'A Bit of Me in You' (Echo Point) by C.T. Hankins - ArtPrize Nine

GRAND RAPIDS (Michigan) APRIL 18, 2018 — ArtPrize, the independently organized art competition recognized as one of the world’s largest public art event, today announced it experienced a seven percent year-over-year increase in corporate fundraising, with more than 20 high-level funders committed to multi-year sponsorships, representing a total of $3.2 million in booked revenue through 2020. Corporate sponsors now represent nearly 60 percent of the ArtPrize budget.

ArtPrize’s new executive director, Jori Bennett, made the financial and economic impact announcement to a capacity crowd of sponsors, donors, artists and volunteers at the ArtPrize headquarters.

“The ArtPrize team has worked to develop long-term partnerships with our highest-level sponsors that deliver measurable results and creative programming year-over-year. This strategy has led to collaborative relationships with numerous international, national and regional brands,” said Bennett. “For eight years, ArtPrize’s business goal has been to become a community-driven, self-sustaining, artist-oriented nonprofit organization, and we are proud to say our long-term financial outlook has never been better or more secure.”

ArtPrize reported corporate sponsorships represent the largest and fastest-growing source of revenue for the 19-day event. This growing financial support funds ArtPrize’s $500,000 in cash prizes as well as nearly $300,000 in grants for artists, venues, curators and educators. National and local foundations and grants represented 24 percent of the total budget during 2017, while individual donors and earned revenue from merchandise and registration fees accounted for the remainder of the 2017 revenue.

“At PNC Bank, we believe that the arts enrich lives and help build stronger, more vibrant communities,” said Sean Welsh, PNC regional president for West Michigan.  “For almost a decade, PNC has supported education programming during ArtPrize to nurture creativity and a love of arts in local children.”

In addition to ArtPrize’s healthy, long-term, financial security, the organization reported more than 522,000 people visited downtown Grand Rapids during the 2017 event, with guests originating from all 50 U.S. states and 47 countries. Forty-one percent of visitors travelled more than 30 miles to attend the event. ArtPrize visitors created an estimated $33 million in net, new economic impact for Grand Rapids’ business community.

“The Grand Rapids brand has gone global thanks in large part to ArtPrize. During the past ten years, we’ve seen families move here or businesses host their conference here precisely because of ArtPrize,” said Doug Small, CEO of Experience Grand Rapids. “The potential of the city, its residents, artists and business owners are all magnified and made better because of the talent and attraction that ArtPrize helps to produce and inspire.”

In 2017, economic impact data was gathered through a visitor intercept survey using methodologies established and reviewed by Lansing-based economics research and consulting firm, Anderson Economic Group. The study builds off the economic impact numbers of previous ArtPrize years, which examine event attendance, visitor spending, local spending by the ArtPrize organization, and the economic impacts that accrue beyond the initial expenditures of visitors and the host organization. The analysis illustrates the new economic activity attributable to ArtPrize and does not double count spending in the area that would have otherwise occurred if the event was not held.

“At year 10, our vision is to continue to improve and deepen the ArtPrize experience for our guests, and we are eager to execute new strategies that will result in more repeat visits and an even bigger impact on the city,” added Bennett. “ArtPrize inspires and engages people unlike any other contemporary art event in the world, which is why they travel from farther away, stay longer and spend more while they are in Grand Rapids.”

Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI) manages several 'people counters' to understand how people walk, roll or otherwise move around the downtown area. According to DGRI’s study, summarizing sidewalk activity during ArtPrize 9 (Sept. 20 - Oct. 8, 2017), pedestrian traffic increased 16 percent over 2016.

Concurrently, the organization announced plans for the ArtPrize 10 competition and festival, poised to host a spectacular 19-day event in celebration of its tenth year in collaboration with the community and city. Artist registration for ArtPrize 10 is underway through June 7 at 5 p.m. EST.

By Alee'a Ulsh-Cherry on