So why enter ArtPrize? While the possibility of taking home part of that $500,000 in prizes may be motivation, it’s far from the only reason you should participate.

Here are eight reasons why ArtPrize is worth the $50 artist registration fee:

1. THE CITY IS YOUR CANVAS

Grand Rapids is a city that is open and receptive to experimentation -- the city “finds a way to yes” by placing risky or ambitious work in unusual places. There are expected spaces where artists can show work at ArtPrize -- museums, galleries, coffee shops, restaurants and hotel lobbies -- but there are also lots of surprising, non-traditional indoor and outdoor spaces like the Grand River and bridges that cross it, vacant office spaces, laundromats, auto mechanics and distilleries. Even the Grand Rapids Police Department, the US Post Office and an old city water treatment plant are venues during ArtPrize.

2. THE PUBLIC RESPONDS TO YOUR WORK

ArtPrize is an ideal place for artists who are interested in engaging with a diverse and engaged public on a scale unlike any other event. During ArtPrize, hundreds of thousands of people come to downtown Grand Rapids just to see art.

In a city of 200,000 people, there are 500,000 visitors, from the city, the county, the state and many other states. In the streets, bars and restaurants, on television and online, they react to the work they’ve seen with countless conversations, recommendations and mobile votes.

North Carolina artist Stacy Kirby, winner of the Juried Grand Prize of $200,000 in 2016 for her interactive performance and installation “The Bureau of Personal Belonging”,  says: “Artists should feel empowered to use their work to manifest change through conversation and connection. ArtPrize definitely offers such a platform. The 5,000 visitors that came through The Bureau experienced the product of ArtPrize's commitment to openly supporting all artists.”

3. THERE ARE GRANTS TO HELP YOU MAKE IT HAPPEN

Throughout the year, ArtPrize awards $280,000 in grants to artists, curators, and educators through several grant programs. Artist Seed Grants awards $50,000 to 25 artists in grants of $2,000 each, and any ArtPrize artist can apply.

Big outdoor projects are eligible for larger grants through the Featured Public Projects program, which awards a total of $85,000 to a handful of artists in grants ranging from $1,500 to $15,000 each.

Also there’s ArtPrize Pitch Night, which awards a total of $30,000 to artists through one-night events that take place in six cities around the country. Local artists are invited to pitch ideas for an ArtPrize installation, and one artist at each event receives a $5,000 grant to realize their project.

4. BOOST YOUR PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE

ArtPrize partners with Creative Many Michigan to provide professional development opportunities throughout the event, ranging from lectures and panels to more intimate discussions. ArtPrize presents Critical Discourse, a TV show with a live audience featuring artists, critics and curators about what’s happening at ArtPrize and the art world. ArtPrize partners with the Avenue for the Arts to facilitate Break it Down, Make it Better, a series of events offering educational programming, discussions and professional development opportunities for artists, curators and venue coordinators. Through ArtPrize, artists are also eligible for a complimentary associate membership to Fractured Atlas, for assistance obtaining affordable insurance.

5. YOU NEVER KNOW WHO’LL SEE YOUR WORK

Artists enjoy direct interaction with the audience that’s rare at other exhibition opportunities. Work is seen by jurors, invited art world guests and media as well as hundreds of thousands of visitors. Attention is fleeting, but showing at ArtPrize can lead to new collaborative relationships, art sales, and new commissions.

6. VISITORS BUY ART

Not all artists seek to sell their work at ArtPrize, and the event is not structured like or intended to be an art fair. More than 20% of artists report making sales or receiving new commissions every year through their ArtPrize experience. ArtPrize lists which entries are for sale, allows interested buyers to send a message through an artist’s artprize.org profile to inquire about purchases, and takes no commission from sales.

7. WE’LL FIND A PLACE FOR YOU TO STAY

Many artists travel to ArtPrize from far away, and the cost of lodging can be a challenge. To help with this, ArtPrize works to source temporary housing for visiting artists. Over the years, this program has saved artists a lot of money and has formed lasting friendships between artists and their hosts.

8. THERE ARE PARTIES, A PLACE TO RELAX AND OTHER PERKS

During ArtPrize artists are special guests, so the ArtPrize team throws a huge artist party in their honor. Each artist gets a gift bag with an event guide and other goodies, as well as an artist badge. The badge comes with several perks such as access to the ArtPrize Clubhouse throughout the event, where guests can relax, connect, and enjoy a complimentary coffee bar, light snacks throughout the day and an evening happy hour.

Interested in participating in ArtPrize? Sign up here to show your work this fall.

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