The worlds of contemporary art and technology have many parallels - They both experience rapid change, they are lead by innovation and their successes often change culture dramatically. 

While the ArtPrize event is often identified by the artwork that arrives each fall, the ArtPrize organization, and our year-round activities are more accurately described as a nomadic boot-camp at the intersection of art and technology.  

We wrestle with the concepts of civic collaboration vs. individual expression, popular opinion vs. singular critique, user experience vs. user expression (or the user experience OF user expression). 

All of these concepts influence how we build our websites, voting platforms, registration processes, mobile apps, volunteer programs, youth programs and urban experience planning (yes, we have to plan for people who are not used to an urban experience).

Facilitating an event like ArtPrize amidst these tensions is incredibly fulfilling, but it can be a bit daunting.  Thankfully, we are not alone in the experience.  In fact, the commonality of these specific tensions in the worlds of technology and of art is really quite beautiful.   And over time - and thanks to a rich history of design and innovation - a hybrid art/technology ecosystem has taken deep roots in Grand Rapids.

Two events indicative of this ecosystem are happening next week, Wednesday, January 29.  

The first is MOTHERBOARD, an event put on by GR Current and The Grand Rapids Collaboration (coLab).  The event is about "Intersecting Tech Startups, Science, Media & Video Games" and It's happening from 5:30 - 8:00PM at 38 Fulton St. W. (Above San Chez Bistro, 3rd Floor).

Since both events are on the same night, many of the ArtPrize staff will start the evening at MOTHERBOARD and walk over to the Grand Rapids Art Museum for an event featuring Adam Weinberg, the Alice Pratt Brown Director of The Whitney Museum of American Art and Dana Friis-Hansen, Director and CEO of the Grand Rapids Art Museum.   From GRAM’s website:

“Join a lively discussion with Whitney Director Adam D. Weinberg and GRAM Director Dana Friis-Hansen, focusing on Emily Fisher Landau’s legacy and collecting American Art.”

As an added bonus, all lecture guests will receive a free ticket to see Legacy: The Emily Fisher Landau Collection, on display at GRAM, opening February 2nd.

The collection “features works of art by some of the most important, groundbreaking, gamechanging American artists—Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, Barbara Kruger—and features in-depth presentations by Ed Ruscha, Richard Artschwager, and Jasper Johns, highlighting works spanning their entire careers.”

The event begins at 7:00PM.  Admission is $5 for GRAM Members and students, $15 for all others.
To read more about this spectacular collection, and the exciting event, click the image below.

By Todd Herring on