Saturday, September 03, 2011

Michigan's ArtPrize Competition Continues To Grow and Evolve

ArtPrize 2011: September 21 - October 9
Grand Rapids, Michigan

I've posted a few times in the past when ArtPrize first started-in perhaps what was percieved as the least likely place-Michigan.

It's continued success comes as no surprise to me--raising the very real question--why is this type of open ended invitation for creative interaction between communities and the wider world still so rare?

A good recent article from The Washington Post--which is covering some of the D.C. area artists participating.

Started in 2009 by Rick DeVos, with funding from his family foundation, the showcase now attracts 1, 582 artists from 36 countries and 42 states. The competition is spread over 164 venues around Grand Rapids, an approach which won an “Our Town” grant from the National Endowment for the Arts in July. “We want to reboot the conversation with the public around the arts,” said Catherine Creamer, the executive director of ArtPrize.

The unusual exhibition style is combined with a departure from the expert juried panels. From the opening on September 21 until September 28 the public votes on all the art. Then the Top 10 works are announced on September 29 and the public can cast one vote for its favorite until October 5. The festival closes October 9.

In spite of lots of buzz, I can't help feeling the "professional, institutional arts infrastructure is just trying to ignore all the implied potential here. Thankfully, many artist's are not.

"ArtPrize appealed to her because “it’s a very different concept. The public is voting, and you are getting unbelievable exposure,” Hester said .

In Grand Rapids the work is displayed for 19 days. The venues range from a coffee shop to a mechanics workshop to a theater. “We wanted to bring artists together and let the public curate,” said Creamer, the program’s executive director. The boundary of the displays are 3 -square miles from downtown Grand Rapids."

Anyone from the wider, Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia or Ohio Region participating or attending? What are your thoughts?

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