Monday, September 26, 2011

ArtPrize Part 1

Have you heard of ArtPrize?  If not, you need to ask someone....  What is ArtPrize?

"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."

With top prize being $250,000 and $244,000 in other prizes, why wouldn't you apply?

What is exciting about ArtPrize is that anyone can apply, the public votes for the big prizes, so anyone can win.  Placing the power on the public eye is an incredible opportunity.  What I enjoyed the most was hearing people publicly pronounce what they think of art.  How exciting!  Coming from an artist, I can say that I often consider what I want my artwork to do, but don't often get to hear what it is doing.

Yes, there was certainly a lot of "My Kid Could Do That" but what I also heard was "This is the wrong room for that", "That is just the right height" and, one of my favorites "I'd buy that."  Even if you don't win prizes as an artist entered in the competition, I've heard that there is still a lot of artwork that gets sold, so that is pretty exciting.

I downloaded my iphone app, prepared myself for voting and walked around for about five hours on Saturday.   I know I didn't even come close to seeing it all, but of what I saw, here are some of my favorite art works, venues and collaborations...

This collaboration between Site:Lab and U and M School of Art and Design.  Site:Lab is a non-profit organization that brings together vacant buildings and projects in the Grand Rapids area and students and faculty from U and M School of Art and Design took over this incredible 3 story building and filled it with sculpture, interactive and performative work.  Definitely one of my favorite buildings.

Guiding Light Mission - A message about the attempt to void education in the midwest

Nice collection of handmade work as well as video installation at the Calvin (106) Gallery

The digital print of Mimi Kato is still one of my absolute favorites.  Kato calls the work her "one person theatre" since she performed each character in this twenty foot long print inspired by the style of 16th century Japanese paintinigs.  The painting critically depicts the daily routines of people living in ordinary suburban towns in Japan and is aptly titled "One Ordinary Day of an Ordinary Town" and was showcased at the Kendall College of Art and Design Galleries.

Also being shown in the Kendall Galleries is the work of Johnathon Brilliant who sculpts room size installations from ordinary objects like wooden coffee stir sticks and paper coffee cups.

I also really enjoyed the prints he made from the impression of the wooden sticks run through the press in the printmaking department.

The huge lizards by Juniper Tangpuz installed outside of the Devos Place building.  The chameleons are constructed of corrogated plastic and zip ties and are super fun and colorful.  This one was on of my favorites because he has a craft lamp post coming out of his head.  Talk about trying to blend in with his settings!

Love these little candy-like treats made of reclaimed foam and rubber by Joni Younkins-Herzog.  They look like little bunt cakes!


This incredible installed painting on panel by the Screwed Arts Collective at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts was a great way to wrap things up.  I would really love to show at this venue.

If you are interested in applying for ArtPrize I would say take the time to visit Grand Rapids now, get a feel for the land, the venues and opportunities to install art anywhere in the city, vote and apply next year with me!


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