Art Prize 2011, Grand Rapids MI

This page will be dedicated to tracking this art phenomena that has gained international recognition.  It is open to any artist of any background and voted on by the public.

A radically open art competition, giving away the world's largest art prize. Part arts festival, part social experiment - this international art contest is decided solely on a public vote. Art festival runs Sept. 21 through October 9, 2011. Come and see.
1,582 artists from 36 countries and 43 states will show their work in 164 venues within three-square miles of downtown Grand Rapids, Mich. Each artist will compete for the world’s largest prize for art, which will take place Sept. 21-Oct. 9, 2011. Participating artists and venues can all be viewed on the Artist List.
Event organizers today closed Connections—the period when artists can officially secure a venue and participate in ArtPrize 2011. Applications for entries were open to any artist who could secure a location to display their art.
“ArtPrize facilitates relationships between artists of the world, venues in Grand Rapids and people from all over,” said Catherine Creamer, executive director of ArtPrize. “We broaden the conversation about art by making it accessible to everyone who comes to the event, inviting each person to create and discuss their own story.”
While Michigan is home to a large number of participating artists, as an international competition, artists from as far as Singapore and South Africa will descend on Grand Rapids. Canada, with 23 artists, has the greatest number of artists participating in ArtPrize 2011 who are coming from outside of the United States.
The number of national artists has also increased in 2011. Illinois alone has more than 96 artists traveling to Grand Rapids. New York artists total 29 participating artists, while California and Ohio will send 30 artists each to ArtPrize 2011. Hundreds more are coming from Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Minnesota, Nebraska and Wisconsin.
A complete list of artists and their corresponding venues are available at
Inspired by such competitions as the X-Prize and large-scale events like the Sundance Film Festival, ArtPrize is among the most unique competitions in the art world. It has no formal jury, curator or judge, asking the public to vote and decide winners using mobile devices and the web.
During its 2009 inaugural season, more than 200,000 people attended ArtPrize and more than 334,000 votes were cast. Numbers swelled in 2010 to more than 400,000 people and 465,000 votes cast. ArtPrize organizers expect more than 500,000 people to attend the 19-day event.
Posted by Kevin Buist in Announcements, Art, General, News, News Releases

About ArtPrize®

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
  • $449,000 prize ($250,000 to 1st place)
  • Top 10 entries receive a prize
  • Artists can submit one entry
  • Any 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

What people said...

I think it's about 100 times busier than a normal Wednesday...
Greg Gilmore
Owner of The BOB

Who would have guessed that the perfect lesson for coping successfully with a failing economy would come from Grand Rapids?

Michael Kaiser
President of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

I was kind of blown away by it... you would think, 'Why didn't this happen in Brooklyn... in, you know, in the San Francisco Bay area?'

Richard Florida
Author of The Rise of the Creative Class

It will make the art world sit up... It will confuse the art world.
Peter Murray
Director of Yorkshire Sculpture Park

There was something magical about how ArtPrize saturated the city with more than 1,200 pieces of new art and galvanized public conversation...
Mark Stryker
Arts Critic

The energy and the enthusiasm and the intensity of it all will leave behind a broader, more favorable... appreciation of the visual arts in west Michigan.
Joseph Becherer
Director of Exhibitions & Curator of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

The following article is from

Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk

GRAND RAPIDS – Will ArtPrize 2011 be bigger and better?
It'll be months before we know whether the exhibition and competition created by Rick DeVos will be better.
But we may know whether it'll be bigger when venue registration ends at 5 p.m. Thursday.
With 24 hours left to go, ArtPrize's website listed some 171 banks, bars, offices and churches that had joined the exhibition covering 3-square miles of downtown Grand Rapids and competition offering nearly $450,000 in prize money. Meanwhile the total has continued to rise.
The inaugural ArtPrize in 2009 had 159 venues. The second event last fall had 191 sites downtown plus Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park for a total of 192 in all.
ArtPrize 2011, now under the leadership of newly appointed executive director Catherine Creamer, needs just 21 more in as many hours to surpass the total number of spots showing art last fall.
It's likely that that many already are in the pipeline for the 19-day exhibition opening Sept. 21.
Last Thursday, with one week to go, some 113 sites were listed on ArtPrize's website, but another dozen were waiting final approval.
By the numbers on Wednesday, one-third of the venues were located in Center City downtown, one-third in the Heartside neighborhood to the south, and one-third among the Westside, North Monroe and Hillside neighborhoods all together.
Already ArtPrize has one more exhibition center than it did in ArtPrize 2010. St. Cecilia Music Center has come aboard as the eighth center, which will house at least 25 artists and serve as a neighborhood hub for other venues nearby.
Coming next will be artist registration opening Monday, beginning a six-week process of signing up artists worldwide to be a part of the world's largest art prize, awarded by registered viewers, voting online or through social media.
ArtPrize 2011 will offer a total of $484,000 in cash prizes beginning with $250,000 for first prize, $100,000 for second prize, $50,000 for third, and $7,000 each fourth prize through 10th prize, all chosen by the public.
Five juried awards, each chosen by a professional juror, have been increased from $5,000 to $7,000 for ArtPrize 2011.
E-mail Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk: and follow him on Twitter

In 2010

19 days
192 venues
1,713 artists
44 states and 21 countries
$474,000 dollars in awards
465,538 votes cast
200,000+ visitors
50% non-residents

In 2009

18 days
159 venues
1,262 artists
41 states and 14 countries
$449,000 dollars in awards
334,219 votes cast
200,000 visitors

What people said

There was something magical about how ArtPrize saturated the city with more than 1,200 pieces of new art and galvanized public conversation...
Mark Stryker, Arts Critic

It will make the art world sit up... It will confuse the art world.
Peter Murray, Director of Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Every conversation I've had here for the past two weeks has been about art.
Dustin Dwyer, Michigan Radio Reporter