Director: ArtPrize film ‘a big thank you letter’ to GR


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The director and filmmaker behind the a mini-documentary that captivated the crowd at the ArtPrize 10 awards show says he had to “pull some favors” to make it happen.

“(I had) a lot of fear and terror. How do you encapsulate an event like ArtPrize? It’s hard to describe,” director and producer Brian Kelly said Monday.

His 81/2-minute piece at the start of Friday’s awards show illustrated the early challenges of ArtPrize, like when downtown Grand Rapids ran out of food.  It also highlighted favorite moments and top pieces for the public, like 2014’s double grand prize winner, Intersections.

“I was trying to capture, you know, just kind of this rocket ship that ArtPrize has been for the city of Grand Rapids, and some of the controversies and some of our favorite pieces. And just kind of connect it to this big ‘thank you’ letter to the city of Grand Rapids, that has really embraced the event and made it happen like no other place in the country,” Kelly said.

>>Inside Complete coverage of ArtPrize 

Kelly says he worked with a great writer who already had come up with the witty banter the announcer would use, so interviews with ArtPrize founder Rick DeVos and past winner Anila Quayyum Agha were pointed.

 “It was just a fun interplay. I wanted it to be fun and funny and a great look back, but also be very inspired, maybe a little emotional and just kind of like ‘Wow. This is our city and this happens here,’” he explained.

ArtPrize 10 was the first for Jori Bennett as executive director.

“(It) couldn’t have come out better, I think. We’re thrilled for all of the winners this year, and I think they really resonated with the general public. You know, making connections, human connections through their art, generating really exciting conversation about empathy and what it means to be a human and connecting together. What a fantastic result for us. We are thrilled,” she said.

This is also the last year the competition will be held annually.

Bennett says ArtPrize’s inaugural community art collaboration for 2019, dubbed PROJECT [1], is in development right now. They’ll announce the artists working on the projects early next year.

ArtPrize 11 will be held in 2020.




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