ArtPrize unveils lineup

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A world premiere performance by the renowned visual and musical spectacle, Squonk Opera (pictured) will kick off the festival.Photo by Oscar Jordan.

ArtPrize, the annual international art competition is returning with a refresh this year. The organization, which is now a partnership between Kendall College of Art and Design, the City of Grand Rapids and DGRI, Inc. unveiled the official roster of talented artists who will showcase their work this fall across the city. The 2023 immersive event will take place Sept, 14 – Oct, 1, displaying 648 physical and experiential installations across 153 venues. More than 800 artists from 15 countries and 30 states will compete for $400,000 in prizes in the Public Vote and Juror Competition categories.

This year’s competition will feature artwork across various mediums – photography, painting, sculpture, ceramics, beaded embroidery and beyond – which will be thoughtfully placed across the city, turning parks, museums, hotels, restaurants and bars into captivating art galleries. Technology will play a key role this year, as ArtPrize received more requests than ever for art incorporating Extended Reality (XR). Several notable artists are returning to ArtPrize – including Seitaro Yamazaki who served as Creative Director for the Tokyo Olympics – while others are much-welcomed newcomers like Sri Lankan artist Kumkum Fernando, whose large-scale installations shined at Coachella this year.

ArtPrize attendees ages 13 and up can participate in the Public Vote competition by casting their votes for their favorite pieces as a registered visitor on ArtPrize.org. Voting takes place in-person and/or via the site’s voting platform from September 14 – October 1, 2023.

“ArtPrize spotlights some of the world’s most gifted artists, offering them a place to feel supported celebrated,” said Catlin Whitington, ArtPrize’s executive director. “This event is truly a one-of-a-kind opportunity to witness remarkable work from across the globe, where you will see, experience and live with art at every turn.”

ArtPrize has granted $200,000 to 45 deserving artists, marking a 642% increase in recipients from last year. With a large focus on supporting diverse perspectives, 80% of grant recipients come from historically underrepresented demographics. ArtPrize grant recipients include (but are not limited to): the Houston Museum of African American Culture’s curator Christopher Blay, whose work explores the past and future of Afrocentric themes and imagery; Salvador Jiminez-Flores whose surreal cacti-leg-like forms represent the immigrant experience in Grand Rapids; DisArt and Site:Lab, collaborating on The Art of Disruption at Heartside Park to unveil the powerful connection of race and disability and to call for radical change.

In addition to art installations, attendees will enjoy a robust line-up of daily programming presented by ArtPrize and the local community, featuring thought-provoking panels, networking opportunities, lively parties, special exhibitions, and more.

The ArtPrize Opening Party kicks off the competition on September 14 from 5-10 p.m., transforming Ah Nab Awen Park into a multisensory celebration with games, food trucks, art installations, fireworks, and a world premiere performance by the renowned visual and musical spectacle, Squonk Opera’s Brouhaha.

Additional festivities include the Merchants and Makers Artisan Market (September 23 and 24), featuring local vendors, live music, and delectable food trucks, as well as Curb Appeal (September 16), an electrifying exhibition exploring custom car culture, proudly presented by DJ Composition and Executive Motorsports.

ArtPrize has cultivated spaces throughout Downtown Grand Rapids where artists and attendees can recharge and forge connections. The ArtPrize ClubHouse will serve as a central gathering point, housing The Theater, hosting presentations, daily programming and panel discussions that explore trends in the art and design world; The Education & Volunteer Hub, organizing enriching youth educational activities; and Club Seen, an enthralling gallery and event space featuring captivating performances and activations alongside striking exhibitions curated by ArtPrize artists.

ArtPrize Oasis – an innovative concept designed by TBG Partners and proudly presented by Corewell Health and Priority Health – will provide an expansive haven along the Grand River. Helping the artists unwind and build lasting connections, the space will feature engaging games, inviting gathering areas, and stunning art installations courtesy of DGRI and the esteemed Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

Wrapping up the 18-day event on September 29, the Closing Party and Awards Ceremony will reveal the winners of this year’s Public Vote – with an impressive $125,000 awarded for first place, $50,000 for second, and $25,000 for third – along with the prestigious Juror Competition.

The Juror Competition will be judged by a hand-picked committee comprising esteemed members including Jonathan Levine, Josh Solas, Coka Trevino, Briana Yarhouse and Rachel Winter, honoring artists who exemplify excellence in their respective mediums: 2-D, 3-D, installation, time-based and digital. Each category winner will be awarded $20,000 and ArtPrize will recognize a second artist from each category as Honorable Mention. New for this year, ArtPrize has expanded representation and increased prizes of $15,000 each through the Visibility Awards, which recognize contemporary Black, Indigenous, Latino, Asian and LGBTQIA+ artists who excel in their craft.

For the full events line-up and more information about the experiences, artwork and competition, please visit experiencegr.com/artprize.

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