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July 17, 2014, Grand Rapids, Mich. – Grand Rapids Community Foundation and ArtPrize, the radically open international art competition, today announced a $50,000 outreach initiative to reduce barriers to engagement and draw a more diverse audience than ever before to the annual ArtPrize event. With this grant, ArtPrize is actively working to ensure that everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, ability, or socioeconomic status, can join the conversation and have their voices heard at the world’s largest art competition.

“We know that being a radically open event does not necessarily equate to universal outreach,” said ArtPrize executive director Christian Gaines. “Our commitment to intentional inclusion is critical to the ArtPrize vision that art is for everyone. We could not do it without the help and leadership of Grand Rapids Community Foundation.”

In partnership with Grand Rapids Community Foundation, ArtPrize is focusing its efforts both internally on its employees, work practices, and environment, as well as externally with its partners, stakeholders, and event audience. ArtPrize’s newly developed social equity plan offers a comprehensive strategy to integrate diversity and inclusion at every level of the organization and within the Grand Rapids community beginning this year.

“Every year, ArtPrize invites hundreds of thousands of visitors to experience the Grand Rapids community. We are thrilled to partner with ArtPrize to ensure that all visitors, regardless of who they are, feel welcomed and represented in our city,” said Grand Rapids Community Foundation President Diana Sieger. “We applaud ArtPrize’s intentional efforts to ensure that all voices are included in the conversation about what is art and why it matters.”

Community programming focused on outreach to underrepresented communities and marginalized individuals will kick off this year. This external programming includes partnering with community-based organizations to provide wristbands for free public transportation on the Rapid and DASH services during the ArtPrize event; a fully accessible ArtPrize walking path curated for individuals with mobility issues; and the creation of multilingual marketing tools to assist visitors in getting around the ArtPrize event, finding art and educational opportunities, and casting their votes. Internally, ArtPrize plans to build on its cultural competency through trainings and assessment of department-specific goals around social equity. This effort is fully supported by the ArtPrize Board of Directors’ recent adoption of a social equity resolution.

“Grand Rapids Community Foundation is empowering area nonprofit organizations around diversity and inclusion by helping us to identify best practices and learn from each other,” said ArtPrize community engagement director Amelea Pegman. “The Community Foundation has counseled us not only in how to understand diversity and inclusion but also in the right way to implement social equity efforts. I cannot wait to see the tremendous impact this has on the conversation at ArtPrize 2014.”

To learn more about these efforts, please visit bit.ly/artprizegrant or artprize.org/about/social-equity.


Grand Rapids Community Foundation leads Kent County in making positive, sustainable change. With its endowment, the Community Foundation supports local nonprofits, leads significant social change and helps donors achieve their philanthropic goals. For more information, please visit www.grfoundation.org.


ArtPrize is made possible in part through the generous support of many organizations.  Premier Leadership sponsors include Amway, The Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, Founders Brewing Company, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, Meijer, PNC Bank and The Rapid. Leadership sponsors include Consumers Energy, CWD Real Estate Investment, Deloitte, The Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, The Douglas and Maria DeVos Foundation, The Frey Foundation, The Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Haworth, The Iserv Company, Steelcase Inc., Subaru, Trivalent Group | HP, The VanderWeide Family Foundation and Wolverine Worldwide. The Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation is the Founding Sponsor of ArtPrize.


By Jaenell Woods on