I have a painting in ArtPrize in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Most people, unless they’re from Michigan, haven’t heard of ArtPrize. It’s a large, city-wide competition with probably the biggest monetary prizes in the world, totaling over $500,000. Begun by the DeVos family (of Amway fame) a few years ago, artists submit their pieces online and must “connect” with one of the official hosting venues. Museums, restaurants, bars, schools, churches, and other establishments, become art galleries hosting anywhere from a few to dozens of artists. These venues act as the jury and curate their own show. More than 1,500 artists are participating and over the three week period some 200,000 people will view and vote on the art. The whole show was set-up as a “peoples choice” award. Pretty amazing, $200,000 to the winner, various other amounts to the rest of the top ten vote-getters. Needless to say, what is big, impressive, and in a high-traffic location, gets a lot of votes. The best art does not necessarily win. That the average visitor doesn’t know what good art is has been a criticism from the start, so this year they added some credentialed judges handing out an additional $200,000.
I had no expectations of winning anything going into it. And my 2' x 3' painting was probably seen by a fraction of the attendees. But it’s a way to get my work in front of more people and a fun event to attend. Grand Rapids has a revitalizing downtown with some great restaurants, bars, and brew-pubs. My wife and I toured around with friends for a whole Saturday and saw only a small portion of all the works.
I connected with Pub 43 to host my painting. This old-time tavern is long and narrow, and on the wall opposite the bar they are always hosting art shows.
Next year I’m going to try to do something larger and hope for a little more prominent place to hang it.
Morning on the Dune, oil, 24" x 30"