Heather Gordon won $5,000 and a spot on Lyon Square for her ambitious installation idea presented at Pitch Night Durham.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. June 3, 2015 -- ArtPrize, the radically open international art competition decided by public vote and expert jury, today announced the winner of Pitch Night Durham, presented by Delta Air Lines. "Resting Place" by Heather Gordon impressed the jury at tonight’s event, the second held in partnership with 21c Museum Hotels, first at their North Carolina location. Gordon will take home the $5,000 award and a guaranteed spot on Lyon Square, a newly independent venue which was formerly a part of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel venue.

Five artists were invited to present at tonight’s Pitch Night event, and each were given five minutes and five slides to pitch their installation idea for the public park located amidst two of the most highly trafficked ArtPrize venues in downtown Grand Rapids. Gordon won over the panel of five local art experts, including Alice Gray Stites, Vice President and Museum Director at 21c Museum Hotels; Linda Dougherty, Chief Curator and Curator of Contemporary Art at North Carolina Museum of Art; Gab Smith, Executive DIrector at CAM Raleigh; Xandra Eden, Curator of Exhibitions at Weatherspoon Art Museum; and Marshall Price, Nancy Hanks Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

“I’m thrilled to be a part of this year’s ArtPrize, and one of the things that I love about it is that art is for everyone,” noted Dougherty. “We chose Gordon’s work to represent North Carolina because we felt that it was really well researched, that she really thought about the site, the location, the place—and she created something really innovative that will fit ArtPrize perfectly.”

The Durham-based artist’s current work maps people's lives, drawing from data sets that have influenced them, such as residences, family members’ birthplaces and durations of time. Her conceptual idea for ArtPrize Seven charted a series of Hopewell Indian mounds across a vast plain, crossing, intersecting, and linking them with a series of lines and angles. The curvature of the mounds is reflected in that of Lyon Square, and the resulting sculpture rises from the pavement in sharp angles and clean lines. "Resting Place" will sit across the Grand River from former Native American village site and city park of the same name—Ah-Nab-Awen.

“I am really on fire to put this thing together because I’ve never done anything like this before,” noted Gordon. “I’m feeling enthusiastic, and I love the idea that it’s going to be incredibly visible to all kinds of people.”

In 2013, ArtPrize launched Pitch Night at the Walker Arts Center to discover exciting, ambitious projects and to reduce the barriers that out-of-state artists face in bringing them to the annual competition. Pitch Night expanded to Cincinnati in 2014 in partnership with 21c Museum Hotels—a partnership which continued tonight with Pitch Night Durham, held at the 21c Museum Hotels’ North Carolina location. Additionally, Pitch Night has further expanded to include an event in Indianapolis, to be held at the Indianapolis Museum of Art on June 10. Each of these three events will award the winning artist $5,000 and a spot in a prominent ArtPrize venue during the seventh annual event.

"ArtPrize rewards ambition, and Pitch Night is an exciting extension of that sentiment," said Christian Gaines, ArtPrize executive director. "There are many artists out there with grand concepts and designs but limited resources—Pitch Night was conceived to aid those big-thinkers, to open doors and enable artists to realize otherwise impossible or difficult projects."

ArtPrize Seven will take place across downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan from September 23 to October 11, 2015. Artist registration for the seventh annual event will remain open through June 4, while artists and venues will continue to Connect through June 18.

By Jaenell Woods on