GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — ArtPrize will make a catalytic gift of its creative, technological and communications platforms to a new partnership for a new experiment that will build upon the legacy of the international art competition, effectively “ArtPrize 2.0.”
Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., the City of Grand Rapids and KCAD will collectively lead this new initiative, ArtPrize officials announced in a press release Thursday.
The ArtPrize board of directors expressed “deep appreciation” to the entire community for 13 years of partnership and support as it winds down its operations.
“What started as an experiment in 2009 quickly became something more, and we have an entire community to thank for embracing the ArtPrize idea and taking it to amazing heights,” said ArtPrize Founder and Chairman Rick DeVos. “Together, we were able to stimulate thought and creativity by celebrating art, supporting artists, exploring familiar and not-so-familiar venues, and starting entirely new conversations.
“While there are certainly mixed emotions, we know the time is right to conclude the original ArtPrize experiment and open up space for new energy and creativity,” DeVos added. “We are thrilled that the partnership of DGRI, KCAD, and the City of Grand Rapids is stepping forward to continue to produce an incredible fall event.”
Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss echoed those sentiments.
“Every destination community has a destination event that captures the spirit and aspirations of that community,” Bliss said. “For us, ArtPrize has been a manifestation of the independent creative spirit that defines Grand Rapids, and has captured the imagination of people from around the world.
“Rick DeVos and the ArtPrize Board have laid out a roadmap and a foundation that we’re grateful for and excited to build upon,” she added.
ArtPrize has held 13 events since 2009 and awarded more than $6 million through a combination of public votes, juried awards and grants. Millions of people across the globe have participated in ArtPrize in some fashion – displaying their work, performing, opening their spaces, volunteering, or visiting and enjoying Grand Rapids each fall.
The experimental ArtPrize event made headlines since its earliest days for its “radically” open structure. The event generated local, national and international headlines as journalists and others openly questioned if the public should be empowered to determine top art.
Many voted in support, with their time, energy and apps on their cell phones, participating in a concept that celebrated artists working in all mediums from anywhere in the world – and one that was open to any creative with an artwork to enter and a venue willing to host it.
For 18 days each year, art was exhibited throughout the city in public parks and museums, in galleries and storefronts, in bars and on bridges. ArtPrize annually awarded $450,000 directly to artists.
Ran Ortner, with his “Open Water no.24,” was the original ArtPrize grand prize winner in 2009, as determined by public vote. He netted $250,000 for the honor, the largest monetary art prize at the time. In 2010, four juried awards were added to the competition and ArtPrize continued to evolve over the years to keep the experience fresh and surprising.