Posted by: Kath Usitalo | September 13, 2010

ArtPrize: You Be The Judge

Jeff Zimmermann of Chicago paints an eye in his Mural for Grand Rapids, while an assistant (left) colors the background of the massive ArtPrize entry on the side of the Kendall College of Art and Design

You won’t want to miss ArtPrize If…

Zimmermann's ArtPrize mural underway in August

…you’ve ever stared at a painting or sculpture and thought, “This is art?” or “I could do that!”

…you’re a fervent supporter of the arts and never pass up a gallery opening.

…the art museum is your first stop in any city you’re visiting.

…you like gathering with throngs of other folks in an indoor/outdoor happening that is unlike any other event, and happens to include more than 1,700 pieces of art.

…you think the correct answer to, “Who Wants to Be a Quarter Millionaire?” is, “An artist!”

Grand Rapids hosts the second ArtPrize happening September 22-October 10, when more than 1,713 artists will display their creations at 192 sites around the city and the public votes to decide the ultimate winner of the world’s largest art prize: $250,000. Second place receives $100,000, third takes $50,000, and the number 4 – 10 art winners each receive $7,000.

In addition to viewing and voting on the art, there are lectures, art walks, parties, concerts, and the fun of being a part of an event that last year drew more than 200,000 visitors.

Some critics have turned their noses up at the concept that mere folks like you and me can determine what qualifies as art, especially with such a hefty pot of cash in play. Rick DeVos, the Amway heir and entrepreneur who hatched the idea (and whose parents’ Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation is the major sponsor) sees it as a social experiment to engage people and create involvement in and about art.

I didn’t attend the inaugural event in 2009 but visited Grand Rapids a few weeks ago to learn about ArtPrize (and to see the Chihuly exhibit at Frederick Meijer Gardens).

I plan to return later this month to see the finished mural (above), the entry by our friend Christine Welch, and the works of two artists I spoke with for my story about ArtPrize in the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Check it out and plan a visit to Grand Rapids; hotels, including the Amway Grand Plaza, are offering deals.

You may be inspired to enter next year’s event.

Visitor Info Click: Grand Rapids

Travel Michigan: Pure Michigan

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