Go to the ArtPrize mobile app.
ArtPrize has a new mobile app for 2021! Learn more here.

2021 marks an inflection point for ArtPrize as the artist-visitor interaction evolves and deepens, supported by a new digital platform presented by Delta Dental. This platform will leverage QR code technology to allow visitors to award $200,000 in cash prizes directly to artists.

Grand Rapids (Michigan) June 30, 2021 - ArtPrize, the international art competition and festival, today announced that visitors to the 2021 event will find prizes throughout the event district and award them directly to the artists of their choosing. These include nearly 500 cash prizes totaling $150,000 and a slate of emotional response prizes - all of which, when awarded to an artist, influence their chances of taking home the $50,000 Grand Prize. This deepened artist-visitor interaction will be powered by a new digital platform presented by Delta Dental and developed by Atomic Object, that will live online at artprize.org and that visitors will interact with on their smartphones. ArtPrize is slated to take place in Grand Rapids from September 16-October 3.

“Throughout the event’s history, ArtPrize has used technology to create opportunities for the public to engage with contemporary art on a massive scale. We’ve gone wide, and now we’re looking to make that interaction deeper, more meaningful,” said Craig Searer, ArtPrize executive director. 

“This fall, ArtPrize will shift away from the traditional public vote into a new format that encourages visitors to go beyond simply ‘liking’ an artwork - giving them the opportunity to support artists financially when they award the prizes themselves, and opening up the possibility that more artists than ever before will take home a portion of the cash prizes,” continued Searer.

As visitors to ArtPrize 2021 explore the event, they will find QR codes around each venue. By scanning these codes with their smartphones, they will find prizes to award to ArtPrize artists.

Each time a visitor scans a prize code, they will have the chance of finding one of nearly 500 cash prizes ranging from $250 to $1,500 each to award to any participating artist they choose. Visitors can also find non-monetary prizes to award to artists as a means of showing their appreciation.

“This fall, artists will at long last get feedback from visitors on a large scale,” said Katie Moore, ArtPrize senior exhibitions manager. “They’ll understand how their entries impact those exploring the event - are they wowed, emotional, encouraged to think in new ways? This new prize system will make it possible for that feedback to reach artists wherever they are, whether they’re able to attend the event in person or not.”

Each interaction between visitor and artist through this new digital platform will have a direct influence on the outcome of the $50,000 Grand Prize, to be awarded to one artist or artist collaborative at the end of the event.

“In 2021, a beta year and testing ground for our new format, we’re attempting something that’s never been done before at ArtPrize - giving artists and visitors the opportunity for deeper engagement, a desire they’ve expressed for years,” said Searer. “As we build this new prize structure and the technology platform that supports it, we’re creating a wealth of opportunities to test new means of engagement for the future. This is just the beginning.”

Artist and venue registration closed earlier this month, and the Connections period - through which artists and venues match up to form the ArtPrize exhibition - will run through July 8, extended to accommodate venues that signed up in June. ArtPrize will kick off in Grand Rapids on September 16, less than three months from now, and run through October 3.

ArtPrize is an open, independently organized international art competition which takes place in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It celebrates artists working in all mediums from anywhere in the world, and is open to any creative with an artwork to enter and a venue willing to host it. For 18 days, art is exhibited throughout the city in public parks and museums, in galleries and vacant storefronts, in bars and on bridges. ArtPrize awards $450,000 directly to artists, through grants to support their work and through prizes which the public decides through the ArtPrize tech platform. Since its inception in 2009, millions have participated in ArtPrize, displaying their work, opening their spaces to artists and visitors from around the world, and sparking countless conversations about what art is and why it matters.

ArtPrize is made possible in part through the generous support of many organizations. The Corporate Leadership sponsors include Delta Dental, Founders Brewing Co, West Michigan Honda Dealers, Wolverine World Wide, and X-Rite Pantone. Premier sponsors include LIFEWTR and PNC Bank. Signature sponsors include Amway and Steelcase. 

Leading Foundation Supporters include the Peter C. and Emajean Cook Foundation, the CDV5 Foundation, the Daniel & Pamella DeVos Foundation, the Douglas & Maria DeVos Foundation, the Frey Foundation, and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.

Honda is the Official Vehicle of ArtPrize. WOOD TV8 is the Official Broadcast Media Partner of ArtPrize. The Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation is the Founding Supporter of ArtPrize.


Kati Molhoek
ArtPrize Communications Assistant

Connections: Open through July 8
Mural Grant Applications: Open through June 30
ArtPrize 2021: September 16-October 3

By Jaenell Woods on