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Thread: ArtPrize in Grand Rapids

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    ArtPrize in Grand Rapids

    Seems like the best place to start this new thread.

    ARtPrize 2010 is the second edition of a local event. It's the idea of one of the Amway founders' grandsons, and has pretty much taken over my fair city for three weeks.

    Basic details
    In the Freep

    On the Sunday before the event opened, I pedaled around downtown, and enjoyed seeing hundreds of folks checking out the installations. Usually there might be a handful of folks in any of our public spaces.

    For the last few days, there have been thousands of people downtown during A/P hours. The restaurants are doing land-office business (even open on Sunday evening) and there's spin-off business affecting the metro area.

    This is the line waiting to get into the art museum, where several of the "top ten" pieces are displayed. On Sunday.


    Two solid lanes of traffic on the bridge, and thousands of people walking around.


    Pop-up food stands and mobile carts




    Street pianos (there are twenty)














    Adding to the atmosphere: artists do their own marketing. This is a sidewalk-obstructing come-on for the piece displayed inside. (Code enforcement collected it.)






    I've found several pieces that should remain behind.
    Cityscape made from one sheet of paper


    Sculpture on the lawn near city hall


    Huge photo mural of downtown


    Part of a piece called "where do you get your ideas"


    A piece showing a traffic jam


    City hall plaza


    Women's City Club is an exhibition center. The Heritage Hill Home Tour folks decided to move their annual event to spring.


    The artworks range from traditional oil paints to mash-ups of found objects, indoors and out. Any business, space, or location within the three square mile boundary can be a venue, so there are displays in parking lots, parks, along the sidewalks, inside buildings, on the sides of buildings, on the bridges over the river.





    Fountain at the GRFord museum.


    Park


    There are many community pieces (kids made these clay birds).


    Many pieces seem to be of the arts & crafts variety, or of dubious artistic merit.
    Last edited by Veloise; 05 Oct 2010 at 1:13 PM.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Economic impact

    No official real-time numbers. No one standing on the street corners counting visitors, no extra traffic counters laid out on the streets. However, the local univ did a study. Highlights:
    • estimated 150,000-200,000 visitors to Grand Rapids generated between $5 million and $7.6 million
    • Between 7,500 and 10,000 visitors came from more than 160 miles away and likely stayed overnight
    • 31,500-42,000 visitors came from between 30 and 160 miles away and were likely day visitors who came to Grand Rapids specifically for ArtPrize
    • The total effect on Kent County ...estimated to ...supporting 415-550 full-time jobs in Kent County during September and October 2009
    Last year, the restaurants were unprepared for the huge influx of visitors, particularly those who rolled in on the first Sunday for one special event. For this second year, they've done more preparation: adding staff hours, working with suppliers to keep their coolers stocked. It's been truly amazing to roll down our main street and see the normal "roll up the sidewalks" places still doing business, with their doors propped open, at 9:30 pm.

    Anyone have specific questions? I'm happy to help. (The A/P volunteer shirt says "ask me")

  3. #3
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Thanks for posting this Veloise! I work in the zone that straddles the arts and planning. My official title is Community Planner but I work for a non-profit art center and this is the kind of work we do - creating art-centered public events (which builds a community's social capital), some public art stuff, delivering free arts instruction to low-income communities, etc. It is work that generally does not get a whole lot of respect from some corners even though our university also recently completed a survey of the economic impact of the arts showing the millions of dollars in annual revenue brought to the City through public events, gallery sales, movies, and all the secondary commerce this stuff creates (eating out after going to see live music, for example).

    Still, I am proud of what we do. Art, or at least support for the arts, is generally not highly valued by the community at large, but they would all miss it if it were removed from our lives. Plus, it provides a third party stimulus to generate dialogue around important issues and further (especially among young people) promotes creative thinking skills which will be extremely important in the future as the next generation envisions a new economic reality (building on the belief that "the jobs our children will do in the future haven't even been invented yet")

    ˇviva arte!
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    2010 survey

    This is fun. During the first few days of event I posted a message on my Facebook statue: "we should be doing a survey, asking all these visitors where they're from, how long they are staying, how much they're spending."

    Et voila, some college students were deployed, questions were asked.

    Of the thousands of visitors roaming downtown during ArtPrize 2010, about 43 percent were first-time visitors to the urban exhibition.
    And 88 percent of those surveyed during the second year of the event said ArtPrize was the primary reason they were downtown that day. ...
    The survey concluded average spending was $72.31 by local parties and $156.22 by out-of-town parties.


    More here: http://www.mlive.com/artprize/index....predicted.html

    Also, "City parking officials say this year's ArtPrize activities brought 20,000 more parkers to the downtown area."

  5. #5
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Where does the prize money come from? Amway?
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    Where does the prize money come from? Amway?
    Indirectly, yes. The event is the brainchild of Rich DeVos, son of the former gubernatorial candidate and grandson of the Amway co-founder. I did not know that he'd put up three years' worth of support, and expects the event to become self-sustaining by 2010.

    There are a kajillion sponsors (all the usual suspects) and presently the artist entry fee is $50 (very low, IMHO). Another community could emulate the event with a lower cash prize, higher entry fee, maybe even charge a vote fee. Buy 100 tickets, throw 'em towards one artist or 100 of them.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Veloise View post
    Indirectly, yes. The event is the brainchild of Rich DeVos, son of the former gubernatorial candidate and grandson of the Amway co-founder. I did not know that he'd put up three years' worth of support, and expects the event to become self-sustaining by 2010.

    There are a kajillion sponsors (all the usual suspects) and presently the artist entry fee is $50 (very low, IMHO). Another community could emulate the event with a lower cash prize, higher entry fee, maybe even charge a vote fee. Buy 100 tickets, throw 'em towards one artist or 100 of them.
    Thanks for your answer. As you may have suspected, I was wondering how this could be replicated in the real world. Not every town has the DeVoses or Van Andels.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Consulting opportunity?

    Was delighted to find a couple of long-time friends displaying at A/P, in an off-the-beaten-path venue. I did some social media marketing, and venue ID work, on their behalf.



    Residents of a Detroit suburb, they told me about a call from their fair city. Would they mind meeting with a local arts assn and relating their A/P experience? I am keeping them supplied with the ED stats and links. After I suggested that this could be a nice adjunct to her portrait painting and his portrait photography, they asked if I might like to collaborate.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    ...and in Chicago

    Interesting article.
    Looks like they controlled some of the A/P wilder aspects.:
    Some 191 artists are participating in 10 venues downtown ...
    Plenty of the details are familiar enough -- viewing art in non-traditional spaces, casting votes through social media to pick a Top 10 in a first round, followed by a second round to pick the winner of the top prize worth $25,000 -- followed by $15,00 for second place and $10,000 for third place.
    All of Art Loop's artists are from the Chicagoland area. A professional jury ... selected the work from some 750 pieces submitted. A team of curators organized all of the work into the venues...
    One of ArtPrize's goals was to bring people to downtown Grand Rapids. Art Loop set out to keep people downtown after hours, where some 500,000 office workers, plus another 60,000 students, come to the Loop every working day.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian natski's avatar
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    Sydney does something kinda similar called Sculpture by the Sea along Bondi to Tamarama beach walks.

    This is a sponsored event, but tens of thousands of people turn out for it, and i know my former art college has students volunteering in all sorts of capacities there.

    I dont have direct dealings with community art programs like wahday, but i do a lot of work with our community arts development officer, and organising arts events is not an easy task, especially the funding side of things- and i am constantly amazed at some of the work that is achieved on next to nothing budgets.

    One thing to add, whilst there was a discussion on Artist fees etc (something i know a bit about as a beginner artist) is that, the higher the fee, the more likely you are to cut out local, beginner, budding artists (like the Sydney example). Depends if you want the event to be a local grassroots festival or a more high profile 'respected' arts event. I can see a place for both of course
    "Have you ever wondered if there was more to life, other than being really, really, ridiculously good looking?" Zoolander

  11. #11
    Cyburbian JimPlans's avatar
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    Baltimore has Artscape (or, as I would have said back in Massachusetts, Aahhtscape). it's been going for 30 years, and it's big. They claim 350,000 attendees and a reputed $26 million economic impact.

    According to the impact report found at the link above:

    "Forty-seven percent (an estimated 163,800 guests) visited from outside of the Baltimore Metropolitan Area. Approximately, 35,350 attendees traveled from outside of the State of Maryland."

    "Artscape attendees spent $275,699 at local hotels" and "spent $9,256,046 with Artscape vendors."

    "Artscape attendees have extraordinary awareness of the corporate sponsors of the 2009 Festival" [perhaps the most important statistic for future sponsorship]

    The event also had 228 volunteers who gave 1,545 hours of work.

    Artscape's budget was $864,000 in 2010, but only $40,000 came from the City and $52,000 from the State. They raised $362,000 in corporate sponsorship donations, and the rest comes from vendor fees and other grant sources. Link

    It's a pretty cool festival.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Two follow-up pieces

    Ripley's museums buying many ArtPrize entries
    "I don't think we've ever had a better show for our kind of material in one place."


    "Nah nah" article about Chicago's Art Loop event

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    How much does competition add to the fun?

    I'm wondering if this event would be nearly as successful without the voting. That would eliminate controversy about which artists "advertised" and where pieces have the good or bad fortune of being installed.

    Couldn't one keep social media as part of the fun by having a game about locating all the pieces, locating pieces that have X word on them, X found object, X color combination, the largest quantity of X, which one if made of a foodstuff, etc. etc. etc.

    Low entry fee, high serendipity factor, some junk, some truly wonderful stuff...a winning formula. The other one: jury, high entry fee, first-rate national or international quality combined with the best in food and music. Either is good for the local economy and building social capital, but they have quite different impacts on the population participating and the impact on the community's branding.

    I'm not sure this one would require a sugar daddy, as implied in another post, if the planning were clever enough. And we're planners, right?

    Love the street pianos, by the way.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by urban2rural View post
    ...Love the street pianos, by the way.
    http://therapidian.org/cabildo-takes...c-public-areas

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