ArtPrize Announces Event Transition
In a press release dated October 27, 2022, Art Prize announced that the organization is winding down and that the event itself is being transferred to a partnership of community organizations that will hopefully build upon the legacy of ArtPrize and essentially launch “ArtPrize 2.0.”
The local trio of organizations entrusted with creating ArtPrize 2.0 includes Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI), the City of Grand Rapids, and Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD).
“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. 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,” said ArtPrize Founder and Chairman Rick DeVos.
ArtPrize Technology Gifted to Local Entities
The OG ArtPrize organization is not just passing along the event name to its beneficiaries.
They are making a major donation to their successors by handing over the creative, technological, and communications platforms that power ArtPrize.
Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss expressed her gratitude for the gift by saying “Every destination community has a destination event that captures the spirit and aspirations of that community. 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,” she said.
“Rick DeVos and the ArtPrize Board have laid out a roadmap and a foundation that we’re grateful for and excited to build upon.”
Over the years, 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.
Those that remember ArtPrize from the earlier years recall the energy of the event and how the city came alive in a new way. There was a time when art took over every nook and cranny of the city, the river included, and it was mesmerizing.
An Event in Decline
As the years passed, the event lost its novelty.
The sheer amount of volunteer work, both by locals and participating artists, required to put on this event took its toll. The number of participating artists, venues, and volunteers declined. The effects of these changes were evident before the pandemic hit and even more after the event’s pandemic hiatus.
This past year’s ArtPrize was a shell of its former self.
We are not surprised by the decision to wind down and transfer the ArtPrize event. Likely, others in our community were anticipating some kind of change as well.
What this Means for Grand Rapids
We hope that the event’s new caretakers will be able to breathe fresh air into this once-epic production.
How this will be accomplished is yet to be determined. Will there still be prize money? What will encourage artist participation?
If the World of Winter Festival’s growing success is any indication, the ArtPrize organization has chosen its successors wisely. Our city has shown that it can work together to do neat things.
We’re cautiously optimistic that ArtPrize 2.0 will be an event that will inspire, amaze, and lift up this place we call home.