ArtPrize community partners and sponsors offer artists fourteen additional chances to win a prize at the ninth annual event.

GRAND RAPIDS (Michigan) September 7, 2017 — ArtPrize, the independently organized art competition recognized as the world’s largest annual public art event, today announced fourteen independently organized awards, to award over $35,000 in prizes as well as a two-year vehicle lease directly to artists at the ninth annual event. These independent awards are in addition to the $500,000 in prizes to be awarded by a combination of public and jury vote, and will be revealed during the televised ArtPrize Awards Ceremony on October 6, 2017. ArtPrize Nine is slated to take place in Grand Rapids, Michigan from September 20-October 8, 2017.

“Over the years, independently organized awards have organically emerged as an anticipated  component of the ArtPrize event,” said Christian Gaines, ArtPrize Executive Director. “ArtPrize spurs catalytic activity not only through venues and artists filling every available space with art, but also by encouraging, specific awards that honor artistic achievement, celebrate culture, address social issues and further the conversation.”


Film and music return to ArtPrize Nine with ArtPrize On Screen, a three-day film festival featuring six feature-length documentaries and seven Michigan-made shorts, September 20-23; and the HopCat WYCE Blue Bridge Music Festival, bringing two epic days and nights of free musical entertainment, September 29-30. By casting their votes through the ArtPrize mobile app, visitors will award the following film and music prizes: Best Short Film, presented by the Michigan Film & Digital Media Office ($5,000); Best Feature, presented by Celebration! Cinema ($2,500); and ArtPrize Song of the Year, presented by HopCat ($1,000).


The Youth Collaboration Award, sponsored by Western Michigan University, offers any school or eligible nonprofit educational organization serving students from kindergarten through twelfth grade the opportunity to enter a collaborative piece into ArtPrize Nine and compete for a $5,000 cash prize, awarded by public vote. Over 30 educational organizations — from schools and nonprofit organizations to summer and afterschool programs — will compete for the prize this fall. Youth Collaboration Award entries are not eligible to win the two $200,000 grand prizes or the $100,000 in category awards, decided by public vote and expert jury.

This year marks the fifth anniversary for SmartArt sponsored by Consumers Energy — the student art competition which blends art with sustainability and environmental stewardship. Consumers Energy once again teamed up with Grand Rapids Public Schools to give high school students the opportunity to create art with a renewable energy theme. Students will compete for a $1,000 college scholarship, for the opportunity to have their artwork on display at the JW Marriott during ArtPrize Nine, and more. The top 10 finalists’ art will be displayed at the popular ArtPrize venue this fall, and the competition’s winner will be announced during the ArtPrize Nine Public Vote Final 20 Announcement on October 1.


For the third year, the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan will present the Artista Latino Award, which recognizes the work of a Latin American or Hispanic artist entered in the competition. The winner will be selected by a panel of jurors and will receive a $2,500 cash prize.

The African American Arts & Music Festival will present the Contemporary Black Art Award. This $5,000 juried prize will be awarded to an ArtPrize Nine artist who identifies as African American, African or of African descent.

The West Michigan Asian American Association is proud to present the inaugural Asian Art Award — offering two $1,000 cash awards to Asian artists participating in ArtPrize Nine. Winning artists will be determined by public vote, with the two top vote-getters in this independent award category each receiving a $1,000 prize.

Each year, Fountain Street Church mounts a much-anticipated ArtPrize exhibition on the theme "Art to Change the World." Venue organizers engage two independent jurors who award two $1,000 awards for work within this exhibition that best exemplifies the transformational power of art.

The inaugural Veteran’s Award, presented by WGVU Public Media and The Stow Company, will honor and celebrate ArtPrize Nine artists who have served their country as members of the Armed Forces. Two $2,500 prizes will be awarded, one selected by public vote, the other by a jury including Thomas Crockett and Tia Graham with PBS, and United States Army Specialist Five James C. McCloughan, a Vietnam War Medal of Honor Recipient.


The Honda West Michigan Dealers will host the third edition of the Honda Design & Drive Contest at ArtPrize Nine. Six artists will compete for a 24-month lease on a new 2017 Honda Civic, each developing an original design that will be applied to a vinyl-wrapped Honda vehicle for outdoor display in the heart of the ArtPrize district.

ArtPrize will return to Grand Rapids, Michigan from September 20 to October 8, 2017, featuring 1,346 artist entries hailing from 41 U.S. states and 47 countries, showing at 175 venues across the three-square mile event district.

By Jaenell Woods on