There has been an inordinate amount of construction in downtown Grand Rapids this summer. Thankfully all of those projects are winding down as the city prepares to welcome nearly half a million visitors to the 2014 ArtPrize in its 6th year, which will span from September 24th to October 12th. If you’ve never heard of it, ArtPrize is an open art competition that takes over the city’s public venues for three weeks of art awards, appreciation, and conversations. This year is promising to be better than ever! Here is what’s new for 2014:
1. The App
While the app was around for ArtPrize 2013, this year’s new features, which will be released for Apple and Android on September 22nd, are game changers. The listing feature, which is currently accessible on artprize.org, allows art appreciators to create unlimited lists of what they want to see. If they want to follow hot on the heels of what pieces art critics are excited about seeing, those lists are searchable. Even better, after you’ve listed the pieces on your to-do list, the app will generate a walking map to lead you in a logical route to the pieces you seek. Jonathan Hunsberger, ArtPrize director of technology, says, “Our goal was to enable our users to organize and share information with each other quickly and easily, ultimately answering the questions: ‘What should I go see?’ and ‘How do I get there?’ Perhaps one of the best developments in lists this year was the ability to generate walking directions from any list you want.”
2. The Beer
Like the app, Founders has been around as the proud beer sponsor for ArtPrize before. Last year was their inaugural beer for their “Artist Series”, and was a black IPA called The Inspired Artist. The long awaited 2014 release of Mosaic Promise this month features just one hop and one malt. Proceeds from the ale, both in the taproom, around the US, and for the $9.99 six packs in Michigan, Wisconsin, New York and Illinois go to ArtPrize – so get it while it’s available! I can say from experience that it is a mighty tasty work of brewed art.
3. The Conversation
Like all great and lasting events, ArtPrize has meaning for more than just the entry artists and traveling critics; it’s the start of a conversation that thousands of people wouldn’t otherwise have. In 2014, the public will have a chance to gather every night from September 29th until October 7th to resolve the questions and opinions of the public vs. critics. “The strength of ArtPrize lies in the often unresolvable tension that exists between public and expert opinion,” noted Christian Gaines, ArtPrize executive director. “Critical Discourse will provide a welcome refuge for rigorous, intentional and transformative debate—even as a million conversations about art continue beyond its walls.” These meetings are happening at 7pm at the ArtPrize HUB, so head that way after you follow your list, have a Mosaic Promise, and prepare to discuss the radically open competition that is ArtPrize 2014!
What are you most looking forward to this year at the 2014 ArtPrize?