Reigning champs return to Grand Rapids for ArtPrize 2021


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The couple who won the last ArtPrize is back in Grand Rapids as the massive art competition returns following a two-year hiatus.

“The String Project” by Chelsea Nix and Mariano Cortez, a series of photos demonstrating the ties between people across boundaries, won the $200,000 public grand prize in 2019.

“I think it connects with people because it encourages human connection through empathy, connection,” Cortez said. “I think it was very raw and authentic piece, so people felt drawn into it.”

“I think they feel hope when they see it,” Nix added.

Since winning ArtPrize, Nix and Cortez went on a world tour with indoor and outdoor exhibitions. They published a book so people could have the photos in their homes and learn more about them. The proceeds of the book go to a nonprofit they created to help people around the world who lack basic needs.

Nix and Cortez brought “The String Project” back to Grand Rapids for ArtPrize 2021 and it’s on display around the city.

“The whole point of coming back was to say, ‘Thank you, Grand Rapids,'” Nix said. “Thank you for having us. And we wanted to show you what we did with it, that we kept going with the project.”

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