High Caliber Karting Expansion Inspires Community Art Contest

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Photos courtesy of Julissa Munsters, High Caliber Karting.

Platforms being constructed in preparation for the art to come.

Interested in participating in a community art project, and maybe winning some cash? High Caliber Karting is holding a contest – but you have to apply no later than Wednesday, April 22. Here’s the scoop:

Since opening in the Meridian Mall in September 2019, High Caliber Karting has become a popular destination for family-and-friends entertainment. Featuring two indoor go-kart tracks with high-speed European electric race karts, state-of-the-art racing simulators, giant arcade, axe throwing, pocket soccer, a bar, a bistro, and conference space for events, the 79,000-square-foot space has been the center of a lot of fun.

Now the owners are expanding the space, but that 25,000-square-foot expansion comes at a time where all non-essential businesses are temporarily closed, including High Caliber. High Caliber Karting CEO Jordan Munsters spoke with ELi about the growth of this Mid-Michigan business and how they’re handling this situation.

“We are trickle-releasing the announcements of what our new offerings will be in that space on social media,” Munsters said. “So far, we’ve let our audience know that we will have Archery Tag, and Pigskin Pins coming soon. We’re excited to share everything else in time.”

Pigskin Pins offers a kind of combination of football, bowling, and cornhole. There will be 20 lanes of play, and each lane requires two 42’’ x 96” plywood platforms.

And those platforms, the High Caliber team realized, presented an opportunity – one that could engage local artists at a time when so many exhibitions, displays, fairs, and festivals have been canceled.

“Our Operations Manager, Casey Steele, is incredibly creative and quite the artist himself,” explains Munsters. “He suggested that we create a community art project to bring everyone together” – namely an open invitation to take one of the plywood platforms and turn it into a work of art.

So the company is putting out the call to artists. Each 42’’x96’’platform has a 5/8” sanded oak plywood board on top of a 2×4 framed base. Designs can include all forms of art (paint, carving, vinyl decal, wood burning, stain, graffiti, etc.).

The public will be invited to pick their favorites. The first-place award will receive $500, second-place will receive $250, and third-place will receive $100.

The opportunity is open to all Michigan residents – but if you want to take a platform and turn it into art, you need to apply now by email because participation is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Entry requests for this project must be emailed by April 22nd. Artists must email contactus@highcaliberkarting.com to apply to participate. They should send their names, phone numbers, and addresses where the platforms should be delivered.

High Caliber will get all platforms out to participants by May 8. Platforms need to be finished, with photos of the work submitted, by May 30.

At that point, online voting will be opened so people can vote for favorites. The online voting will run from June 1-18, with winners announced June 19.

Munsters is very excited about this crowd-sourcing of art.

“We love the idea of allowing local hobbyists or career artists the opportunity to make their mark on our indoor amusement park. We’re showcasing these artists long-term in the community. We have well over a hundred thousand guests coming through our doors annually, and we’re geeked for them to be able to come to High Caliber and get a sense of the local artist community.”

Each participant will receive a free three-hour VIP room reservation which can be used for a night out with friends or to arrange a gala to sell their artwork. They’ll also receive a scheduled time with a videographer to capture footage of the artist working on the platform, an engraved plaque, and an opportunity for a Meet-the-Artist night.

In the seven months High Caliber has been open to the public (before COVID-19 closure), the immersive space has grown in popularity primarily from word-of-mouth support from local groups.

“We often hear how grateful our guests are that we came to this area,” Munsters said. “Our hope is to create a tourism draw to this area in the same fashion that Michigan’s Adventure, Cedar Point, etc. draw a crowd to their establishments each year – minus the seasonality of their business model.”

While customers are not able to physically visit the space right now, Munsters hopes this contest can encourage creativity, and maybe even provide stress-relief for everyone involved. High Caliber staff are excited to reveal the finished art pieces when the expansion is complete, and they’re allowed to re-open their doors.

“Ultimately, the goal is to create a connection piece,” Munsters said. “These platforms are something that local artists and guests of High Caliber can look at for years, and be immersed in the diversity that the local area has to offer.”

Read more about the contest rules in these materials provided High Caliber Karting.

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