ArtPrize calls it quits after 13 years

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — After 13 years, the ArtPrize group is looking it quits.

The worldwide artwork competitors, which launched in 2009 and has yearly drawn hundreds of holiday makers to downtown Grand Rapids, introduced Thursday that its board of administrators is winding down operations.

Nevertheless, the ArtPrize idea doesn’t’ seem like going away.

The group stated it was giving its artistic, technological and communications platforms to a brand new partnership between Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., the town of Grand Rapids and Kendall Faculty of Artwork and Design of Ferris State College.

Collectively, the organizations stated in a information launch they are going to be creating a brand new experiment that may “construct on the legacy” of ArtPrize.

“What began as an experiment in 2009 shortly grew to become one thing extra, and we’ve got a whole group to thank for embracing the ArtPrize concept and taking it to superb heights,” ArtPrize Founder and Chairman Rick DeVos stated in a press release. “Collectively, we had been capable of stimulate thought and creativity by celebrating artwork, supporting artists, exploring acquainted and not-so-familiar venues, and beginning totally new conversations.”

He added, “Whereas there are actually blended feelings, we all know the time is true to conclude the unique ArtPrize experiment and open up house for brand spanking new vitality and creativity. We’re thrilled that the partnership of DGRI, KCAD, and the Metropolis of Grand Rapids is stepping ahead to proceed to supply an unimaginable fall occasion.”

DeVos couldn’t be reached for remark.

It was unclear why the board felt that now was the precise time to disband.

The competition had decreased in measurement and scope after it was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and its prize cash for profitable artists had additionally dropped considerably. For instance, its grand prize had as soon as been as excessive as $250,000. Nevertheless it had dropped to $50,000 in 2021, and was scrapped altogether this 12 months. It additionally had considerably fewer entries than prior years.

Tim Kelly, president and CEO of Downtown Grand Rapids Inc., stated he couldn’t communicate for the ArtPrize board and was not concerned within the board’s determination to finish operations.

Transferring ahead, he stated the town, DGRI and Kendall will probably be working to find out what the longer term occasion seems like.

“I feel we’re going to need to carry ahead the ArtPrize identify for positive, however there could also be another modification or addendum to that identify,” Kelly stated.

The intent is to maintain as a lot of the ArtPrize expertise in place as potential, he stated. That features internet hosting the occasion within the fall — it’s sometimes held from mid-September to early October — and striving to maintain the dimensions and scale the identical.

“Our intent is to hold ahead the legacy,” he stated. “I feel one of many issues that has made ArtPrize nice is the dimensions and scale of it. We have now no intent of scaling it again.”

He added, “There’s a number of work to do earlier than we’ve got this system and occasion logistics all discovered. However that’s what we’re doing proper now.”

Grand Rapids Metropolis Supervisor Mark Washington, who sat on ArtPrize’s board, was unavailable for an interview.

“The board felt it was applicable, coming off a powerful and profitable occasion this 12 months, to switch possession to a brand new entity that may steward it via the subsequent ten years and past by embracing ArtPrize’s basis of innovation and creativity,” he stated in a press release. “As a substitute of an ending, this must be seen as the subsequent chapter within the ArtPrize story and I’m excited to see what comes subsequent beneath this new period of management.”

A part of the brand new group’s jobs will probably be reaching out for donations to the companies, foundations and personal donors which have supported ArtPrize all through the years, Kelly stated.

“We’re actually going to depend on the work that’s already been finished and people connections which have been made,” he stated. “Primarily, this will probably be DGRI and the town and Kendall serving to step into that. There may even be full-time employees serving to step into the occasion.”

ArtPrize has six full-time employees members, Kelly stated.

“They’re all being paid via the tip of the calendar 12 months primarily based on their present employment,” he stated. “Then we’re speaking about what’s subsequent starting Jan. 1.”

Kelly stated conversations main as much as right now’s announcement picked up over the previous couple weeks following he conclusion of ArtPrize 2022, which ended Oct. 2.

This isn’t the primary time ArtPrize has tried to reboot itself.

In an try to preserve ArtPrize contemporary, organizers in 2018 introduced the occasion can be hosted each different 12 months with a smaller, scaled-back occasion often known as Mission 1 held throughout the off years. DeVos, when the change was introduced, described it because the mannequin that may carry the occasion into the subsequent decade. Nevertheless, that strategy was deserted.

Doug Small, president and CEO of Expertise Grand Rapids, the county’s conference and guests advertising and marketing company, stated ArtPrize helped put Grand Rapids on the radar as an arts and cultural vacation spot, and that he’s hopeful the brand new partnership will make the occasion a hit.

“I’m not overly stunned as a result of I assumed it was leaking oil a bit over the previous few years,” he stated.

Small stated Expertise Grand Rapids will probably be seeking to help and make the brand new occasion a hit.

“We need to make this one thing actually nice shifting ahead,” he stated.

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