Plainwell art teacher and artist Maggie Flynn’s designs on that district’s Library on the Loose book bus. (Photo by Ryan Lewis)

ArtPrize plans big change

(Updated with an additional Otsego artist, Jennifer Kaiser.)

GRAND RAPIDS—Sixteen artists from Allegan County are presenting work in Grand Rapids’ 10th annual ArtPrize competition—the last before the event switches to an every-other-year schedule.

The artists are among the more than 1,000 artists from dozens of countries displaying works of art throughout town at 190 venues. No numbers were released for this year’s number of entries, but last year there were more than 1,260 entries from dozens of countries and throughout the United States.

All will compete for a combination of public vote and juried awards totaling more than $500,000.

While the number of participating artists has continued to drop slightly—there were 1,550 in 2015—the numbers of visitors and votes cast has continued to climb. Last year, the 19-day exhibition drew 522,000 visitors and more than 3 million visitors since 2009.

The top public vote-getter in each of four categories—2-D, 3-D, Time-Based or Installation—wins $12,500; a $200,000 public vote grand prize will go to the artist who earns the most votes overall after two rounds of voting.

On the juried side of the event, a juror in each of the four categories will award $12,500 to one piece. The jurors will then select four more from their categories and a three-person grand prize jury will determine who receives the $200,000 juried grand prize.

The event also gives out more than $290,000 in grants, everything from artist seed grants to a fellowship for emerging curators.

Public voting is done at or through a mobile app. The first round of voting began Wednesday, Sept. 19, at noon and runs through 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29. The top 20 vote-getters go to Round 2; voting for that begins Sept. 30 at 2 p.m. and runs through Oct. 4 at 11:59 p.m.

Winners are then announced at the awards ceremony Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. The exhibition closes Oct. 7.


New schedule

This year, however, marks a major change in the contest. In June, ArtPrize revealed plans for a new citywide public art project, slated to take place in alternate years, beginning in 2019 titled “Project 1 by ArtPrize.” Concurrently, the organization announced that the ArtPrize event will be shifting to a biennial schedule, returning for its 11th edition in 2020.

“Since its inception in 2009, ArtPrize has been an evolving experiment. Our job is to continue to push the bounds of how we engage the public in conversation about art and why it matters,” said Jori Bennett, ArtPrize executive director. “With the incredible support of the community, we are now in an exciting position to again be the accelerant for conversation about art and creative expression.”

For Project 1, a single artist or small group of artists will present a dynamic citywide public art project in September-October 2019 at sites in downtown Grand Rapids, and will include education and cultural programming that is free and open to the public. The entire cost and accompanying programming will be funded by ArtPrize with the support of its donors and sponsors.

ArtPrize artistic director Kevin Buist said, “As a counterpoint to the vast array of artworks vying for attention during ArtPrize competitions, Project 1 will invite visitors to slow down and engage with large-scale immersive work. The artist or artists will present a temporary, focused activation that will respond to the city’s history, community and sense of place.”

The following list of local artists in this year’s ArtPrize was compiled drawing from the information provided on the event’s website.



Maggie Flynn

“Library on the Loose,” 3-D

First United Methodist Church

227 E. Fulton St.


Dawn Hollister

“The Pere Marquette River,” 2-D

Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital

100 Michigan NE


Kalyn Stufflebeam

“Calm Expression,” 2-D

Grand Rapids Griffins

130 W. Fulton, Suite 111


Diane Sumner

“Broken Bullet,” 2-D

Grand Valley Artists Inc. at the Water Treatment Building

1101 N. Monroe NW

Street Level



Steve Leary

Gold Rush, 2-D

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

303 Pearl St. NW



Mary Hopson

“I’m Lost,” 2-D

Cornerstone Church, Heritage Hill

48 Lafayette Ave. SE


Tyler Voorhees

“Spider Rock,” 2-D

Davenport University Peter C. Cook Center

45 Ottawa Ave NW


Bart Woloson

“SWEET,” time based

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum

303 Pearl St. NW



Michael Stewart

“Weeping Purple Beech,” 2-D

Grand Valley Artists Inc. at the Water Treatment Building

1101 N. Monroe NW Street Level



Julie Baptiste

“Endangered,” 2-D

San Chez Bistro

38 West Fulton


Kathy Baptiste

“The End of the World as He Knows It,” 2-D

Holiday Inn Grand Rapids Downtown

310 Pearl Street NW


John Jaeger

“Coming On,” 2-D

Bangkok Taste Cuisine Cafe

15 Jefferson Ave. SE


Jennifer Kaiser

“Blue Ice,” installation

Craft-Revival Jewelers

16 Ionia Ave. SW



John Leben

“Tornado,” 2-D

First (Park) Congregational Church

10 E Park Place NE


Michael Sampson Sweeney

“Sunrise on the Kalamazoo Watershed,” 2-D

The Artist’s Studio

40 Monroe Center St NW Suite 102



Margaret Hall

“Magic of Summer,” 2-D

First (Park) Congregational Church

10 E. Park Place NE



Stephanie Sebright

“Ensnare Trepidation,” installation

Rockwell Republic

45 S. Division Ave.


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