ArtPrize kicks off Wednesday, and while it's an amazing thing for our city, that brings in tons of people (and money to local businesses), it can sometimes get a little bit maddening for people who work in and around the city.

Thousands of people flood downtown Grand Rapids, strolling around, looking at art, and generally enjoying the event, which is great! But, there are some general rules that should be followed while enjoying the art so that ArtPrize can be an enjoyable experience for everyone.

1. Use Crosswalks

The thing about ArtPrize is that there are a ton of people downtown. There are also a ton of cars. Those cars are full of people who are trying to get somewhere. Maybe they also would like to enjoy looking around ArtPrize, but are looking for a place to park. Maybe they're just trying to get to work. Whatever it may be, they have to be on the look out for pedestrians. And you, as a pedestrian, need to be aware of that. Use the crosswalks. Use them properly. The red hand means "stop", the white walking guy means "go". Do not walk into the road. And please, please, please, make sure your kids stay out of the road, too.

2. Don't Block The Walkways

Another thing that you need to understand while checking out everything that ArtPrize has to offer is that a lot of the venues are also places of business. Take, for example, the building where are offices are located. We are not a venue this year, though we have been in the past. Remember that people work in these venues, and often times are in a hurry to get to their offices. So, enjoy the art, but please always make sure that it's possible for people to walk through.

3. There's Art Everywhere! Except there isn't

As I mentioned above, many of the ArtPrize venues you will come across are actually office buildings. So, be sure to pay attention to the signs (both on the walls and in the elevators) that tell you where the art is located. While we love having visitors, some other offices might not be so welcoming.

4. Don't touch the art

Now, this rule doesn't hold true for all of the art. In fact, some of it is interactive, and people are encouraged to touch. But, you don't need to touch paintings. If there is a sign up asking you not to touch the art, please don't touch the art. The artists worked hard on these pieces, and we would hate to see them ruined.

5. Be Mindful Of Your Surroundings

My last tip is pretty much all encompassing. Please be mindful of your surroundings. There's a lot going on with ArtPrize. There are people everywhere, and there's art everywhere, and there are cars everywhere, and well, it's a lot to take in. But, please try to be mindful of what's going on around you. If someone's trying to take a picture of an awesome piece of art, don't walk in front of them. If there are cars driving down the street, don't walk in the street (we do have sidewalks in this city). And while on the topic of sidewalks, use them like you do the road. Walk on the right-hand side of the sidewalk. It will make everyone's lives easier.

Seriously though, enjoy ArtPrize, enjoy downtown Grand Rapids in all of its glory. Just be sure that you follow these simple rules to make everything run smoothly for everyone (and to help me avoid going into a fit of rage).

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