Art Prize in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is a wonderful community event which was founded by Rick De Vos in 2009. Art Prize is the largest competition of its kind in the world with over $500,000 in prizes. The public votes for the top Prize ($200,000), along with other prizes. A panel of art critics choses juried awards (top prize $100,000).
Over 1,500 artists from all over the United States and from countries around the world have installed their work in Grand Rapids. See some of the wonderful entries here: http://www.artprize.org/entries.
Most of the artists will never win a prize, though some will sell their art. Many artists spend thousands to install their art, and stick around to talk to us about their work. Some people in our community have artists stay in their homes to reduce the cost of participating in Art Prize.
Cynicism has shown up in two forms.
From the public: I know art when I see it, and that is NOT art.
From artists: Uneducated people (meaning those with no art education) cannot really appreciate art or possibly be qualified to judge it.
But Rick DeVos says the purpose of Art Prize is to have a “conversation about art.” Art Prize increases enthusiasm about art and gives many artists a chance to have their work seen by hundreds of thousands. Thank you, Rick DeVos.
(Me, at the Grand Rapids Art Museum)
I hope you get an opportunity to come and enjoy the conversation.