Pitch Night winners Daniel Feinberg and Alexander Hanson (front), with the Pitch Night judges

On May 30, ArtPrize staged the first ever Pitch Night event in collaboration with the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The event, modeled after start-up pitch sessions such as 5x5 Night (a predecessor to Start Garden), asks artists compete for a grant by giving short presentations about yet-to-be-realized projects.

Feinberg and Hanson present their pitch

An open call for proposals was issued for artists living in Minnesota. We asked them to consider what they would do with Gillett Bridge, a popular pedestrian bridge in the heart of downtown, and a $5,000 grant. Meanwhile, the Walker selected a panel of five leading art experts based in Minneapolis. The panel reviewed the applicants and selected five to present at Pitch Night. The five entrants were each given five minutes to discuss five slides, describing to the audience and the panel of judges why their project should receive the grant. After all the artists presented, they took the stage for a combined Q&A session led by the judges. Next, the audience socialized in the cafe while the judges deliberated. Within a few minutes, a winner was announced. Daniel Feinberg and Alexander Hanson received the grant to install "Temporary's Pursuit of Permanence" on the Gillett Bridge for ArtPrize 2013. The installation will consist of an aging SUV parked on the bridge, with a wooden bridge built over it.

People have asked why we decided to stage the first Pitch Night in Minneaoplis and not Grands Rapids, or another city. There are two main reasons. The first is that one peice of feedback we consistently get from artists who come to ArtPrize from outside West Michigan is that the cost of doing an ambitious ArtPrize entry can be prohibitive. We're looking for ways to address this, and Pitch Night is one small step. We chose Minneapolis because there's a healthy art scene, and the Walker was a great partner organization. They were able to spread the word locally, program great judges, and host the event in their incredible theater. (Thanks, Walker!)

This event was made possible through the generous support of Open System Technologies and Founders Brewing.

By Kevin Buist on