The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

ArtPrize changes embrace student involvement

GVL/ Sydney Lim

ArtPrize, Grand Rapid’s annual art competition, began on Sept. 14. The event is under new management to encourage student involvement, as well as notable advancements for artists. 

The 18 day competition is organized by the City of Grand Rapids, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) and Downtown Grand Rapids Inc. (DGRI). 

The new coordinators have introduced changes that aim to help local artists throughout West Michigan. Changes this year include an expansion of artist grants, visibility awards and an increase in prize payouts. In 2022, the event’s top prize was called the “Artist-to-Artist Award” in which artists voted on other contestants work with a grand prize of $12,500. This year the competition is headlined by the $125,000 grand prize and the award will now be voted on by the public, a voting process that was one of the the original concepts when the event was created in 2009.

“This was the opportunity to embed an equity lens into ArtPrize,” said KCAD President, Tara McCrackin. “Moving this (ArtPrize) more to a public entity run event and bringing back things that are popular like public voting and large cash prizes is part of the vision that city leadership has for Grand Rapids to be ‘Art City USA.’”

Student artists in West Michigan will also have a number of opportunities to showcase their art and network with industry professionals and other artists. On Sept. 26 and 27, KCAD will be holding a Portfolio Review for college students. Attendees will be able to bring their portfolios to KCAD and receive constructive feedback on their work from artists, staff and organizations involved with ArtPrize. 

In addition, renowned fashion designer RC Caylan and fashion student volunteers of West Michigan will present a private fashion show at DeVos Place on Sept. 29. The event will take place after the Closing Awards Ceremony at Rosa Parks Circle.

“Organizations involved in ArtPrize have been thinking of ways to incorporate students, volunteerism and activism into the exhibitions,” McCrackin said. “Based on the creativity and talent here, the support from our community and philanthropic identity of West Michigan, we have a great opportunity to connect with the community and support a defining event for Grand Rapids.”

Much of ArtPrize’s community support throughout the years has stemmed directly from the venues and locations that host the art. Grand Valley State University has long been a sponsor for the event and the Pew Campus has served as a temporary home for installations during ArtPrize.

A sculpture of Michigan artist Mathias J. Alten is currently on display at the L. William Seidman Center. The piece was created by J Brett Grill, a local sculptor, as a legacy commission from Alten’s granddaughter. GVSU will be adding the sculpture and a collection of Alten’s paintings to their permanent collection, as they were recently donated to the university by Alten’s granddaughter. 

“I love working with Grand Valley because it’s a place that values its art, and the university thinks about ways for art to make buildings nurturing and inviting,” Grill said. “It’s fun to know that your contribution to the campus will be taken seriously and maintained and they’ll think of it as crucial to the environment and development of young people.”

Grill’s sculpture will also incorporate the “Art at GVSU” mobile app. The app allows people to use their phones to make the statue come to life and provide a backstory. By utilizing augmented reality, the sculpture will become an interactive fixture on campus.

ArtPrize will run until Oct. 1. A calendar can be found on ArtPrize’s event webpage, which showcases a variety of events for the community and students.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Dylan Hoffius
Dylan Hoffius, Arts and Entertainment Editor
Dylan Hoffius is the Lanthorn's Arts & Entertainment Editor for the Winter 2024 semester. He previously worked as an Arts & Entertainment staff writer during the Fall 2023 semester. Dylan is a senior at Grand Valley State University, majoring in journalism, broadcast, and digital media, with aspirations to critique film and write for a sports and pop-culture outlet after graduation. He loves to watch movies at the theater, play disc golf and cheer for Michigan-based sports teams, specifically the Lions and Pistons. Follow his Letterboxd account for unbiased movie reviews and rankings. Graduating Winter 2024 Major: Journalism, Broadcast, and Digital Media