ArtPrize is a 19-day open art competition that attracts more than 500,000 visitors from nearly 50 countries with 1,500 works displayed in area museums, restaurants, bars, theaters, parks, hotels, storefronts and offices. This independently organized international art competition spans 19 days each fall in Grand Rapids, Mich. More than $500,000 in prizes are awarded each year, which include a $200,000 prize awarded entirely by public vote and another $200,000 prize awarded by a jury of art experts.
The DTE Energy Foundation has provided ongoing support of ArtPrize, which in 2016 created an estimated $28.6 million net new economic impact on the city – with 63% of visitors travelling more than 30 miles to attend the event. Additionally, ArtPrize has used its platform to educate the community around waste diversion, energy use, water conservation, and overall ecological footprint. For example, 46,000 visitors chose to ride The Rapid transit system rather than drive to ArtPrize, lowering the carbon impact of the event. 4,900 visitors toured the event via a Pantone Pathway, collectively walking nearly 200,000 miles in 19 days — nearly enough to circle the earth 50 times or make it to the moon.
One of the DTE Energy Foundation’s goals is to support arts and culture – making ArtPrize an ideal partner. Over eight years, 2.9 million visitors have cast 3.2 million votes and artists from around the country and world have received $4.1 million in awards. In 2017, various works of art were created by 1,346 artists from 41 states and 47 countries were exhibited in 175 venues, which received a total of 384,053 votes.
Now in its tenth year, ArtPrize attracts a vast, enthusiastic audience of more than 26,000 visitors each day of the event to a Midwestern city ranked 26th in population in the United States. ArtPrize is free and open to the public, making it one of the most attended public art event in the world.
Other programs have expanded the learning opportunities for the public during ArtPrize. The Critical Discourse speaker series brings art experts to Grand Rapids for free, public discussions about art. Pre-empting prime time local syndicated television, the series actually triples viewership on the local NBC affiliate. The Education Days program serves nearly 19,000 PreK-12th grade students from 203 schools in 59 school districts across Michigan through customized field trips and learning experiences.
ArtPrize continues to stimulate conversation in Grand Rapids and beyond about how art connects to audiences and the role it plays in civic life.