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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Every fall for the past four years, artists and art aficionados from all over the world have flocked to Grand Rapids to experience ArtPrize, a city-wide art competition that boasts more than 1,500 entries spanning 161 venues. This year, the Grand Rapids Griffins are hosting two hockey-themed entries that can be viewed at Van Andel Arena.

“Ability” is an entry by the Grand Rapids Sled Wings, a junior-level sled hockey team sponsored by the Griffins Youth Foundation and Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. The team created “wheelchair art,” using their wheelchairs to roll a variety of paint onto canvasses. Photos of those canvasses form the basis of an 8-by-40-foot vinyl mural that shows that physically disabled athletes can overcome society’s hurdles and perform at the highest level.

The piece is displayed along the east-facing windows of Van Andel Arena, located off the service drive that runs behind the businesses on the west side of Ionia Street. Members of the Sled Wings will be on hockey sleds with inline wheels to discuss their work and sled hockey experience in front of the mural periodically throughout ArtPrize. To vote for the Sled Wings, text 52598 to 808080 or visit the entry’s official page here.

Also on display at the southeast corner of the arena is a video entry called “Untitled,” which is composed of video from the Griffins’ 2011-12 season that focuses on the memories that can be made during the game day experience. The film was created by Griffins video coordinator Ryan Gajewski and is being projected near the service entrance. Fans can also view the entry here and vote by texting 53403 to 808080 or clicking here.

“Any given Griffins game is the first game for some members of the audience,” said Gajewski in his artist statement. “It is an experience and a spectacle that could last a lifetime, when the actual event is less than a few hours long. Thousands of people filter into the arena and their seats, memories already being made, and if you look closely and watch carefully, you might miss them. As one game begins and ends, another one is already on the horizon, prepared for more memories to be made.”

The world’s largest art competition with $560,000 in total prizes, ArtPrize began on Wednesday, Sept. 19 and will run until Sunday, Oct. 7. The first round of voting will close this Saturday, and the public and jury winners will be announced on Friday, Oct. 5. Fans wishing to vote must register online or at any voter registration site in Grand Rapids. For more information, visit

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