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ArtPrize: Twittering, Tweeting, the Buzz is building

I am so geeked about ArtPrize.  The first ArtPrize stories are hitting Facebook,, TV stations and blog and web pages like Social Diary and I’m sure national publications.

What has me immediately excited is the larger than life mural already in the works on the side of the seven-story Kendall College of Art and Design Building in Grand Rapids.

It has brought out the photographers and gawkers already and will be great fun to document the progress.  Designed and executed by Chicago artist, Jeff Zimmermann, it will be one of the most visible of the hundreds of  entries in ArtPrize.

A party has already been hosted in Jeff’s honor, more than a month from the official start of ArtPrize.  Other events are being scheduled, posted on Facebook, Twitter and invitations printed and stuffed into mailboxes. If I were still writing Fashion for the Grand Rapids Press, I’d be thinking about doing stories about What to Wear to all these events.    The ArtPrize organization hosted a huge event for the hundreds of volunteers, whipping them into frenzy over the fun to be had.


Folks who have volunteered to host artists are getting guest rooms ready, making sure all is in order for the creative folks hitting town in the next few weeks.  Martha Stewart would be all over this, giving her advice for achieving hostess perfection, if she lived here.

I remember last year that in September I was on a road trip in Colorado ending ironically in an Art Capital of sorts, Sante Fe when ArtPrize made the scene.   I was touring the galleries located in this art focused community  missing a major ART Happening here in my hometown.  It drove me crazy.

But this year I’m firmly planted here on the West Coast of Michigan, ready to enjoy it all. I am looking forward to  the controversy and conversation.

In coffee houses, over glasses of wine and on the social media,  the questions and conversation will swirl:  What is art?  For example, a recent article revealed that an industrial designer is proposing a new design for a bicycle be entered as an Art Prize entry.  Is his idea Art?

If so, where does it fit into the total scheme of things? What are the boundaries?   And  how should art be displayed?  Last year  a huge art folk  table and chair was installed on top of a working bridge. Was that art? Or a spectacular promotion?   Who is to say what art is? Curators only? Can the community really be the judge?

Who will the A list of artists be? The rock stars?

Stay tuned.  Before this is all over, there will be many more questions posed. Please join me in the conversation.

About ArtPrize®

Designed as a very different art competition, the goal is for the general public and artists to collide, exchange ideas and come away changed.

2010 in brief

Grand Rapids, MI USA

September 22 – October 10

$449,000 prize ($250,000 to 1st place)

Top 10 entries receive a prize

Artists can submit one entry

Property in downtown Grand Rapids can be a venue

Venues choose the artists they exhibit

Anyone attending the event can vote

Winner is determined by public vote

Post Author
Susan J. Smith
Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.


  1. posted by
    Cindy Schad`
    Aug 22, 2010 Reply

    We are excited about Art Prize this year! I can hardly wait to “prowl” around GR and view all the great “creative ideas”:)

  2. posted by
    R. Lyle Boatman, ASID
    Aug 22, 2010 Reply

    While I wouldn’t have changed anything about my recent trip to Grand Rapids and the Midwest, I do wish that it had been later in the season. This would have given great opportunity to eavesdrop on the “artful” conversations in pubs and bistros, coffee houses and bars. Hopefully there will be some fun people watching too. Enjoy the season! Who knows; perhaps Grand Rapids will become the Paris of the Midwest!

  3. posted by
    Aug 22, 2010 Reply

    Maybe next year you can come at the beginning of ArtPrize before your semester starts. I think you’d enjoy!

  4. posted by
    Margaret Cheff
    Aug 23, 2010 Reply

    I, too, remember lamenting that we weren’t in GR for Art Prize last year….not the case this year, thankfully. Thanks for your nice article…even got me looking at the calendar to make sure I included the Art Prize dates! Can’t wait!

  5. posted by
    Kim Cornetet
    Aug 24, 2010 Reply

    If you could come for 2 nights, 3 days during art prize…what day should they be???

  6. posted by
    Aug 25, 2010 Reply

    I’d suggest one of the weekends because the venue hours are longer. There is an events calendar on the ArtPrize web page. You might want to check that especially if you are interested in attending any of the lectures at the Federal building. Interesting line up of speakers.

  7. posted by
    ArtPrize: See the mammoth mural taking shape | DesignDestinations
    Sep 7, 2010 Reply

    […] team hard at work.  I’ll be back in a week or so to check the progress at the countdown to ArtPrize opening day […]

  8. posted by
    ArtPrize: Just what do you say when faced with 1700 works of art? | DesignDestinations
    Sep 20, 2010 Reply

    […] it all about? ArtPrize. The second year of the 19-day art extravaganza that has taken over our town.  More than 1700 […]

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