DALLAS, TX NOVEMBER 20, 2014 – A new Dallas-based non-profit has entered into a three-year charter agreement with ArtPrize in Grand Rapids to launch and steward a new, independently organized international art competition to be known as ArtPrize Dallas. The nineteen-day event is slated to launch in Dallas, Texas in April 2016. The new event will be the first of its kind to form outside of Grand Rapids, and will be exclusive in the southwest region, including Colorado and Utah. Up to $500,000 in cash prizes and grants will be awarded to artists in its first year, and the event is expected to draw thousands of visitors from Texas and throughout the United States.

“ArtPrize Dallas will create a lasting impact on the culture of Dallas by engaging and nurturing future artists and promoting a meaningful discussion of art and its role in society," commented Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings. "Utilizing the same public/private partnership structure that has allowed our City to become a world-class art destination, ArtPrize Dallas will highlight the creativity and innovative spirit that is such a major part of our City today.”

Founded in 2009 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, ArtPrize is an international art competition open to any artist and decided by public vote and expert jury. It invites artists to try out new ideas on a large and diverse population of people. It seeks to broaden the critical dialogue around contemporary art by awarding $560,000, including two $200,000 grand prizes—the world’s largest prizes for contemporary art. Registered artists and venues connect online at artprize.org and agree to present the artwork for public display during the 19-day event. The public registers and votes using mobile devices and the web to determine half of the prize money, with the remaining amount decided by a jury of international art experts.

ArtPrize 2014 included 1,536 entries representing 51 countries and 42 U.S. states and territories showing at 174 venues including art museums, galleries, bars, coffee shops, stores, hotel lobbies, public parks, bridges, laundromats, and auto body shops. ArtPrize now annually attracts more than 400,000 active art lovers and in just 2013 alone, recorded a $22.2 million direct economic impact on the city of Grand Rapids. Since its inception, more than 2.4 million votes have been cast for public art and $3.1 million in cash prizes has been distributed to artists. The seventh edition of ArtPrize will take place in Grand Rapids from September 23 – October 11, 2015.

“ArtPrize Dallas is a natural next chapter in the ArtPrize story,” said ArtPrize Founder and Board Chairman Rick DeVos. “It will create a dynamic pathway between our cities of new artistic, cultural, social, professional, and economic opportunities for artists and spectators. The possibilities are thrilling.”

Through this innovative partnership with ArtPrize Dallas, the ArtPrize organization will bring some key components from Grand Rapids to Dallas: the ArtPrize suite of technology-based engagement tools, including platforms for artist and venue registration and connection, voter activation and management, mobile app build and deployment, social media integration and content management; complete training and support for the Dallas-based ArtPrize team in the areas of event production, artist support, education, venue hosting, marketing, communications, retail, sponsorship, membership, and volunteer coordination; trademark licensing around ArtPrize marks and consultation around ArtPrize systems, methodologies, and guiding principles.

Ariel Saldivar, who will serve as the Executive Director of ArtPrize Dallas, has been working closely with the Dallas arts, culture, corporate, and philanthropic communities, as well as with ArtPrize in Grand Rapids for several months to found the Dallas non-profit and craft the agreement. Until recently, Saldivar served as the Associate Director of the Dallas-based Goss-Michael Foundation, supporting public engagement with emerging and mid-career British artists. Under her leadership, a successful Artist-In-Residence program was established to bridge international and local artists. Saldivar has curated and advised on contemporary art collections and lectured internationally on art and design. Ariel is an award-winning designer, entrepreneur, and former indie rock musician who holds an MA in Art Business. Joining Saldivar as a consultant on the nascent ArtPrize Dallas team is Dallas-based award-winning filmmaker, fundraiser, and entrepreneur Michael Cain.

“ArtPrize Dallas will change the way people think about and approach art in Dallas, because it will truly be an open, inclusive, and welcoming event for everyone,” said Saldivar. “ArtPrize Dallas will support and celebrate artists through prizes, grants, career-building opportunities, sales opportunities, broad exposure, and seed grants, with a special focus on Dallas artists.”

The newly founded 501(c) 3 has garnered the support of Dallas city officials including Mayor Mike Rawlings and has also seen widespread, cross-institutional support from Downtown Dallas Inc., the Dallas art and design communities, and many of the region’s major arts education institutions.

"We are pleased to welcome ArtPrize to Dallas in 2016. ArtPrize Dallas will bring the public together to interact with contemporary art from international and local artists in a variety of creative venues throughout downtown. We look forward to collectively bringing this opportunity to fruition," said John Crawford, President & CEO, Downtown Dallas, Inc.

In addition to the community and institutional support needed to launch the community-wide event, Saldivar and her team have already garnered major financial commitments from corporations, foundations, and philanthropists eager to see ArtPrize Dallas become a sustainable arts and cultural institution in the southwest.    

The ArtPrize Dallas district will encompass a three-mile radius from the heart of downtown, serving as the boundary for participating Venues and the heart of the public vote. The first iteration of ArtPrize Dallas is scheduled to launch in April 2016.

By Jaenell Woods on