ArtPrize expanding to Dallas


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — In a move about a year in the making, ArtPrize is expanding to Dallas.

An independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization was created to bring the art competition to Texas. ArtPrize Dallas has a three-year agreement for exclusive rights to hold the event in the southwest United States.

The first ArtPrize in Dallas is scheduled for April 2016. The 19-day event will feature art spread over three square miles downtown, like the original event in Grand Rapids. The first ArtPrize Dallas will give out up to $500,000 in prize money.

The world’s largest competition has been held annually in Grand Rapids since 2009 and in that time has awarded a total of $3.1 million in cash prizes. This year, ArtPrize featured 1,537 entries at 174 venues and gave out $560,000 in prizes. Additionally, ArtPrize said, the event attracts about 400,000 visitors each year and had a $22.2 million impact on the Grand Rapids economy in 2013 alone.

“We worked really hard to try and create a model that could potentially replicate into another city,” said ArtPrize
Executive Director Christian Gaines.

Artists will be allowed to compete in both ArtPrizes and they will be allowed to enter the same piece. That means the same person could win the grand prizes in both Dallas and Grand Rapids.

ArtPrize organizers don’t think another competition will have a negative affect on the Grand Rapids event.

“I don’t really look at it as giving it away, necessarily. It’s still here in Grand Rapids. This is still the home of ArtPrize and the germ, the genesis of the original idea,” Gaines told 24 Hour News 8. “If you look at our visitor demographic and the hundreds of thousands of people that come here, I don’t necessarily see that as a threat.”

He also said that because the events will be held at different times — April in Dallas and late September/early October in Grand Rapids — they aren’t in direct competition.

“We certainly have many visitors that come from Texas. We have about 30,000 people that come from outside the state of Michigan. There is no shortage of people that come from outside the state. I don’t necessarily look at that as a threat,” Gaines said.

Gaines said ArtPrize isn’t currently planning any further expansion, but didn’t rule it out for the future.

“Anything is possible,” he said. ” We just want to make sure whatever we do, we are in no rush. We want to steward it thoughtfully and carefully as we move forward and make sure it’s the right opportunity. Dallas felt right, and we have a lot to be working on right now.”

A Thursday release from ArtPrize said the Dallas event is expected to draw thousands of visitors.

The organizers from Dallas will work with a team from Grand Rapids to learn how best to coordinate the massive competition. ArtPrize says it will provide support for a website and app; training about event production, sponsorship, advertising and merchandising; trademark licensing; and consultation on “methodologies and guiding principals.”

Ariel Saldivar, who was a juror for ArtPrize 2014, will be the executive director of ArtPrize Dallas. Saldivar is a designer, entrepreneur and former indie rock musician, and also previously worked as the associated director of the Goss-Michael Foundation in Dallas, which supports British artists.

The seventh annual ArtPrize in Grand Rapids is slated for Sept. 23 to Oct. 11, 2015.

“Outside of any selling, it’s just a great idea. And a lot of people are really interested in it. It’s exciting and Grand Rapids should be really proud,” Gaines said.

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