GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., May 23, 2014 – ArtPrize, the radically open international art competition in partnership with 21c Museum Hotels and Delta Air Lines, announced Joe Girandola as the winner of the first annual Pitch Night Cincinnati. Girandola 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.

Joe Girandola was selected from five finalists invited to present their projects at tonight’s event at the 21c Museum Hotels Cincinnati location. Each artist had five minutes and five slides to sell their idea to a panel of five local arts professionals, including Cincinnati Art Museum Director Aaron Betsky and 21c Vice President and Museum Director Alice Gray Stites.

“Really good public art has to resist being nostalgic and has to avoid being static. Joe enacts his work in a way that engages the community without determining what anyone’s specific experience will be,” said Stites. “His use of space defies the expectation of site. Instead of ‘Look at me!’ he says ‘Go out and see.’”

The Cincinnati-based artist and Director of the Masters of Fine Arts program at the University of Cincinnati will install his arch made of 1,826 milk crates in Louis Campau Promenade, a high-traffic, outdoor venue, on the site of Grand Rapids’ original milk house and trade center established by Louis Campau in 1826. The Promenade offers a blend of historic and modern buildings and gardens spanning from the Grand River to the heart of Downtown.

“ArtPrize was so welcoming last year. The Auto Body fix-it shop was great, and I felt I had to go back,” said Girandola. “The idea started with Louis Campau research. That research-based approach comes from my mentor, Mel Chin, who was a juror last year. I was interested in Campau, building, vernacular architecture, and cast-off materials.”

ArtPrize launched Pitch Night in 2013 at the Walker Arts Center in Minneapolis to discover exciting, visionary projects and reduce the barriers out-of-state artists encounter in bringing them to the ArtPrize event. New for 2014, ArtPrize expanded Pitch Night to Cincinnati, Ohio in partnership with 21c Museum Hotels, a unique combination of boutique hotel, contemporary art museum, and cultural civic center.  

“Pitch Night challenges artists to share their creative ambitions for a public space, inviting public participation and critique while the project is still in the formative stages,” said Kevin Buist, Director of Exhibitions at ArtPrize. “And it enables an artist to create work on a scale that might not otherwise be feasible.”

Pitch Night Minneapolis will return for its second year, in partnership with the Walker Art Center and On June 26, five artists will compete for $5,000 and the opportunity to install their creation on the Gillett Bridge during the 2014 ArtPrize event, 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 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 2014. 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, The Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, The Douglas and Maria DeVos Foundation, The Frey Foundation, Haworth, The Iserv Company, Steelcase Inc., Trivalent Group | HP, The VanderWeide Family Foundation and Wolverine Worldwide participate as ArtPrize 2014's Leadership Sponsors.

By Jaenell Woods on