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ArtPrize could expand to cities across the country

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 big art competition in Grand Rapids, announced Thursday it’ll debut in Dallas in 2016.

But the real news isn’t Dallas so much. It’s that there’s talk of even more competitions in cities across the country. And it means that ArtPrize in Grand Rapids will make money from licensing the brand to those cities.

In ArtPrize, the public votes for the winner. Juried prizes are awarded too. Those juried prizes have been getting bigger each year. Winners get cash. More than $500,000 was awarded to the winners this fall.

ArtPrize was founded in Grand Rapids in 2009.

The new ArtPrize Dallas has a three year contract with ArtPrize in Grand Rapids. ArtPrize Michigan & Midwest spokeswoman Jaenell Ott wouldn’t say exactly how much money the non-profit will make off the deal, but it’ll be somewhere in the “middle to upper six figures.”

The Dallas nonprofit is working on raising their own prize money because they’re their own organization.

Ott says there have been people from a number of cities that have shown some interest in a similar agreement. She says it’s fair to say this could happen elsewhere.

Some people in Grand Rapids have expressed concern on social media that the expansion could water down or take away from the competition here.

But Ott says that’s not what they expect.

“We really think ArtPrize Dallas could open up a pipeline between the Midwest and Southwest that would benefit Grand Rapids,” Ott said. “The point here is to serve and honor artists. Grand Rapids will always be at the centerpiece of this movement.”

The 19-day international art competition in downtown Dallas is slated for the spring of 2016.

This story was edited by Vincent Duffy.

Lindsey Smith is Michigan Radio’s investigative reporter. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor and West Michigan Reporter.
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