Pitch Night Durham Winner to Install ‘Validation and Declaration Bureaucracy’ at ArtPrize Eight to Determine Worth of Community Members

At the first ArtPrize Pitch Night event of 2016, Stacey Kirby took home a $5,000 grant for her ‘performative installation’ which will engage the visiting public around themes of belonging, identity, community and civil rights during 19-day event this fall.

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan, MAY 25, 2016 -- ArtPrize, the radically open international art competition decided equally by public vote and expert jury, in partnership with 21c Museum Hotels and Delta Air Lines tonight announced the Pitch Night Durham winning entry. “The Declaration Project” / “VALIDnation” by Stacey Kirby impressed both the audience and panel of jurors at the first Pitch Night event of 2016, held at 21c Durham in front of a capacity crowd. The installation took home a $5,000 cash grant and a guaranteed spot in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids during ArtPrize Eight, slated to take place from September 21-October 9, 2016.

Kirby was selected from among five artists and artist collectives that were invited to present at tonight’s Pitch Night Durham event. Each artist was given five minutes and five slides to sell their ambitious, site-specific installation idea to a panel of local arts professionals including: Cora Fisher, Curator of Contemporary Art at Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art; Sabine Gruffat, Assistant Professor of Art at UNC Chapel Hill; Kelly McChesney, Director at Flanders Art Gallery; Beverly McIver, Esbenshade Professor of the Practice in Studio Arts at Duke University; and Amethyst Beaver, Assistant Curator at 21c Museum Hotels.

“This piece feels very timely and relevant, especially because of North Carolina House Bill 2 and her stance on it,” said Beaver. “She seeks to make people feel valid and to have a participatory experience with them.”

The North Carolina-based artist’s work combines installation and performance, encouraging visitors to become active participants in her work and empowering their inner voices. When visitors enter the transformed downtown office space, outfitted with Michigan and North Carolina furniture, they will be greeted by either a Declaration or Validation officer – and subsequently asked to either declare the belongings that they’ve brought with them into the space, or to identify their lifestyle choices for validation. The two officers will be stationed at either end of the installation, bridged by the Identity Corridor – a project of over 150 rubber stamps customized with responses about identity that she has received over the past ten years.

“The performative interactions that I create engage the public with conversations about identity, community and belonging,” noted Kirby. “I look forward to taking this piece outside of North Carolina and working with the LGBT community in Grand Rapids to perform my work -- so they can in turn validate their own community as well as the visitors to ArtPrize.”

ArtPrize Pitch Night launched in 2013 as a means of discovering and supporting ambitious, exciting projects and to reduce the barriers to bringing them to the annual competition. Since its inception, the Pitch Night program has continued to expand and in 2016 includes events at 21c Museum Hotels in both Durham, NC and Louisville, KY; the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN; and the Indianapolis Museum of Art in Indianapolis, IN. Each event will award the winning artist $5,000 and a spot in a prominent ArtPrize venue during the eighth annual event.

ArtPrize Eight will take place across downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan from September 21-October 9, 2016. Artist registration for the world’s largest art competition is now open through June 2.

Photo (left to right): Sabine Gruffat, Amethyst Beaver, Beverly McIver, Stacey Kirby, Cora Fisher, Kelly McChesney

By Jaenell Woods on