Grand Rapids: The Midwest's Best Kept Secret
Grand Rapids has long had a focus on the arts and, maybe more importantly, volunteerism. The city has hosted an annual Festival of The Arts since 1970, which according to the Library of Congress, is the largest all volunteer arts festival in the United States. During the three days of the event nearly 20,000 volunteers host over half a million people on downtown streets. MWUX13 itself is 100% volunteer-based—its organizers are not compensated for their time or efforts.
In addition to Festival of The Arts, Grand Rapids also hosts ArtPrize, a radically open art competition, and one of the world’s most generous. Over the course of three years, ArtPrize has hosted 4,557 artists in 515 venues around the downtown area and given away $1,428,000 in prizes.