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GRAND RAPIDS (Michigan) 2 AUGUST, 2021—ArtPrize, the independently organized international art competition recognized as one of the world’s largest public art events, today announced $200,000 in total grants to 47 artists around the world. This funding will assist the winning artists in realizing their ambitious projects, and competing for a combination of prizes and juried awards totaling $250,000, at ArtPrize 2021 this fall. The event is slated to return to Grand Rapids, Michigan from September 16 - October 3, 2021.

“With the much-anticipated return of ArtPrize, we are thrilled by the opportunity to facilitate the return of incredible public art works.” said Craig Searer, ArtPrize Executive Director. “We are grateful to both our sponsors and our grant recipients for embracing the risks and opportunities involved when participating in this year’s event. ArtPrize is ever-evolving, and we are overjoyed with everyone’s support of the exciting changes coming this fall.”


With the return of ArtPrize, we were excited to bring back a new suite of grant programs where $200,000 is being awarded directly to artists. Curatorial, Equity, Project, and Mural Grants, each target a specific realm of artwork for visitors to experience and invoke conversation about the work. The grants are intended to underwrite work that is intentional and focuses on diverse, innovative, challenging, and engaging themes. 

Each of our grant programs were made possible through the following sponsors:

Grant Programming : Frey Foundation, ITC

Curatorial Grant Specific: DGRI, Mobile GR and Parking Services

Equity Grant Specific: LIFEWTR, DGRI, Steelcase



Individual curators, cultural institutions, and arts organizations will activate prominent outdoor locations in downtown Grand Rapids, exploring themes relevant to the community by hosting a diverse set of artists and artworks, and through events and performances. 

Hwa-Jeen Na • Grand Rapids, MI

Project Unity

Visit Ah-Nab-Awen Park to see projections of visual media addressing both separation and unity in an artistic manner will be cast onto the surfaces of the deconstructed circle. Dance and music performances interpreting the abstract of human connection will act as time-based elements to fill and navigate the negative space around the structure, ultimately speaking to the desire to “fill the gaps” and connect the circle.

Edwin Anderson • Grand Rapids, MI

Visual Art, Large Scale Mural Artwork

Step a little outside of downtown to Campau Park to see a large-scale mural painted on a basketball court in a tribute to Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi Bryant, who passed away in a tragic accident on January 26, 2020. In the spirit of Kobe, this piece will encourage visitors to reflect on the best version of themselves and encourage them to embrace life’s journey.  

Christian Reichle & Monica Pritchard • Grand Rapids, MI

Before You Go

The mother and son artist team brings “Before You Go” inconspicuously to the Blue Bridge. This audio-based installation compiles a series of interviews the team conducted with members of the public from Grand Rapids and around the country. A vintage phone booth acts as the primary installation and invites spectators to come inside and hear excerpts of the interviews that have been compiled into several tracks and reflect the consistencies and similarities in respondents' answers.

The following artists are additional recipients of Curatorial Grants:



Through this new program, ArtPrize supported individuals from underrepresented backgrounds to participate in the 2021 event and seeks to underwrite work that is intentional and focuses on diverse, innovative, challenging, and engaging themes. Selected artists received grants to help with fabrication, shipping, travel, and other considerations necessary to support their participation in ArtPrize.

Oaklee Thiele & DisArt • Springfield, IL

My Dearest Friends

This physical installation is symbolic of disability presence in public spaces. The project displays candid remarks pulled from submissions for people with disabilities all around the world. It inspires visitors to consider the extreme marginalization, isolation, and discrimination people with disabilities are facing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Jenna Majzel • Hudsonville, MI

The Gambler

This series was created by Jenna Majzel, a 20 year-old with autism, and inspired by a love for Kenny Rogers’ song, "The Gambler". Jenna creates these drawings on her iPad Notes app, using only her pointer finger to draw. She finds drawing to be relaxing, fun, and helpful when managing anxiety. 

Olaniyi R. Akindiya Akirash • Pflugerville, TX

Ile Itaja - Shoppinglist

Created from food packaging waste collected from charitable work during the COVID-19 pandemic, this piece speaks to the moments of this past year: the encounters, the struggles, disappointments, and successes. It speaks to the ghostliness of empty streets and stores, and the moments of grace and gratefulness for one’s blessings.

The following artists and entries are additional recipients of Equity Grants:



ArtPrize venues applied for the opportunity to award grants to artists exhibiting ambitious outdoor work, and use the promise of those funds to attract artists who might not otherwise participate.

Virginia Montgomery • Austin, TX

Sword in the Sphinx

This enigmatic public sculpture includes a resin-cast copy of a historical French garden sphinx in the likeness of the 18th century court mistress, Madame de Pompadour, impaled with a hand-forged, artist-smithed sword.

Mandy Cano Villalobos • Grand Rapids, MI

Portion of Mine

This project is an interactive installation that builds upon communal ideas of home, memory and belonging. The exterior surface is the site of viewer participation. Throughout the duration of ArtPrize, visitors are encouraged to contribute symbols of home in the form of notes, photographs and objects. 

The following artists and entries are additional recipients of Project Grants:



ArtPrize is excited to announce the return of ArtPrize Murals, a grant program designed to activate highly trafficked areas of Grand Rapids with temporary murals during the ArtPrize 2021 event. The sides of shipping containers will be utilized in place of traditional walls, creating a temporary venue for two artist murals. 

Dania Grevengoed • Grand Rapids, MI

"Found Blooms" Mural

This mural will reference wildflowers and hyper local blooms that begin to show in West Michigan during the fade of summer to fall. The design will reference wildflowers found near the mural site and will grow around the entire container, flowing across and up the sides.

Maya James • Kalamazoo, MI

"Faces: Part II"

This piece calls attention to the lack of recognition received by black women for their impact on our everyday lives. It encourages visitors to recognize that black women deserve confidence not hatred, connection not discrimination, acknowledgement not denial. 

All grant-winning artists will be in the running for the $250,000 prize pool consisting of the juried awards, grand prize, and general prize pool to be awarded at ArtPrize 2021.

These grantees join the 950 artists that will display their artwork across the city for ArtPrize 2021. ArtPrize will return to Grand Rapids, Michigan from September 16 to October 3, 2021. Find a full list of artist entries at artprize.org/entries.

By Kati Molhoek on