July 29, 2013, Grand Rapids, Mich. — ArtPrize is presenting the Walker Art Center's The Internet Cat Video Festival, a worldwide tour that brings online communities together in the real world, at this year’s event.

Originally an experiment to explore what happens when crowds of people leave their computers to instead watch online videos of cats together in real life, The Internet Cat Video Festival quickly turned viral. At 8:00pm on Friday, September 27, Grand Rapids will join a multitude of cities including Vienna, Portland and Oakland to participate in the international tour.

“The Internet Cat Video Festival was born out of the Walker's experiments blending technology and public space. There's an energy in online communities that can be hard to translate to the real world,“ said Kevin Buist, ArtPrize Director of Exhibitions. “Walker's The Internet Cat Video Festival is an example of that, and so is the voting that happens as ArtPrize.“

In Summer 2012, the Walker Art Center hosted the first Internet Cat Video Festival as a modest celebration to bring online communities together in the real world. Known on Twitter as #CatVidFest, the event became a viral phenomenon, drawing more than 10,000 fans to the Walker’s Open Field. After winning the attention of local, national and international audiences and media, the Walker Art Center launched the international Internet Cat Video Festival tour.

“The Walker is honored to partner with ArtPrize to present the Internet Cat Video Festival in Grand Rapids. Like ArtPrize, the Cat Video Festival is positioned in an interesting junction between popular culture and art, raising questions about how culture is both produced and experienced,” said Scott Stulen, Internet Cat Video Festival curator and producer at the Walker. “Both programs share a spirit of community engagement, crowd-sourced curation and challenging our assumptions. The context of ArtPrize seems a perfect setting to close out a long day of looking at art by watching a few cat videos together.”

In addition to the Walker’s collection of videos, the ArtPrize version of the Internet Cat Video Festival will feature videos specially submitted and voted on by the ArtPrize community. Artists, members, volunteers, and attendees are invited to submit a YouTube or Vimeo link of their own homemade cutest, funniest and most profound cat videos to kevin@artprize.org by August 8. Following this, the cat video finalists will be published on ArtPrize’s blog and voting for the best ArtPrize cat videos will be open online until September 6. The winning videos will be presented at ArtPrize’s #CatVidFest.

The Internet Cat Video Video Festival is made possible by Clark Hill PLC. Clark Hill PLC is an entrepreneurial, full-service law firm serving clients in all areas of business legal services, government and public affairs, and personal legal services.

Scott Stulen, Internet Cat Video Festival curator and producer at the Walker will emcee the event. Held in Rosa Parks Circle at 8:00pm on Friday, September 27, the Internet Cat Video Festival will be free to the public. Additional information can be found at http://www.artprize.org/blog/catvidfest.

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 artprize.org 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 $360,000, while an additional $200,000 in juried awards are decided by a group of international art experts. ArtPrize 2013 will include 1,524 entries representing 47 countries and 45 U.S. states and territories, and is expected to attract more than 400,000 active participants. Since its inception, individuals of all backgrounds have cast more than 1.7 million votes for public art.

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By Meredith Fennema on