West Michigan News

Inside Artprize

October 07, 2010
ArtPrize is this spectacle -- this dawning, slowly encroaching season, now an integral part of Grand Rapids' autumn. A casual walk for a Grand Rapidian to the bank or a local watering hole reveals a statue that wasn't there before, a mural slowly spreading across the side of a building, a painted piano on a street corner, a pop-up shop in what used to be an unused space. And then it happens. Crowds of people, spilling through crosswalks, strollers everywhere, parties, queues, non-stop discussion, every update of Facebook or Twitter revealing more opinions over individual pieces, crowds, votes and ruckus.

ArtPrize doesn't just appear. It's carefully planned by a team of masterminds, who have successfully turned ArtPrize from an idea into a successful reality for the second year in a row.

In one of the ArtPrize Speaker Series events, Museum of Contemporary Art Denver Director Adam Lerner, Ph.D, said, "You can pay to make an excellent event, but you can't pay to make it awesome."

ArtPrize Executive Director Bill Holsinger-Robinson replicated this quote when discussing the spirit and sustainability of ArtPrize. Immediately after 2009's event, ArtPrize officials held a series of town hall-style meetings, asking participants what worked and what didn't. They were open to criticism and discussion, the necessary components of improvements.

"I think coming off the heels of last year's event, we understood as an organization that we were lacking in some specific areas of leadership," Holsinger-Robinson says. "So we filled in the holes."

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Category: Arts&Culture, Community, Entertainment, GrandRapids, Innovation, WestMichigan