Learning curve for new way to give ArtPrize artists money


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — ArtPrize works differently this year, giving visitors chances to spread prize money among more artists.

But it’s coming with a learning curve. Many of the ArtPrizegoers who News 8 spoke with in downtown Grand Rapids on the first day of the massive competition didn’t know about the changes or understand how to interact with the art.

Others were having technical problems.

“Well, I tried to read the QR code and my phone wouldn’t make the internet connection,” Tricia Lincoln, who is visiting from Nevada, said. “So I guess I’ll have to try again.”

The process starts with scanning a QR code that can be found on a venue sign, alongside an artist statement or even on business cards handed out by artists. Once you scan, you’ll get a link to the ArtPrize website. Sometimes, it will offer you the opportunity to award a cash prize, which you can do immediately by sending it to any work you like.

In all, some $150,000 will be awarded directly to artists using that method.

“I think that’s great because I know any artist needs more funding,” Lincoln said.

The ArtPrize app offers a “wow factor” award. (Sept. 16, 2021)

You can also award fun superlatives, like “most Instagram-able,” “wow factor” or “got to see it twice.”

If you’re having trouble with the app, roaming ArtPrize volunteers should be able to help you.

The interaction structure aside, visitors were thrilled Thursday that ArtPrize was back after a two-year hiatus.

“Just the fact that you bring people together for a great cause — nonpolitical, hello — it’s wonderful,” Kathy Gomez of Coopersville said. “I love it. I love to find the creative that people – how they come up with this stuff I don’t know. I’ve only been to about 50 exhibits and I’m impressed with everyone so far.”

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