Winner of second annual ArtPrize Pitch Night Minneapolis will receive a $5,000 grant to install the ambitious work on the Gillett Bridge for the 6th annual event.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., June 26, 2014 – ArtPrize, the radically open international art competition in partnership with Walker Art Center, Delta Air Lines, mnartists.org, and Open Systems Technologies, announced Bjorn Sparrman as the winner of the second annual Pitch Night Minneapolis. Sparrman will be awarded $5,000 to install the winning proposal at ArtPrize 2014 and will compete for the $560,000 in prizes awarded at the sixth annual event.

Bjorn Sparrman was selected from five finalists invited to present their installation ideas at tonight’s event at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Each artist was given five minutes and five slides to make the case for their project idea to a panel of five local arts professionals, including mnartists.org program director Jehra Patrick.

“Myself and the other jurors were impressed with Bjorn’s awareness of the bridge as a passage,” said Patrick. “We were interested in his ability to create a point of engagement and an obstacle, making people stop and consider the work. We liked that this project provides Bjorn an opportunity for artistic risk.”

Bjorn Sparrman, Minneapolis-based artist with a bachelors of fine arts from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, will construct a faux border crossing the Gillett Bridge, a heavily travelled pedestrian walkway spanning the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids. The border will divide east and west Grand Rapids, including an awning, signs, and a booth with a border guard.

“I’m excited to utilize the space and it’s potential. It’s a rich space and a unique opportunity,” said Sparrman. “It’s my hope that the project considers the ethos of ArtPrize and the choreography of the crowd.”

ArtPrize launched Pitch Night in 2013 at the Walker Art Center to engage artist communities and reduce the barriers out-of-state artists face in bringing their ambitious, exciting ideas to ArtPrize. The winners of the first annual Pitch Night Minneapolis in 2013, Alexander Hanson and Daniel Feinberg, were nominated to the Juried Short List for Best Use of Urban Space for their installation, “Temporary’s Pursuit of Permanence.” ArtPrize expanded Pitch Night to Cincinnati, Ohio in partnership with 21c Museum Hotels, offering the winning artist $5,000 and a spot on Louis Campau Promenade during ArtPrize 2014.

“The second Pitch Night Minneapolis was a great success,” said ArtPrize exhibitions director Kevin Buist. “Bjorn’s proposal is a great example of the type of provocative and thought provoking project Pitch Night is designed to enable.”

1,537 artist entries representing 51 countries and 42 states will compete for a combination of public vote and juried awards totaling $560,000 at ArtPrize 2014. The sixth annual event will take place September 24 to October 12.

About ArtPrize

ArtPrize is an international art competition, open to any artist and decided by public vote. 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 the world’s largest art prize, at $560,000. 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 votes using mobile devices and the web to distribute $260,000, while an additional $300,000 in juried awards are decided by a group of international art experts. ArtPrize 2013 included 1,524 entries representing 47 countries and 45 U.S. states and territories, and attracted more than 400,000 active participants. Since its inception, individuals of all backgrounds have cast more than 1.7 million votes for public art.

ArtPrize is made possible only through an ecosystem of organizations that take part in creating the world's largest, radically open art competition. The Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation is the Founding Sponsor for ArtPrize. Premier Leadership Sponsors include Amway, The Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, Founders Brewing Company, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, Meijer, PNC Bank and The Rapid. Consumers Energy, CWD Real Estate, The Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, The Douglas and Maria DeVos Foundation, The Frey Foundation, Haworth, The Iserv Company, Steelcase Inc., Square One Design, Trivalent Group | HP, The VanderWeide Family Foundation and Wolverine Worldwide participate as ArtPrize 2014's Leadership Sponsors. 

Photo: Pitch NIght Minneapolis winner Bjorn Sparrman and panel of judges. (Front, left to right) Piotr Szyhalski, Mia Lopez, Jehra Patrick, John Hock; (Back, left to right) Bjorn Sparrman, Melinda Childs.

By Jaenell Woods on