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Break it Down, Make it Better. is an ongoing series of conversations and events which produce year-round educational programming, workshops, and professional development opportunities for artists, curators, and venue coordinators in our community and region. These programs are presented through an ongoing partnership between the Avenue for the Arts and the exhibitions team at ArtPrize.

The first event of 2015 discussions kicked off at the UICA on February 28. This one-day event included a panel discussion, Comparing Curatorial Practice, and 11 roundtable discussions. More than 110 attendees came out on a very cold and early Saturday morning to particpate in conversations on different ways of curating, and we think that's pretty exciting.

Speakers included Ryan Myers Johnson, curator of Sidewalk Festival of Performing Arts in Detroit; Ron Platt, Chief Curator at Grand Rapids Art Museum; Tim Lane, Director of (SCENE) Metrospace in Lansing; and our moderator, ArtPrize Exhibitions Director Kevin Buist. Download the PDF to read more about each of our speakers.

If you have any questions or would like further information, I encourage you to send a note to support@artprize.org. Thanks for listening!

Earlier this month, ArtPrize also announced $220,000 in support grants intended to encourage further possibilities for surprising, challenging, and ambitious work at the 2015 event. As ArtPrize matures as an organization, we continue to seek ways to broaden the support we give to venues, artists, and educators. New and updated ArtPrize grant programs allow us to support as well as reward the innovators that make ArtPrize a success each year.

We're pleased to continue our partnership with the City of Grand Rapids and Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. to hire curators to work with the City to place artwork in City Venues during ArtPrize. Just like our open call for artists, curators responding to this opportunity can be from anywhere in the world. Curators can be individuals, teams, or organizations. Each City Parks Curator will receive a project stipend to cover their time and help offset the costs of the artist projects they select. Anyone from anywhere can apply to be a City curator and, while experience as a curator or work on similar projects is a big plus, it isn’t strictly required. The application period is now open and will close on April 6.

New for 2015, ArtPrize introduced the Fellowship for Emerging Curators during the seventh annual event. This fellowship presents a unique opportunity for emerging curators to gain valuable experience by working with a curator at an established ArtPrize institutional venue. The Fellows will work alongside each institution’s curatorial department as they create their ArtPrize exhibit, as well as curate and produce their own ArtPrize exhibition at a separate location under the mentorship of the institutional curator. The partners participating in this pilot year of the Fellowship for Emerging Curators include the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Kendall College of Art and Design, SiTE:LAB and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts. The application period is now open and will close on April 6.

Additionally, ArtPrize will support venues through a series of Venue Grants. Similar to the Artist Seed Grant program, every venue is encouraged to apply for the opportunity to receive grants ranging from $500 to $5,000 each, for a total of $30,000. Venues can complete the simple online application form, available starting today, as they register to participate in ArtPrize 2015. The application period is now open and will close on April 6, prior to the April 9 Venue Registration deadline.

By Heather Duffy on