ArtPrize to bring 500K visitors downtown


"Wounded Warrior Dog No. 1: Iraq" was part of the "Wounded Warrior Dogs" entry at Amway Grand Plaza during ArtPrize Eight. The 3-D entry by James Mellick of Milford Center, Ohio won the $200,000 public vote grand prize. Photo via

The world’s largest public art competition is gearing up for its ninth run, Sept. 20-Oct. 8, in downtown Grand Rapids.

ArtPrize Nine will feature 1,346 artist entries from 41 U.S. states and 47 countries, on display at 175 venues across the three-square-mile event district.

Offering more than $500,000 in prize money, $270,000 in grants and $37,500 in independently sponsored awards, ArtPrize draws 500,000 visitors annually — almost 70,000 of them from out of state — and has an estimated economic impact of $28 million per year.

Top awards include a $200,000 prize awarded by public vote and another $200,000 prize awarded by a jury of art experts, as well as $100,000 in other awards.

Two rounds of voting decide the prize winners — the first round narrowing the field to the top 20 public vote choices as well as the top 20 selected by the jury.

New this year, public voters and the jury will have the opportunity to consider all 40 finalists, regardless of how they were selected, when choosing the winners of their respective awards — including the two $200,000 grand prizes and $100,000 in category awards.

“ArtPrize is known for comparing and contrasting popular and professional opinions between critic and consumer — placing them on a spectrum and shining a spotlight on the tension that connects them,” said Christian Gaines, ArtPrize executive director. “We want this update to the awards structure to draw attention to this connection and tension by asking both to consider the other’s picks.”

Category and grand prize winners will be announced at the ArtPrize Awards Ceremony at 9 p.m., Oct. 6, at 20 Monroe Live!, 11 Ottawa Ave. NW, and broadcast live from Rosa Parks Circle.

Dozens of community- and ArtPrize-hosted events will be held throughout the 19-day competition — including meet-and-greets with artists, the ArtPrize Studio Series, Critical Discourse Series and an array of family-oriented events.

Visitors may find more information about events, voting, venues and artists online.

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