September 16, 2021
ArtPrize is back and fully recharged! And if you’ve never been to Grand Rapids during the event, you’re definitely missing out.
It all started back in 2009 as an international competition with art exhibited throughout the city – from museums and galleries to public parks, vacant storefronts, bridges, and bars. After 2020’s ArtPrize was postponed due to COVID concerns, many have been counting the days until its long-awaited return. Over the years, this citywide celebration of creativity has welcomed millions, sparking countless debates about art and why it matters.
Powering these kinds of conversations and connections is what Byrne is all about. So when ArtPrize organizers reached out for an artful way to keep attendees plugged in during their visit, the Byrne team was excited to get involved.
This year, ArtPrize organizers have created a new web app that encourages more engagement between event-goers and artists during the event. The mobile site will give visitors opportunities to award prizes to their favorite artists by scanning unique QR codes at art venues throughout downtown. Each prize awarded to an artist will directly impact their chance of winning the grand prize. Phones will also help navigate the wide-reaching event and even tell visitors where to find transportation, parking, restaurants, and charging stations.
“With this year’s new prize-awarding format, ArtPrize will be more digital than ever before, says Craig Searer, ArtPrize Executive Director. To participate, visitors will need to use their smartphones throughout the event, meaning they’ll need to stay charged and ready to go. Byrne Charging Stations will help make that happen.”
After gathering all the event details, Byrne knew that Vesta™ was the perfect solution. Battery-powered and completely portable with weatherproof, waterproof USBs (including USB-C), Vesta works across a wide range of sharable settings, delivering enough convenient, table-height power to charge phones for 20 hours at a time. The special edition ArtPrize Vesta will feature retractable charging cables too, so there’s no need to pack your own. And because it’s totally mobile, you can charge anywhere – even tableside while grabbing a bite to eat. Innovative IoT-enabled technology will also allow Byrne to track where each Vesta goes throughout the day.
Its sleek, modern lines and on-trend colors already make Vesta a standout, but for ArtPrize, Byrne wanted to take it to the next level. And Nina Lu was the person to help their team do just that.
For years, Byrne has enlisted local artists to create a graphic inspiration piece that serves as the company’s “finish of the year,” applied to both products and materials. For 2021, Byrne’s artist is muralist and illustrator Nina Lu. A Chinese-born, Grand Rapids-raised visual artist, Nina is currently a student at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. As a Michigan girl, she has always had a passion for natural spaces. In fact, her curiosity about how humans, nature, and technology connect is part of what first caught Byrne’s attention.
“Nina is a young artist but wise beyond her years,” says Dave Kantor, Senior Marketing Manager at Byrne. “She’s creative and connected to the wonder of the world around her. We’re so proud to sponsor her incredible work – and proud to be a partner of ArtPrize this year.”
For some, Byrne’s partnership with Ms. Lu may seem an unlikely one, but between their history of championing local artists and the annual “We Make Art” exhibition they host for their own employees, Byrne’s corporate culture has always been a celebration of creativity and self-expression that extends across the company well into the community. At this year’s ArtPrize, Byrne’s Vesta charging stations will be located in 27 outdoor spaces throughout downtown – with each unit covered in a custom design from Nina illustrating what the “power of connection” means to her. For Byrne, it’s the perfect opportunity to showcase her talent and expose Nina’s work to a wider audience. And because product customization is a big benefit for Byrne customers, this project also serves as a unique way to show the public how power and charging solutions like these can be personalized to help them tell their own stories.