ArtPrize

Artprize certainly has its detractors. Some of the flak is justified, but mostly, this fair rocks! Here is a post about my experience exhibiting in 2012.

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ABOVE: My ArtPrize entry installed at the Fountain Street Church

In my last entry, I wrote about the meaning behind one of my pieces (Escape). In this entry, I am going to write about my experience showing it at last year’s ArtPrize.

ArtPrize is an international art competition held in Grand Rapids, Michigan every fall.

To be eligible to compete, artists need to connect with and secure a venue within the downtown core. Art is everywhere with venues ranging from parks and parking garages, to the Grand Rapids Art Museum. Some artworks are very small, others are incredibly large.

Many of these venues are heavily travelled and tightly curated, many more are not. As you can imagine, the quality of work in the city ranges from the exceptionally good, to the extraordinarily bad.

Once people register in person, they are free to wander the city and vote for their favorite artists. There are two rounds of voting. The first determines the top ten. The second determines the winner of ArtPrize. Predictably, there are plenty who disagree with the public’s choice.

To counteract this and to bring the art world onside, critics and established artists are also invited to award prizes. Last year, New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz was one of the jurors as was the artist Theaster Gates.

My ArtPrize venue was the Fountain Street Church. In keeping with its reputation for being very left-wing in a very right-wing town, the exhibition was curated by the ACLU and the art on display was deeply political.

Although it wasn’t one of the heavily travelled venues, it was remarkably well received by the jurors and was shortlisted in the most outstanding venue category (top 5 out of 162). It didn’t win.

ArtPrize was a truly unique experience and while I won’t be participating this year, I will likely do so again in the future.

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