Monday, October 12, 2009


Last Thursday a friend and I traveled about an hour north to Grand Rapids, MI to check out ArtPrize. Rick DeVos, a super rich guy and an art lover, spearheaded this event and it was amazing! From the website here are the basics about ArtPrize:

At ArtPrize, any artist—from established to emerging—has the chance to show work. Any visitor can vote. The vote will determine who wins the largest art prize in the world. We also took the unusual step to allow people in the city to open a venue and choose the artists to show in their space. There is not one official curator or jury for the competition.

The number of venues is fluid, so the number of competing artists is fluid. The possibilities are wide open.

We can't predict what will happen, but it should be a lot of fun finding out. Come and see.

Top prize: $250,000

Dates: September 23 - October 10

Location: Grand Rapids, MI USA

Winner is determined by public vote. (Lorrie's note: kind of the American Idol of the art world)

All attendees of the event can vote.

Top 10 entries will receive a prize.

Multiple artists can collaborate on an entry.

Artists may only submit one entry.

Property owners/renters in downtown Grand Rapids can become a venue.

Number of artists represented is only limited by number of venues that become available.

So off we went to check it out:

Grand Rapids is nicknamed Furniture City because of all the fine wood furniture makers that have set up shop here over the years. (Although not known for their fine woodworking, the best known company currently is probably Steelcase.) This giant table and chairs is on a pedestrian bridge over the Grand River and was done by Sarah Grant. Anyone that spends time in some "up north" galleries will recognize her rustic and quirky furniture style. 8th place.

This picture was taken from the pedestrian bridge that I just showed you. This is called the Grand Dance by David Lubbers, 4th place.

This is Nessie by the Nessie Project. If you look closely in the lower right of the furniture picture you can see how she is placed in the river and how big she really is. 6th place.

The following pictures are pieces that I thought were interesting but I didn't make note of the names of the artists.

This piece was outside and quite large (over 6 feet tall). It is made of wood. Just beautiful.

These wood tiles comprised a very large piece (+10 feet?). The encaustic colors were luminous.

Tile mosaics. A Bird in the Hand.

Painted strips of wood, probably 8 feet tall.

In the end they had placed 1,262 artists at 159 venues and counted 334,219 votes! It sure seemed like the overwhelming majority of the artists were from Michigan. Given the downtrodden state of our State, I find pride in this. Julie and I spent about 4 hours there exploring many indoor and outdoor venues. It wasn't nearly enough to see what was being shown but we got a great taste of the event and the art and enjoyed our day immensely.

I took more pictures than I'm showing you here. In my next post I'm going to give you a quiz to see if you can figure out what materials several pieces are made from. Also, the grand prize winner. Stay tuned...


1 comment:

Joanne Huffman said...

Since I didn't make it, I really appreciate seeing the photos.

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