A Guide to Artprize in Grand Rapids Mi

It’s time to “get your culture on” in Grand Rapids, Michigan, via ArtPrize! What exactly is ArtPrize? ArtPrize, an international showcase and competition for artists in a vast array of media, is happening now (September 23 – October 10) in Grand Rapids. For two weeks, this West Michigan city becomes a giant art gallery. Artists exhibit their work at “venues” within the ArtPrize boundaries, and compete for prizes. The ArtPrize boundaries are:

* North – Leonard Street
* South – Wealthy Street
* East – College Avenue
* West – Straight/Alpine Avenue

Within the ArtPrize boundaries, there are dozens of properties serving as ArtPrize venues. The venues select the artists who show in their space and agree to be open a the minimum hours of 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday – Thursday; 12 p.m. – 10 p.m. Friday & Saturday, and 12 p.m. – 6 p.m. on Sunday. There is no admission fee charged by venues during the ArtPrize event.

The ArtPrize competition is international, with the ten top finalists winning cash prizes. The top award is $250,000, so this event is no small potatoes! The public votes on the “work,” which is the complete entry of one artist or a group of collaborating artists. The work can be as big as the venue allows, and artists negotiate with venue owners for space. Artists participating in ArtPrize do not have to live in Grand Rapids; however, artists are encouraged to stay in Grand Rapids during the two-week event to gain support for their work and be available to discuss it with the public.

ArtPrize is won by the artist(s) receiving the highest number of votes. Those who attend ArtPrize register to vote on site at venues, and anyone who attends is eligible to vote. Registered voters place their actual votes online at www.artprize.orgor via text messaging. On October 1, 2009, the top ten works receiving the most votes will be announced. Those works can then be voted on until October 8th, when the winning work will be announced. In addition to the first place prize of $250,000, there are awards of $100,000 for 2nd place; $50,000 for third; and $7,000 each for seven finalists.

There are several packages available for ArtPrize, known as the “ArtPrize Experience.” The public is offered “wristband deals” that get you preferred access to ArtPrize events and free ArtPrize shuttle events, plus deals from downtown merchants:

* The “Experience Package” – $15 – includes an official voter wristband and an event guide.

* The “Experience Package Plus” – $25 – includes everything in the Experience Package AND an ArtPrize T-shirt.

* Various venues and businesses are offering additional specials, such as discounts on framing, art, jewelry, food and beverages, and retail purchases; discount admission to museums, the Grand Rapids Ballet, The Grand Rapids Symphony, and more, and free drink refills with purchase of merchandise.

In conjunction with ArtPrize, there will be a Blues Walk… an opportunity to walk through some of the ArtPrize venues during the lunch hour and see some of the outdoor pieces. Visitors can “Walk and Talk” along a roughly one-mile route on a self-guided tour of these venues and the art on display.

If you think ArtPrize is just for paintings and “wall art,” think again! Furniture, kinetic sculpture, sculpture in several forms (including a moose made entirely from welded steel nails), mosaics, art lighted by solar energy, and more are offered for enjoyment and competition. ArtPrize offers the public an opportunity to truly experience art in a variety of forms, by artists from around the world. The atmosphere is fun, creative, and truly innovative, and with no formal juries, curators or judges, the public truly does control the outcome of the competition. In this manner, ArtPrize brings artists and the public together in a truly unique manner… and everyone wins.

To learn more about ArtPrize – or to vote on the entries, go to www.ArtPrize.org