Archives for posts with tag: ArtPrize7

For those who are not familiar with ArtPrize, here’s a quick run-down of what the contest is about and how it comes together (grossly oversimplified here; visit for fuller information).

1. Venues

Any space that’s within the 3-square-mile area of downtown Grand Rapids that makes up the ArtPrize district can register to be a venue for a fee of $100. Once registered, venues use the ArtPrize website to connect with artists whose work they’d like to show. Those who want to work on spaces but do not have their own can consider curating others’ spaces. ArtPrize offers more than $40,000 in grants to qualified venues to help them set up their exhibit. There is also an award for best venue.

2. Artists 

Any artist, from anywhere in the world, who is at least 18 years old can enter a work in the contest, unless they won a public vote or juried award in the previous year’s contest. First, artists must register (2015 fee was $50). Then artists use the ArtPrize website to connect with venues and come to an agreement with one of them. Once an artist has found a venue, they are “accepted” into ArtPrize.

Artists can offer their work for sale on their profile on the ArtPrize website, but all negotiations and payment are between the artist and the buyer; ArtPrize doesn’t process payments or take a commission on sales.

3. The Artworks 

ArtPrize accepts entries in four categories: 2D, 3D, Time-Based, and Installation. Images of many 2015 entries are listed on the ArtPrize website–just click “Find Art” at the top of the ArtPrize site’s front page to start looking!

4. The Votes

Members of the public who attend ArtPrize can vote for the works of art that they find most deserving of prizes. The easiest way to vote seems to be to download the ArtPrize app. You can register as a voter via the app or the ArtPrize website. The first round of voting opens on Wednesday, September 23 at noon. Each artwork will include an Artist Vote Code. Voters can use this code to vote for an artwork via the app, by texting the Artist Vote Code to 808080, or by visiting a voting site in Grand Rapids.

5. The Prizes 

The prize total has varied somewhat from year to year. Last year, a total of $540,000 in prizes was awarded. This year, the total will be $500,000. If you include all the grants that are available for venues and artists, you get over $700,000. There are potentially two winners in each art category (see #3, above). The public vote winner and the juried award winner in each category win a prize of $12,500. Then there are two grand prizes–one public vote and one juried–each of which is a $200,000 prize. Another award of $12,500 is given to an outstanding venue.

So, that’s how ArtPrize works, in a nutshell. The reality is an amazing three-week event that takes hundreds of thousands of hours of work from thousands of people to bring to a reality. Here’s the 2013 video for a glimpse of what all that work creates.


Do you know ArtPrize? It is ONLY the world’s largest art contest. This year, more than 1,500 artists are competing for $500k in cash prizes. That’s right. Five hundred thousand dollars. It’s huge.  

My photo of last year's winner, Intersections.

For 19 days every fall, ArtPrize transforms 3 square miles of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan (GR) into a giant art gallery with more than 160 venues. Every big hotel, art museum, hometown brewery, abandoned building, and shiny bank lobby becomes a venue. I attended ArtPrize for the first time last year, and I loved it so much that I’m going again this year. I said then, and I say now, “It’s the SXSW of art!” (except there’s no free BBQ or beer). ArtPrize7 begins next week on September 23, but I’ll be there from September 30 through October 6. To prepare, I’ve been following all things ArtPrize-related on Twitter, I downloaded the ArtPrize app, and I’ve been checking out the artists and their works. I’m prioritizing, friends, because ArtPrize is FREE to attend, and you know that means there will be some lines!

There are actually some cool events before ArtPrize even begins. The Grand Rapids Art Museum opens its ArtPrize7 exhibition Nature/Nurture on September 17. That’s tomorrow! If you’re in GR you can see the exhibit before the contest even begins (a good idea because the line is always long there during ArtPrize).

Tons of new things have been added this year, too. I’m excited about the new evening programming (nearly all art venues close around dinner time), which include comedy, music, and some films with participation from the Waterfront Film Festival. It turns out I’ll miss the films, which are scheduled for Sept. 25 through 27, but I’m looking forward to digging in to the rest of the ArtPrize Tonight schedule.

I’ll write several more posts about ArtPrize in the next few weeks, but before I close this one: It’s  not too late if you want to go! If you live near enough to drive to Grand Rapids for a day visit, take a look at The Rapids’s (GR’s bus system) tips for attending ArtPrize. You can park your car at Park & Rides in various spots around town and then take a bus downtown to see the venues. Those coming from farther afield: book a flight to GRR (Gerald R. Ford International Airport) for any time between September 23 and October 11. Book a hotel in Grand Rapids. I read that hotels have sold a record number of rooms, but you can probably still find one. A number of hotels near the airport provide shuttles to and from downtown GR for the duration of ArtPrize.

So, what do you think? Are you doing ArtPrize7?