Small venue wins big award at ArtPrize 10


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — One of the smallest ArtPrize venues to make the jurors’ Shortlist snagged the title of Outstanding Venue.

The Grand Rapids African American Museum & Archives took the $12,500 juried award at ArtPrize 10 for its curated “Exhibit of the 50 Ft. Women.”

It featured images of well-known names like Oprah Winfrey and Madam C.J. Walker, but lesser-known women were also the centerpiece for some entries. George Bayard III, GRAAMA’s executive director, told 24 Hour News 8 Sunday that the ArtPrize 10 collection was about the powerful impact women have had on the world.

“Those things that happened in the news with the Supreme Court and Bill Cosby only galvanized some of the issues here that women were speaking about,” he said.

Bayard called the win unexpected, citing repeat venue SiTE:LAB’s history of winning the Outstanding Venue award and talent at several other locations.

“Our venue is the smallest venue out of all of the venues that were nominated, so we really didn’t think we had a shot,” Bayard said. “Especially with SiTE:LAB, who has some excellent pieces over there and they’ve won five of the last seven years, we didn’t think that was going to be possible.”

Bayard said he wanted people to enjoy the art, but he also wanted them to have a learning experience. He recalled several people telling him that they learned something new on their visit.

There were some visitors who said they had never heard of GRAAMA, according to Bayard. The museum at 87 Monroe Ave. NW near Louis Street has been open less than two years. Several of the new visitors offered to share old photos and artifacts for GRAAMA to add to its collection.

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