New Rules, Grants, and Preview Week for 2016 ArtPrize

When ArtPrize returns to downtown Grand Rapids this fall, past grand prize winners such as Ann Loveless and Anila Quayyum Agha won’t be eligible to take part, at least not as competitors.

The decision to make previous public vote or juried grand prize winners ineligible to participate in future competitions was one of two major rule changes announced at last week’s annual report breakfast. The other big switch for the international art competition focuses on how many finalists can come from one venue. Moving forward, there will now be a cap of two entries from each venue that can advance to the public vote final 20.

ArtPrize officials explained the changes are the latest in a series of tweaks meant to challenge patterns of predictability within the event, which returns Sept. 21 to Oct. 9. Other new elements at this year’s event include:

  • Preview week: From Sept. 14-20, an official preview week will take place, allowing visitors to get a sneak peek at the art and installations in progress at various venues, which will be able to charge admission.
  • More grants: Money available to artists continues to grow through a new ArtPrize Featured Public Projects program, the ArtPrize Pitch Night program, which is expanding to Louisville this year and returning to Minneapolis, Indianapolis, and Durham, and a new partnership with Independent Curators International. Combined, these three programs will grant $120,000 to artists and curators.

Rick DeVos, ArtPrize Founder and Board Chairman, said in ArtPrize’s eighth year, the mission of the event hasn’t changed, but a clearer definition of what guides ArtPrize has emerged. The organization outlined ten guiding principles, which will set a long-term vision for the event. DeVos specifically mentioned the ideas that ArtPrize is a catalyst to build community through countless instances of independent participation, is intentionally inclusive, and transforms urban space by striving to fill every available space with art.

Executive Director Christian Gaines said ArtPrize will continue to grow and evolve as necessary. He expects that some things will work and some won’t, which is okay.

“Change and failure is embraced and encouraged,” Gaines said.

Venue registration for this year’s ArtPrize started on March 7, with an April 7 deadline. Artist registration takes place April 18 through June 2. Learn more at

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Photo credit: Steven Depolo



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