Six Pitch Night artists from six different cities across the U.S. are bringing their work to ArtPrize Nine this fall, and you don’t want to miss them. Spread throughout the city, these captivating works are sure to grab your attention, encourage your participation, and generate conversation during the annual event in downtown Grand Rapids.

Pitch Night launched in 2013 as a means of discovering exciting, ambitious projects across the country, and to help overcome the barriers that out-of-state artists can face when bringing them to the annual event.

2017 Pitch Night events -- held in partnership with 21c Museum Hotels, Delta Air Lines and Experience Grand Rapids -- took place in cities across the country this spring, including Louisville, KY; Durham, NC; Bentonville, AR; Detroit, MI; New Orleans, LA; and Indianapolis, IN.

Following an open call for proposals, five artists were invited to present at each event and given five minutes to pitch their installation ideas for ArtPrize Nine to a panel of local art experts. The winning artists each received a $5,000 grant and a guaranteed spot on a highly trafficked ArtPrize Nine Venue this fall.

Read on for a roundup of the 2017 Pitch Night winners, where to see them, and what to expect.

Pitch Night Louisville

Who: Kurt Gohde + Kremena Todorova
Where: Lyon Square
What: Artists Kurt Gohde and Kremena Todorova took home a $5,000 grant for their Pitch Night Louisville-winning entry, ‘Unlearn Fear & Hate’. Gohde and Kremena will install a mosaic-like pattern of thirty halos on historic Lyon Square in downtown Grand Rapids. Each halo will include the words “Unlearn Fear & Hate” in one of thirty different languages.

Gohde and Todorova drew inspiration from the need for artworks that address growing national tensions and is based in the belief that fear and hate are learned behaviors that can be unlearned. Learn more about the Pitch Night Louisville winner here.​

Pitch Night Durham

Who: Chris Vitiello
Where: Grand Rapids Art Museum
What: At Pitch Night Durham, Chris Vitiello was awarded a $5,000 grant to bring his performative installation, ‘The Language is Asleep,’ to the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

As Vitiello explains, language can tire, and that misuse, overuse and abuse in the increasingly divisive state of public discourse has exhausted language to the point where it has lost meaning. Over 3,000 original one-line poems written on dictionary pages will cover the walls, floor and ceiling of the Porter Gallery at the GRAM, providing a surreal, interactive environment for language to rest and rejuvenate.

Throughout the 19-day event, museum visitors will have the opportunity to give him a word or phrase to inform a poem, which they can then take home to keep. On the last Friday of ArtPrize, he will transform into the whimsical Poetry Fox, who will create custom poems for visitors and ultimately create a space of renewal, generosity and hope. Learn more about the Pitch Night Durham winner here.

Pitch Night Bentonville

Who: Rena Detrixhe
Where: Western Michigan University Grand Rapids
What: Rena Detrixhe took home a $5,000 grant at Pitch Night Bentonville to install ‘Red Dirt Rug,’ a 1,000-square foot ephemeral, site-specific carpet made of red dirt at Western Michigan University in Grand Rapids.

Detrixhe will collect more than 240 gallons of red soil, refining it all by hand before creating the installation. She will spread the dust in a thin, even layer on the floor at Western Michigan University Grand Rapids -- creating a canvas on which to apply a pattern with modified shoe soles one shape at a time, until the form of the rug is revealed on the surface. The shoe prints act as an indicator of human presence, of culture and pattern, and also represent a literal separator between people and the earth. Learn more about the Pitch Night Bentonville winner here.

Pitch Night Detroit

Who: Nina Caruso + Christopher Schneider
Where: Vandenberg Center
What: Nina Caruso and Christopher Schneider were awarded a $5,000 grant at Pitch Night Detroit to bring their sculpture, ‘Anonymous,’ to the Vandenberg Center.

Part sculpture, part social experiment, the medium for ‘Anonymous’ will be four lengths of metal pipe, jumbled and twisted into a freestanding, three-dimensional sculpture roughly twenty feet long and ten feet tall. Each of the eight pipe ends will be capped with a funnel-like piece, through which ArtPrize goers are invited to speak or to listen. Learn more about the Pitch Night Detroit winner here.

Pitch Night New Orleans

Who: Pippin Frisbie-Calder
Where: Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts
What: At Pitch Night New Orleans, Pippin Frisbie-Calder took home a $5,000 grant to install ‘Canceled Edition’ at the UICA in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids.

Drawing attention to the human impact on the environment, ‘Canceled Edition’ is a collection of approximately 400 hand-carved, woodcut prints of the Ivory Billed Woodpecker, once prevalent in Louisiana but now unseen since the 1940s and believed to be extinct. Each bird is hand painted, half as males with red heads and half as females without. ArtPrize visitors will be encouraged to each take a bird home with them, and through this audience participation, the goal of the project is to simulate the extinction and loss of a species. Learn more about the Pitch Night New Orleans winner here.

Pitch Night Indianapolis

Who: C.T. Hankins
Where: Outside Van Andel Arena
What: C.T. Hankins was awarded a $5,000 grant at Pitch Night Indianapolis to install his entry 'A Bit of Me in You (Echo Point)’ outside Van Andel Arena.

A sixteen foot wide by six foot high curved wall comprised of more than 5,000 mirrored tiles, ‘A Bit of Me in You (Echo Point)’ focuses on bringing people together to see how similar we truly are. When the viewer approaches the wall, they are presented with thousands of images of themself. Missing tiles in the wall give the viewer the opportunity to engage others on the opposite side of the wall by seeing only the eyes of the other peering through the reflection of themself. Learn more about the Pitch Night Indianapolis winner here.

By Jackie McLane on