Can't wait for the start of ArtPrize?  You don't have to.  Over 500 ArtPrize artists will have their work on display downtown beginning September 7.

The new ArtPrize preview is meant to give fans an early look and boost sales at the 18 bars, restaurants, and coffee houses which make up the Arena District including The B.O.B., Stella's, and more.

Remember the first year of ArtPrize when Grand Rapids businesses were running out of food because they did not anticipate the crowds ArtPrize would draw?  Well, businesses are now finding a way to expand ArtPrize and their profits.

The ArtPrize preview is good for business, but is it good for ArtPrize?  The artists on display at these 18 businesses should get a boost as long as visitors remember their favorites and remember to vote for them.  The effect on other artists remains to be seen.

Will fewer people visit the Arena District during ArtPrize because of the preview?  If so, it will hurt artists who are at venues downtown that are not part of the preview.  At the same time, it could help artists in other ArtPrize districts which have not seen as much traffic in previous years.

I think this is a positive move.  Downtown should remain a draw during the competition for ArtPrize visitors who have seen the preview.  There is simply so much to see and so little time.  This preview will help visitors to be able to see more than in past years.  It could benefit outlying districts for the same reason.

Here's more from WZZM.