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Big changes coming to ArtPrize this year

Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
Families take pictures in front of "Rusty" near the Grand Rapids Public Museum during ArtPrize 2011. Voters picked Rusty as number 5 in the top ten.

ArtPrize, the annual art competition in Grand Rapids, will still award $560,000 this year, but professional jurors will now have a bigger say in who gets the money.

The people who visit ArtPrize and register to vote have always decided the winner. But this year there will be two top prizes, each worth $200,000. One will go to the top vote-getter. The other winner will be decided by three art jurors.

Dana Friis-Hansen heads the Grand Rapids Arts Museum. He thinks the change will attract more professional artists to ArtPrize.

“I think it’s going to create more conversations, more opportunities for comparisons, for contrasts, and in the end, we all learn more about art by having a broader dialogue,” Friis-Hansen said.

ArtPrize will also replace its top-10 list with a top 20 list. It'll compare works of art with similar mediums. So sculptures compared to sculptures or performance art with performance art. There will be  a winner in each of the five categories, with a prize of $20,000 – except for the two top prize winners, which will automatically win their category and take home $200,000.

There are  also some changes to voting. Once the competition is narrowed down to the top 20, people can vote for more than one work on the popular vote list. In the past, people could only vote for one work once the top 10 were narrowed down.

Lindsey Smith helps lead the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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