sculpture made of steel and bolts to a LED projection on the Grand River. Volunteering is a great way to contribute to the world’s largest “radically open” art competition, while also checking out some impressive entries.
Reason 2 – Promote Recycling
Most people believe that recycling is important. Even so, people often get confused when trying to figure out how to recycle. This is especially true during big events; you might become distracted by spectacles like Loren Naji’s 8-foot spherical home and forget where to toss your empty Diet Coke can. Modeled on the colors of a stoplight, the S.O.R.T stations highlights an easy-to-understand system for disposing food and used materials. If the system works well, you just might see S.O.R.T stations show up in more public spaces going forward.
Reason 3 – Give back to the city
For West Michigan residents, community service is a regular part of their life. Grand Rapids ranked in the top ten of mid-sized cities for its volunteerism rate with residents who give an average of 36.3 hours of their time annually. During the recent Community Resource and Senior Fair, Mayor Bliss announced that Grand Rapids joined cities across the country to become a City of Service. Volunteers contribute by tutoring struggling students, building homes, and cleaning up the Grand River. By helping out, you can join an incredible movement whose passion for citywide change is infectious.
Reason 4- Get swag
Those who generously donate their time to voluntary causes do not always receive a reward for their efforts. That’s why WMEAC will offer benefits to individuals and groups who choose to lend a hand. Individuals will receive prizes such as a t-shirt and an ArtPrize Metro Card as well as access to exclusive Volunteer-only events. Groups will receive public recognition for their contribution on WMEAC’s blog and newsletter. Everyone deserves a small thank you once in awhile!
Reason 5- Help out a Fantastic Team
The ArtPrize team has been working tirelessly to organize Grand Rapids’ most well-known event. Yet ArtPrize Managing Director Amelea Pegman took time out of her busy schedule to share her thoughts on the S.O.R.T Stations.
“After months of collaboration and planning, stakeholders of created a simple, yet effective program for properly sorting compost (organic material), recycling, and trash during ArtPrize,” said Pegman. “We invite and encourage you to join in our pilot season of this important community project! Volunteers are a crucial part of the success and educational opportunity that these station present. We can’t wait to work with you!”
By volunteering, you can help out the creative, innovative people like Pegman who make Grand Rapids a great place to live and play.