New curatorial fellowship and venue grant programs to support exhibitions; evening programming expands the ArtPrize visitor experience beyond traditional venue hours.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., MARCH 12, 2015 – ArtPrize, the radically open international art competition, today announced new Curatorial Fellowship and Venue Grant programming designed to support the innovators that make ArtPrize possible. Also new to the seventh annual edition will be ArtPrize Tonight, an event series that will bring vibrancy to the ArtPrize experience beyond traditional venue hours.

In addition to half a million dollars in awards, ArtPrize will also be awarding $220,000 through a host of support grants intended to encourage further possibilities for surprising, challenging, and ambitious work at the 2015 event.

“As ArtPrize matures as an organization, we continue to seek out ways to broaden the support we give to venues, artists, and educators,” commented Christian Gaines, ArtPrize Executive Director. “New and updated ArtPrize grant programs allow us to support as well as reward the innovators that make ArtPrize a success each year.”

Grants totaling $220,000

Artist Seed Grants, launched in 2014 with the support of the Frey Foundation, awards 25 artists a $2,000 grant. This program will continue in 2015, funding ambitious ArtPrize entries from artists that demonstrate both financial need and artistic merit. ArtPrize Pitch Night will also continue for a third year, expanding to include events in Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Durham, and New York City. Each event will elicit work from five artists who will have five minutes to sell their public art concept to a panel of art experts. The winner will be awarded a $5,000 grant and a spot on a prominent venue in downtown Grand Rapids.

ArtPrize Education Days drew over 13,000 students from across the state of Michigan to the 2014 event, through programming supported by a series of grants. In 2015, $41,000 will be given to ArtPrize institutional partners to create innovative programming with their artists for visiting students. ArtPrize will also award $9,000 in transportation grants to help offset field trip costs and ensure that school groups are able to visit ArtPrize.

In addition to these artist and educator grants, ArtPrize will introduce this year two new grant programs for Venues, which will replace the Exhibition Center and Showcase Venue programs. There are a number of remarkable art institutions that participate as ArtPrize venues each year. In an effort to support their work and spread their exhibition design expertise both within ArtPrize and throughout the year, ArtPrize will introduce the Fellowship for Emerging Curators during the seventh annual event.

This fellowship presents a unique opportunity for emerging curators to gain valuable experience by working with a curator at an established ArtPrize institutional venue. The Fellows will work alongside each institution’s curatorial department as they create their ArtPrize exhibit, as well as curate and produce their own ArtPrize exhibition at a separate location under the mentorship of the institutional curator. The partners participating in this pilot year of the Fellowship for Emerging Curators include the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Kendall College of Art and Design, SiTE:LAB and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts. The application period for Curatorial Fellows opens today and will continue through April 6.

Additionally, ArtPrize will support venues through a series of Venue Grants. Similar to the Artist Seed Grant program, every venue is encouraged to apply for the opportunity to receive grants ranging from $500 to $5,000 each, for a total of $30,000. Venues can complete the simple online application form, available starting today, as they register to participate in ArtPrize 2015. The deadline for Venue Grant applications is April 6, prior to the April 9 Venue Registration deadline. Find details for both the ArtPrize Fellowship for Emerging Curators and Venue Grants at

“Curators play an essential role in ArtPrize, placing each artwork within a context that has the power to amplify, extend, and deepen the artist’s original intent,” noted Kevin Buist, ArtPrize Exhibitions Director. “The ArtPrize Fellowship for Emerging Curators and the Venue Grants are both intended to highlight and support this essential work.”

The hallmark feature of the ArtPrize event—the prizes—will continue to feature two grand prizes of $200,000 each, one decided by public vote, the other decided by a panel of three jurors. There will also continue to be eight artist awards based on category—half decided by the public and half by expert jury. These category awards will account for a combined $100,000, or $12,500 each, with the continuation of the additional Outstanding Venue Juried Award, also worth $12,500.

ArtPrize Tonight

In addition to new and updated grant programming, ArtPrize will introduce expanded evening programming at the seventh annual event. Throughout the 19-day event, ArtPrize Tonight will showcase events in three categories—Critical Discourse, ArtPrize On Screen, and ArtPrize On Stage—intended to highlight creative expression through music, performance, video, and film.

“Evenings at ArtPrize have been a staple of the ArtPrize experience,” noted Todd Herring, ArtPrize Creative Director. “The city fills with parties and nightlife while art lovers enjoy outdoor art and venues open late. The ArtPrize Tonight series capitalizes on this energy, highlighting the music, performance, video, and film that bring vibrancy to the ArtPrize experience.”

A 7-day series of panel discussions and art critiques which includes the televised Why These Finalists? programs, Critical Discourse features prominent voices in contemporary art and design. The events walk the line between irreverence and critical debate. Informative and challenging, Critical Discourse is charged conversation providing art world context to the ArtPrize event.

Through a collaborative partnership with the Waterfront Film Festival, ArtPrize On Screen presents a series of film, video, and interactive works screenings at various venues across downtown Grand Rapids. And ArtPrize On Stage brings the energy of live performance to the ArtPrize night scene. Curated by St. Cecilia Music Center, the performances will take place at multiple venues across downtown Grand Rapids, including Rosa Parks Circle. Together, these three event series will bring comprehensive evening programming to ArtPrize, encouraging visitors to explore the event and our city after hours.

ArtPrize 2015 will take place from September 23 to October 11 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Venue registration is currently open, and any space within the ArtPrize district can sign up to host artists’ artwork and visitors from around the world.

By Jaenell Woods on