ArtPrize and its Discontents

by Alicia Eler on October 7, 2013

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CHICAGO — At surface value, ArtPrize is all giant flowers, mythical dragons, yarn-bombed trees, and cash galore. Begun in 2009, the annual event attracts thousands of visitors from Michigan and elsewhere, a strange combination of populism and art world elitism wrapped into one — but it is not an idealistic “coming together” of the two populations.

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Yarn Bombing ArtPrize

by Alicia Eler on October 3, 2013

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GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — At this year’s ArtPrize, Grand Rapids-based Collective Wings organized the Division Fibers Yarn Bomb project on Division Street, one of the most trafficked areas of the city.

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Post image for SITE:Lab Raises the Bar for ArtPrize

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — In a smaller city like Grand Rapids, where the cost of living is far lower than American art centers like New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, there can be more curatorial opportunities — if one plays their cards right.

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Post image for At ArtPrize, What the F is “Art”?

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — Grand Rapids is a two hour drive due west of the state’s bankruptcy carnival that is Detroit, the hometown of President Gerald R. Ford, and the first city in the U.S. to add fluoride to its drinking water. It is an easy-to-visit city located on the banks of the Grand River whose early citizens were primarily of Dutch and German origin. Today, Grand Rapids is home to the annual ArtPrize, a sprawling, enormous art competition that covers the downtown and surrounding areas of the city.

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ArtPrize Jurors Announce 2013 Short Lists

by Hrag Vartanian on September 23, 2013

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Today, the 2013 ArtPrize jury prize short lists have been announced in the following five categories: Two-Dimensional Art, Three-Dimensional Art, Time and Performance Art, Use of Urban Space, and Outstanding Venue.

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Post image for The ArtPrize is Calling: Artist Applications Open Through June 6

ArtPrize isn’t your typical art competition. As enormous as it is radically open and wildly experimental, the annual fall event attracts more than 400,000 people to Grand Rapids, Michigan to vote on contemporary art. It’s messy, it’s dirty, it’s nearly half a million people talking about art.

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Post image for ArtPrize Gains New Executive Director

ArtPrize announced today the hiring of a new executive director, Christian Gaines. We spoke to Gaines, whose background is in film festival management, to discuss his plans for the organization, host to one of the largest contemporary art prizes in the world.

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Who Is Art For?

by Lauren Purje on October 8, 2012

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Art should be for everyone, right?

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Post image for 2012 ArtPrize Winners Announced, $200K to Adonne Khare, $100K to Design 99

Over 47,000 voters and a handful of art critics cast their ballots for ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the winners of this year’s competition have been announced.

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Post image for Slimming Down the Short Lists: A Look at 10 ArtPrize Finalists

Most of the year, the art world’s attention is focused on the big, international cities: New York, London, Miami Beach, LA, Basel, etc. But starting in the fall of 2009, ArtPrize put the far lesser-known city of Grand Rapids, Michigan on the art world map. ArtPrize quickly became famous in part for its openness — anyone over 18 may enter their artwork; in part for its voting style — often described as American Idol–like, with anyone allowed to register and vote; and in part for the large sums of money it gives away — $200,000 for the winner of the public vote, another $160,000 for the others in the public top 10, plus a new $100,000 Grand Juried prize this year and five more $20,000 juried awards in specific categories. That’s a whole lot of prize money.

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