Tonight, after revealing the design for the ninth annual event, ArtPrize announced an update to the art competition’s awards structure that will allow the public and jury to consider all forty finalists when awarding their respective prizes.

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan (APRIL 20, 2017) -- ArtPrize, the independently organized art competition heralded as the world’s largest annual public art event, tonight announced to a capacity crowd at the ArtPrize Nine Premiere Event a change to the voting rules that will blend both critical and popular opinions at the ninth annual event. Concurrently, the organization revealed the annual event design for ArtPrize Nine, designed by Conduit Studio, which will blanket the city this fall. Artist registration for ArtPrize Nine is underway through June 8 at 5p.m. EST.

Changes to the Vote

At its core, ArtPrize is an evolving experiment where change is embraced and encouraged. The public vote has been central to the event since its inception. In 2010, the ArtPrize team introduced a series of prizes decided by jury -- increasing their weight each year until 2014 when the parallel award structure was introduced, with two tracks of public vote and juried awards with equal prize amounts.

The prizes are awarded through two rounds. The first round narrows down the field of 1,500 artist entries to two sets of finalists -- twenty decided by public vote and twenty by expert jury. New in 2017, the second round will remove the distinction between the two sets of finalists, bringing them together to form a pool of up to forty finalists. The voting public and jury of art experts will have the opportunity to consider all forty 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 highlighting the distinction between popular and professional opinions, between critic and consumer -- placing them on a spectrum and shining a light on the tension that connects them,” said Christian Gaines, ArtPrize Executive Director. “We hope this update to the awards structure will draw attention to this connection and tension by asking both to consider the other’s picks.”

ArtPrize Nine Design

ArtPrize Nine is about celebrating the individual creative act, and the courage it takes to make a mark -- to move from thought to expression. The paint swash and individual graphic elements of the ArtPrize Nine design are a tribute to the thrilling and terrifying moment when an artist makes their first mark.

“It is a moment everyone can relate to,” said John O’Neill, Principal at Conduit Studio. “You feel the tension in your core. Fears and insecurities beg you to play it safe and sidestep vulnerability. Yet, you push forward and commit to the creative act, not because you have resolved your doubts -- but because you have the courage to act in spite of them.”

These singular acts of self-expression take myriad forms at ArtPrize, and are seen in every element of the event -- from the artwork on display to volunteers, venues, sponsors, partners, and in every vote that is cast for art.

“The design is not only a nod to the inception of the creative act but also to the diversity in form those acts take at ArtPrize,” said Todd Herring, ArtPrize Director of Creative and Communications. “While the image includes paint, what you see is a photograph, and in some instances it’s a video capturing the still-wet, uncured oil paint being applied to canvas. Layered amongst the graphic elements, we see two dimensional mediums of painting, drawing, illustration, collage and photography represented, while the video element speaks to the ephemeral, performative mediums like dance, theatre, music, film and live performance.”

The ArtPrize Nine design presents the chaotic charm of the event, the connections and collisions of an endless array of courageous creative acts -- all of which are reflected in a system of glyphs that represent every participant in the massive collaboration that makes ArtPrize possible.

ArtPrize will return to downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan from September 20 to October 8, 2017. Venue registration for the eighth annual event closed on April 6. Artist registration is currently open through June 8 at 5p.m. EST

By Jaenell Woods on