What has me immediately excited is the larger than life mural already in the works on the side of the seven-story Kendall College of Art and Design Building in Grand Rapids.
It has brought out the photographers and gawkers already and will be great fun to document the progress. Designed and executed by Chicago artist, Jeff Zimmermann, it will be one of the most visible of the hundreds of entries in ArtPrize.
A party has already been hosted in Jeff’s honor, more than a month from the official start of ArtPrize. Other events are being scheduled, posted on Facebook, Twitter and invitations printed and stuffed into mailboxes. If I were still writing Fashion for the Grand Rapids Press, I’d be thinking about doing stories about What to Wear to all these events. The ArtPrize organization hosted a huge event for the hundreds of volunteers, whipping them into frenzy over the fun to be had.
Folks who have volunteered to host artists are getting guest rooms ready, making sure all is in order for the creative folks hitting town in the next few weeks. Martha Stewart would be all over this, giving her advice for achieving hostess perfection, if she lived here.
I remember last year that in September I was on a road trip in Colorado ending ironically in an Art Capital of sorts, Sante Fe when ArtPrize made the scene. I was touring the galleries located in this art focused community missing a major ART Happening here in my hometown. It drove me crazy.
But this year I’m firmly planted here on the West Coast of Michigan, ready to enjoy it all. I am looking forward to the controversy and conversation.
In coffee houses, over glasses of wine and on the social media, the questions and conversation will swirl: What is art? For example, a recent article revealed that an industrial designer is proposing a new design for a bicycle be entered as an Art Prize entry. Is his idea Art?
If so, where does it fit into the total scheme of things? What are the boundaries? And how should art be displayed? Last year a huge art folk table and chair was installed on top of a working bridge. Was that art? Or a spectacular promotion? Who is to say what art is? Curators only? Can the community really be the judge?
Who will the A list of artists be? The rock stars?
Stay tuned. Before this is all over, there will be many more questions posed. Please join me in the conversation.
Designed as a very different art competition, the goal is for the general public and artists to collide, exchange ideas and come away changed.
2010 in brief
Grand Rapids, MI USA
September 22 – October 10
$449,000 prize ($250,000 to 1st place)
Top 10 entries receive a prize
Artists can submit one entry
Property in downtown Grand Rapids can be a venue
Venues choose the artists they exhibit
Anyone attending the event can vote
Winner is determined by public vote