Open to all, this new programming will captivate audiences in a different way by highlighting events happening beyond venue hours, offering additional perks to ArtPrize badgeholders, and encouraging downtown visitors to keep ArtPrizing after dark.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. August 27, 2015 – ArtPrize, the radically open, international art competition decided by public vote and expert jury today announced that ArtPrize Tonight will bring evening programming to the center stage at ArtPrize Seven this fall. ArtPrize Tonight offers a comprehensive rundown of 19 days of evening entertainment in three categories: On Screen, On Stage, and Critical Discourse. The breadth of entertainment this year has increased, with both Waterfront Film Festival and pop-up Tent Venue “The Eddy” coming on board to offer independent festivals within the boundaries and timeframe of ArtPrize Seven—slated to take place from September 23–October 11 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

“ArtPrize Tonight exists to shine a spotlight on the many entertainment options available to ArtPrize visitors throughout the 19 days,” noted Todd Herring, ArtPrize Director of Creative and Communications. “The sheer scope of evening events this year is like nothing we’ve seen before.”

The ArtPrize Seven Event Guide will feature much of the ArtPrize Tonight programming. As events will continue to unfold throughout the 19 days, visitors are encouraged to visit for a continuously updated calendar listing. ArtPrize badge-holders can expect to receive a perk at all ticketed ArtPrize Tonight events—whether it be reduced ticket price, reserved seating, or a door prize—with individual perk details available within the online event listings.


ArtPrize On Stage is the most diverse of the three event categories, offering live music, theater and comedy performances across a wide variety of venues, including Rosa Parks Circle. Notable shows in the On Stage roster include Circle Theatre’s Women Of Rock, Grand Rapids Symphony’s Love, Lust & Rock 'n' Roll, and a Michigan House Showcase at the Pyramid Scheme.

Additionally, St. Cecilia Music Center, one of the first ArtPrize Tonight program partners, is curating a number of busking sites around the city throughout the first two weeks of ArtPrize, with locations including the Gillett Bridge, Lyon’s Square, and the Women’s City Club. St. Cecilia’s is also hosting their own independently organized competition during ArtPrize, awarding $5,000 to the top public vote-getting musical entries, and an additional $5,000 by expert jury. The marquee event for St. Cecilia’s ArtPrize Tonight programming is a concert on Sunday October 4, featuring Josh Davis, a finalist on NBC’s The Voice.

The Eddy—an event-within-an-event to take place in the midst of ArtPrize Seven—will also contribute largely to ArtPrize On Stage. This new pop-up riverfront venue located on Monroe Avenue just north of I-196 will manifest as a 4,000 capacity temporary Tent Venue, featuring 11 days of diverse programming. Headlining the water-centric festival is Grammy-nominated folk-rock band The Avett Brothers. Other programming includes “1964 the Tribute”—a world-renowned Beatles tribute band—as well as a variety of Michigan artists representing country, rock, hip hop, indie, and other musical genres.

Visitors can expect to enjoy food trucks, Michigan craft beverages, a silent disco, and a plethora of live music acts as well as weekend events and activities for the whole family. Organizers intend to harness the collaborative atmosphere and considerable creative energy of the ArtPrize event, activating an often overlooked green space in downtown Grand Rapids while providing ArtPrize patrons with an additional, temporary entertainment hub to explore and enjoy.

“This is more than throwing a festival,” explains Sam Porterhouse, Founder of Porterhouse Presents. “The Eddy has been designed to showcase how this huge green space can be reinvented, supporting community, as well as adding to the riverfront vision. For local economics it’s very exciting.”


ArtPrize On Screen debuts with Waterfront Film Festival hosting evening and daytime screenings of cutting-edge independent cinema, as well as late night VIP parties. Programming will showcase a total of 22 films, many with Michigan ties, including six feature narratives, five documentaries, and ten short films.

"The Waterfront Film organization is dedicated to the collaboration with ArtPrize to raise the profile of the cinematic arts in Grand Rapids during ArtPrize,” explained Hopwood DePree, Waterfront Film Festival Founder. “Both are established non-profit organizations focused on bringing art, culture, and education to Michigan so it makes a lot of sense to combine efforts on this venture. We aim to expand the film program in the coming years and look forward to a longterm partnership."

For the first weekend of the 19-day ArtPrize event, Waterfront Film Festival will maintain its headquarters and hospitality hub at the Ladies’ Literary Club, 61 Sheldon Blvd. SE, next door to the ArtPrize HUB.

Details on purchasing Waterfront Film Festival weekend passes, the film screening and event rundown, and perks for ArtPrize badge holders are available on the ArtPrize website. 50 seats will be available to the general public free of charge—on a first come first served basis—for each film screening.


Critical Discourse—presented by ITC, Your Energy Superhighway—returns for ArtPrize Seven, offering a 6-day series of panel discussions and charged conversations around the nature of art and how it informs us. The format remains similar to 2014, transforming the ArtPrize HUB Theatre into a TV studio-style atmosphere complete with live audience.

The Critical Discourse event series will kick off with the Juror’s Shortlist event, broadcast live on WOOD TV8 on the evening of September 28. During this event, each of the ArtPrize Seven category jurors will reveal and discuss their shortlist of five nominees, a total of 20 entries and 5 venues, which will be in the running for their respective category awards: 2-D, 3-D, Time-Based, Installation, and Outstanding Venue. The 20 nominated entries will also be eligible to receive the $200,000 Juried Grand Prize.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to hear from the producers behind the most innovative artist-run spaces in Detroit, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, and Grand Rapids. Unapologetically Midwest: Artist-Run Art Spaces will feature several Midwestern artists who, rather than flock to the coastal art centers, fulfilled their need for institutional support by building new art spaces and exhibition programs within their own communities. Speakers for the September 29 panel include Robert Elmes, Director of Galapagos Art Space, Detroit; Jehra Patrick, Program Director for, founder of Waiting Room, Minneapolis; Mike Wolf, member of the DAAC, Grand Rapids; Alexander Herzog, co-director of The Suburban, Milwaukee.

On October 1, Leatrice Eiseman—executive director at the Pantone Color Institute—will take to the Critical Discourse stage in Future Color/Design Trends: Innovation and Impact. Eiseman will explore what is driving the most relevant color and design trends of today, where they originate, where they are headed, and what she views to be the most meaningful color palette and style indicators.

Providing a space for dialogue with esteemed artists rooted in both art and activism, Reflecting the Times: Art & Activism will address important contemporary social justice efforts such as #BlackLivesMatter, and how art is situated at the forefront of these movements. Speakers for this October 2 panel include Taylor Aldridge, co-founder of ARTS.BLACK, Detroit; Jessica Lynne, co-founder of ARTS.BLACK, New York; Suhaly Bautista-Carolina, Engagement & Education Manager at Creative Time, New York; and Dread Scott, artist, New York.

The lively and unpredictable series of panel discussions and hosted talks will culminate with the two-part televised event, Why These Finalists? On October 5 and 6, a panel of arts experts will examine side-by-side both the jury’s shortlisted entries and the public’s favorite pieces, exploring the tension between public and expert opinion in a series that walks the line between irreverence and critical debate. Both evenings will be broadcast live on WOOD TV8. Panelists for Part 1 on October 5 include Jillian Steinhauer, senior editor of Hyperallergic, New York; Lisa Freiman, director of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Institute for Contemporary Art, Richmond; Anila Quayyum Agha, artist and 2014 ArtPrize winner, Indianapolis. Panelists for Part 2 on October 6 include Sarah Schultz, independent curator, New York; Crimson Rose, co-founder of Burning Man, the Black Rock Arts Foundation and Burning Man Project, San Francisco; Edward Winkleman, writer and gallery owner, New York.

“Although largely ArtPrize-centric, Critical Discourse is also an opportunity to see arts experts speaking candidly about important and intriguing issues in the art world at large,” says Kevin Buist, ArtPrize Director of Exhibitions. “Providing a dynamic forum for discussion about art—and the many reasons it matters—remains at the forefront of all Critical Discourse programming."

ArtPrize Seven is slated to take place in Grand Rapids, Michigan from September 23 – October 11, when 1,550 artist entries at 162 venues will vie for a combination of public vote and juried awards totaling $500,000.

By Emma Higgins on