The $250,000 gamble that Grand Rapids announced a year ago where the city would host a giant democratic art competition seems to have worked. Visitors came to the midwest city. The top ten finalists have been chosen, American Idol-style, by text message:
A total of 1,262 artists from all over the world entered the inaugural edition of the competition, which began Sept. 23 and has blanketed three square miles of the city center with a dizzying array of indoor and outdoor sculpture, paintings, murals, photography, mixed-media works, drawings, prints and performance pieces. Art fans, the general public and tourists have swamped downtown, clogging streets and packing venues, which range from office buildings, restaurants and salons, to museum-like spaces, hotels, public parks and the river.
Nearly 33,000 voters, all whom were required to register in person, have cast more than 320,000 votes via text message and online.
The Ten Finalists:
1. Eric Daigh, “Portraits,” Traverse City. The Old Federal Building
2. Sarah Grant, “The Furniture City Sets the Table for the World of Art,” Des Moines, Iowa. Blue Bridge
3. Jason Hackenwerth, “Ecstasy of the Scarlett Empress,” New York. Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts
4. David Lubbers, “The Grand Dance,” Grand Rapids. Grand River
5. Ran Ortner, “Open Water No. 24,” Brooklyn, New York. The Old Federal Building
6. John Douglas Powers, “Field of Reeds,” Birmingham, Ala. The Old Federal Building
7. Nessie Project (Thomas Birks, Richard App, David Valdisseri, Joachim Jensen), “Nessie on the Grand.” Grand Rapids. Grand River
8. Bill Secunda, “Moose,” Butler, Penn. The B.O.B. building
9. Tracy Van Duinen, “Imagine That!,” Chicago. Grand Rapids Children’s Museum
10. Michael Westra, “Winddancer 2,” Grand Haven. Blue Bridge
Artprize Names Top 10 Contenders for $250k (Detroit Free Press)