If you missed the inaugural year for ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan last year, no worries: ArtPrize is back. Starting September 22 and running until October 10, 2010, ArtPrize fills downtown Grand Rapids with giant works of art competing for a cool $250,000 prize. What’s ArtPrize, you ask? ArtPrize is a rather simplistic term for what is quite simply the biggest, baddest, most awesome art competition in the world.
Here’s how ArtPrize bills itself: ‘ArtPrize is a radically open competition. Open to any artist in the world who can find space. Open to anybody in Grand Rapids, Michigan who wants to create a venue. Open to a vote from anyone who attends.’
ArtPrize is wonderfully simple and simply wonderful. We aren’t just talking about pretty pictures on the wall of a discreet art gallery, or nice, quiet ceramics with low lights in a grotto. We are talking about gargantuan, bombastic creations from all over the world, strewn along the walls, streets, sidewalks, waterways and bridges of downtown Grand Rapids Michigan. How big, you ask? Big as in a sculpture of Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster seductively weaving among the ripples in the Grand River as it passes the VanAndel Museum Center and under Pearl St. bridge. Big like in a several story ‘Table and Chairs’ set atop the old train bridge. Big as in The Big Red Ball Project wedged in the doorway of the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. Big as in murals that cover entire buildings, sculptures that ascend to the sky. Big and bold and bombastic and beautiful.
Well, that was last fall’s ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan. And that was just the trial run, the maiden voyage for ArtPrize. If 2009 was anything like what we have in store for us, 2010 will knock our socks off and kick all other art competitions out of the water in terms of grandiose. Along with the tidy quarter of a million first prize, a total of close to half a million in assorted prizes are distributed between 10 artisits. Who fronts the prize money? Those nice Devos and VanAndel families, of Amway fame. Who can enter? Anyone: amateurs, students, professional artists, gypsies, vagabonds, you get the picture. Venue selections are closed for this year, so if you’re an artist and want to get in on this fun, go to ArtPrize.org and register early. And who decides upon the prize winners? Well just like it says, folks. We do. The viewing public. We go, we see, we vote. Doesn’t that just make you want to fly, jog, boat or crawl to Grand Rapids to get in on all this fun? Anyone who lives in the same hemisphere as Grand Rapids, Michigan, western or norther, and misses ArtPrize, deserves to be boiled in pink tempera.
To see all the frabjuous entries from ArtPrize 2009, to follow ArtPrize on Twitter or Facebook and to get a heads up on the Artprize lowdown, click here.