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With the support of the Frey Foundation and new supporter, the Efroymson Family Fund, ArtPrize Featured Public Projects returns for a second year, bringing large-scale public art to outdoor locations in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan during the ninth annual event.

GRAND RAPIDS (Michigan) February 22, 2017 -- ArtPrize, the international art competition heralded as the world’s largest public art event, today announced the return of ArtPrize Featured Public Projects. The granting program will award $85,000 directly to artists -- ranging from $5,000 to $15,000 per project -- to bring their large-scale, ambitious public art projects to highly visible outdoor sites in downtown Grand Rapids during ArtPrize Nine. This year, Featured Public Projects will also include grants geared toward specific media, and partnerships with other arts organizations -- both of which will be announced in the coming months. ArtPrize is accepting initial proposals through April 6, 2017.

In 2016, ArtPrize launched Featured Public Projects with the support of The Frey Foundation and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., ultimately awarding grants to four internationally-renowned artists. DeWitt Godfrey, Professor of Art and Art History at Colgate University in Upstate New York, installed Louis -- a large 3-D sculpture made of weathering steel and bolts -- at Vandenberg (Calder) Plaza. Sarah West and Christopher Field, the duo behind W/Field Workshop, used their backgrounds in architecture, public art, and digital technologies to create As I went over the water, the water went over me on the Gillett Bridge. The Oakland-based sculptor and former computer programmer, Christopher Schardt installed Light Ripples, an underwater LED sculpture featuring over 12,000 points of light, in the Grand River. And Los Angeles-based collaborators Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III, together known as FriendsWithYou, who used the grant to realize the inflatable sculpture, Light Cave at Ah-Nab-Awen Park.

Thanks to new support from the Efroymson Family Fund, a fund of Central Indiana Community Foundation (CICF), the ArtPrize Featured Public Projects granting program will expand in 2017, and is now accepting proposals for the following locations:

  • Vandenberg (Calder) Plaza
  • Ah-Nab-Awen Park
  • Gillett Bridge
  • Grand River

The Efroymson Family Fund, a donor-advised fund of the Central Indiana Community Foundation, continues a long legacy of charitable commitment by the Efroymson Family in central Indiana. The Efroymson Family Fund was established in 1998 by Dan and Lori Efroymson to promote the viability of communities and to date has awarded more than $100 million in grants in central Indiana and beyond. For more information about the Efroymson Family Fund, visit efroymsonfamilyfund.org.

In addition to grants, selected artists will also receive supplies and services from sponsoring construction, shipping and engineering firms to help offset the cost of bringing their ambitious projects to Grand Rapids.

ArtPrize Featured Public Projects is part of an expanding portfolio of granting programs. In 2016 ArtPrize granted $280,000 to artists, venues and educators bringing surprising, challenging work to the seventh annual event and encouraging the possibility of exploration and discovery. These granting programs included Artist Seed Grants, supported by the Frey Foundation and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc.; Pitch Nights sponsored by 21c Museum Hotels and Delta Air Lines, which directly support artists’ work; Transportation Grants, which bring students to downtown Grand Rapids from across the state to explore the event; Education Days Grants presented by PNC Bank, which support ArtPrize institutional partners in creating innovative programming with their artists for visiting students; Fellowship for Emerging Curators, which offered young curators the opportunity to work alongside and learn from experienced curators; and Venue Grants, which support venues in producing their ArtPrize exhibitions.

ArtPrize will once again take place across downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan from September 20-October 8, 2017. Venue registration for the eighth annual event will be open from March 6-April 6, and artist registration from April 17-June 8. Find more information about ArtPrize grants to artists here.

By Jaenell Woods on