PHOTOS: BRYAN ESLER, ERIC TANK, JEREMY KUHN, JEFF WILKINSON
Have you ever been in a room where everyone else is just as excited or more to be right where you are? That’s what the ArtPrize awards party felt like!
Before the awards started the crowd was treated to the energy driven sound of Vox Vidorra (according to their website, the band’s name is a multilingual neologism and alliteration meaning ‘the voice of the life you’re meant to live’). Vox Vidorra played a funky blend of soul music that made us jump out of our seats and bust a move (the wine in my hand didn’t hurt either). The Civic Theatre was such a gorgeous setting for the award ceremony, the atmosphere was electric as the crowd buzzed while waiting for the ceremony to begin.
Rick DeVos made a grand entrance and stunned the crowd with a mind blowing fact — kids that were 6th graders for the first Artprize were now seniors in high school. Rick let audience think about that for a minute as he reflected on how each and every participant, artist, volunteer, and community member played a part in impacting those kids’ outlook on the community and art in general. He expressed how he has enjoyed how ArtPrize makes conversations happen – the buzz that happens around the “must see” pieces, what people like and don’t like. He mentioned that finding a way to include all members of the community in artistic discourse is what Artprize is all about, and that they truly succeeded this year.
PHOTOS: DIANNE CAROLL BURDICK The party kicked into full swing quickly as the corporate sponsors gathered to celebrate the start of ArtPrize’s seventh year (#ArtPrize7). The HUB facility was a beehive of activity with music, laughter, and of course… ART! The evening was generously sponsored by Adtegrity and Comerica Bank.
From the parklet out front of the building that was installed in just four days to the “Double Crown” winner of both critic and viewer’s choice, Intersections, in its new semi-permanent home (actually a steel replica of the original, but who cares it’s still amazing/awe inspiring #steelcase) one thing is clear- the art is back in town!
VENUE :: Old GR Press Building/Loading Dock
DATE :: October 5, 2012
For the fourth year in a row, our city has become an art gallery.
For the fourth year in a row, hundreds of artists have come to Grand Rapids and put their work on display to be the topic of conversation for two and a half weeks.
And for the fourth year in a row, hundreds gathered for the ArtPrize Awards Event that took place on Friday night on the loading dock of the former Grand Rapids Press building, which had been transformed into a fantastic nightclub by Noddea Skidmore and her team. The event was graciously sponsored by Stella Artois and Haworth. Volunteers served up cocktails and checked out the venue. Our favorite hometown food trucks, What the Truck and The Silver Spork dished up delicious small plates while friends celebrated the culmination of 17 fantastic days in our community.
While this may have seemed like a peculiar place to many, ArtPrize Marketing Director Todd Herring said it best when he commented, “the history of this building and the future of ArtPrize are all part of one red line. One story. About a community open to change.”
Herring played the role of Master of Ceremonies on Friday night. He was joined on stage throughout the evening by the Grand Rapids Ballet Company, performing David Parson’s The Envelope, which was the perfect choice as the audience waited to find out what was in “the envelope.” The winner of ArtPrize IV. The ballet entertained the audience with moments of laughter amidst the moments of anticipation.
The first awards to be given out were the juried awards. There were five this year, each with their own sponsor and expert juror.
Time/Performance Based Art, sponsored by ITC Holdings:Three Phases by Complex Movements, selected by Juror Cathy Edwards.
Urban Space Award, sponsored by Spectrum Health:Flight by Dale Rogers, selected by Juror Susan Szenasy
Three Dimensional Work, sponsored by Haworth:More or Less by ABCD 83, selected by Juror Lisa Freiman
Two-Dimensional Work, sponsored by Varnum:Habitat by Alois Kronschlaeger, selected by Juror Tyler Green
Outstanding Venue Award, sponsored by Grand Valley State University:Site Lab, selected by Juror Tom Eccles
Next up was Darren Kuipers, Interim Executive Director of ArtPrize, who took a moment to thank the artists, venues, sponsors, volunteers, and staff who all worked tirelessly these past few weeks (well, the ArtPrize crew works all year) to make this event possible. (If you are out during ArtPrize these last couple of days, and you see someone with a volunteer shirt or a staff badge, make sure you tell them how much you appreciate all of their efforts to make this event happen for our city. Without them, this would not be possible!)
Then, the man of the hour, Rick DeVos, appeared on stage. He elaborated on Herring’s remarks about our community being “open to change.” He said, “Grand Rapids is emerging as a remarkable place where wild ideas can find an audience.” This year, that audience was made up of an estimated 400,000 people of all ages and backgrounds.
DeVos spoke about the importance of trying new things in order to, “make better things and make things better.” One of the new things ArtPrize tried this year was the Juried Grand Prize. To present that award, David Rosen, President of Kendall College of Art and Design at Ferris State University, joined DeVos on the stage.
Rosen told the audience that he came from Los Angeles to Grand Rapids, “not just for a job, but for life in a community filled with the traditions of art and design. A community driven by the engine of creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship.” He spoke of the courage that ArtPrize celebrates—as well as the “capacity and accomplishments of those who create.”
He also made an announcement of their newly formed five-year partnership with ArtPrize. Kendall College has signed a commitment to be an Exhibition Center and Premier Leadership Sponsor and pledged to fund the $100,000 Juried Grand Prize Award for the next five years. He then announced this year’s Juried Grand Prize, Displacement, by Design 99.
Rick DeVos then announced another partnership, this one with Meijer Corporation, who has pledged $650,000 over the next five years to support the public vote. It is wonderful to see the community coming together to sustain ArtPrize, and maintain the momentum for the foreseeable future.
Finally, the moment we had all been waiting for. Third Place in the ArtPrize IV public vote was given to Frits Hoendervanger, for his piece, Rebirth of Spring. Second Place went to Martijn van Wagtendonk for Song of Lift. And the winner of ArtPrize IV was … Adonna Khare and her piece, Elephants. Khare was rendered speechless but for two words: Thank You. Her reaction was priceless.
After the awards, guests enjoyed a beautiful celebratory after party.
There you have it. ArtPrize IV is a wrap. As Rick DeVos said Friday night, “this does not happen anywhere else in the world and it’s really cool.”
Yes, Rick. And the city is truly grateful to you for your leadership and for sustaining the growth of ArtPrize over the last four years. Our team at Stellafly Social Media are honored to have been a part of this fourth year of ArtPrize.