The $15 million impact of ArtPrize … and ArtPrize 2012

nebula: a growing installation by yodraws
nebula: a growing installation by yodraws

ArtPrize is the radically open competition in Grand Rapids that any artist in the world who can find space can vote in, anyone in Grand Rapids who wants to create a venue, and open to a vote from anyone who attends.

ArtPrize 2012 will take place Sept. 19 – Oct. 7, 2012. This year the organizers are making a few tweaks. Most noteworthy is a new commitment to juried awards, led by a $100,000 Juried Grand Prize. There will also be $20,000 awards in each of the Two-Dimensional, Three-Dimensional, Time and Performance, Urban Space and Venue categories.

A recent study by Experience Grand Rapids, the Grand Rapids region’s convention and visitors bureau found that ArtPrize participants had a huge economic impact in 2011:

The study, conducted by the Anderson Economic Group, reveals that the 2011 ArtPrize event added $15.4 million to the Grand Rapids/Kent County economy, attracted more than 320,000 visitors and created more than 200 new jobs during its 19 days.

From Scott Watkins, with AEG:

“The study provides a comprehensive assessment of event attendance, visitor spending, local spending by the ArtPrize organization, and the economic impacts that accrue beyond the initial expenditures of visitors and the host organization. It also accounts for economic substitution. The analysis illustrates the new economic activity attributable to ArtPrize and does not double count spending in the area that would have otherwise occurred if the event was not held.”

Click to read the full report and watch ArtPrize 2011 – The Music Video.

February Michigan Event Calendar

Iron Works #2 - Cranbrook by MikeRyu
Iron Works #2 – Cranbrook by MikeRyu

Our Michigan February Event Calendar shows that the more the weather tries to keep us holed up, the more ways we find to get out and have fun!! Of course, there’s still many, many more and we invite you to fill us in on other February events in the comments.

February Fast FactsWikipedia

  • Having only 28 days in common years, it is the only month of the year that can pass without a single full moon. 2012 is a Leap Year!
  • It has 29 days in leap years, when the year number is divisible by four (except for years that are divisible by 100 and not by 400 in the Gregorian calendar)
  • It is the only month of the calendar that once every six years and twice every 11 years, will have only four full 7-day weeks.
  • Its birth flower is the Viola (plant) and the Primrose.
  • Its birthstone is the amethyst.

Holiday Giving, Reconsidered

Ernst & Young fill that kettle by kmaz
Ernst & Young fill that kettle by kmaz

In a recent conversation about how we see need in Michigan, Rob Collier President of the Council of Michigan Foundations told us about several reasons to give charitably this year.  He said, “This is an important year to give and give big because the needs are so great.  Just as importantly, the Michigan state charitable tax credits are expiring at the end of December.  These credits are available to any Michigan resident.  On your donation you get a 50% tax credit, so if an individual gives $300 then they get a $150 tax credit back.  This encourages Michiganders to support the causes they care about in their communities while while getting something back on their State of Michigan tax returns.”

You can donate in each of these three buckets:

  • Endowment funds held by Community Foundations
  • Support for Food Banks or Homeless Shelters
  • Libraries, Public TV & Radio, Colleges and Universities
Find out more about the charitable tax credit from the Community Foundation of SE Michigan, and read about the end of Michigan’s tax break for charitable aid from the Freep.

While  the holiday season is a great time to share our love, good thoughts, and Michigan-made gifts with friends & family, choosing to make donations to charities in lieu of buying gifts could be a really great way to allocate some extra funds to non-profits that desperately need it. This time of year, much of people’s hard earned money is spent on frivolous bric-a-brac that they would never buy otherwise, so why not  instead make it a charitable gift?  The American Red Cross notes that nearly four in five people would rather have a charitable donation made in their honor than receive a gift they wouldn’t use, so shifting ourselves (and our communities)  towards more meaningful giving can really bring the joy & holiday spirit back!

To maximize the benefits;  give to a tax-deductible charity for Christmas AND make it local.  We’ve compiled a list of Michigan based charities to choose from. Local money circling around our communities only strengthens our economy, as well as providing the necessary funds needed by these organizations to grow and continue to serve our communities.  A local charity gift for Christmas!   It is perfect, really. Read on for some great Michigan charities, be sure to check out our Michigan nonprofit section and add ones we’ve missed in the comments!

Detroit Design Festival ~ September 21-28, 2011

ddfDetroit Design Festival on FacebookThe inaugural Detroit Design Festival (DDF) starts tomorrow (Wednesday, Sep 21) with a kickoff party from 6-9 PM at New Center Park. DDF is a “crowd-sourced design festival” developed to showcase the talents and abilities Detroit’s creative community.

Over the eight days and nights of DDF—September 21 through September 28—a variety of Design Happenings will take place across at venues across the city of Detroit. The types of happenings will include studio tours, panels and roundtable discussions, fashion shows, and art battles to name a few.

Detroit Creative Corridor Center established the Detroit Design Festival to connect creative practitioners with one another, expose them to new markets and consumers, and of course put on display the creative talent that will help Detroit become a global center of creative innovation.

Art battles??!! Maybe someone can tell us what those are!

The site lists 85 Happenings, all “unfolded” in their blog. Competitions, presentations, panels, roundtables & lectures (Leon Krier next Tuesday sounds great), performances, benefits (25 chefs!), fashion shows, film screenings, cocktail receptions/dinners/parties, tours of all kinds, of art exhibits like Bordertown (cities and borders), Mind the Gap (public design ideas competition for Detroit’s in-between spaces), Woodward Windows (empty storefront windows as galleries) – so many events of so many types at so many venues that it feels like Detroit may be generating some of the same energy that Grand Rapids will be for ArtPrize. Anyone think that the rest of Michigan should jump on board next year and celebrate the positive in all our communities?

Anyway, here’s the video from and we hope you get a chance to check out (and report on) some of the fun of DDF:

DDF - Fathead from Charlie Kelly on Vimeo.

ArtPrize 2011 in Grand Rapids

The Eyes Have It by pairadocs
The Eyes Have It by pairadocs

Our favorite Michigan art event, ArtPrize, kicks off its third year in Grand Rapids this Wednesday. ArtPrize runs September 21 – October 9, 2011. It’s billed as a radically open art competition that is open to any artist in the world who can find space and it is one of the most dynamic expressions of art in the world.

In their excellent ArtPrize 2011 Guide, mLive reports:

The first ArtPrize drew an estimated 200,000 people to downtown Grand Rapids, more than 37,000 of whom cast more than 334,000 votes in the exhibition with work by 1,262 artists. ArtPrize 2010 drew as many as 400,000 people who voted 465,000 times for 1,713 works of art.

…Some 1,582 works of art go on display in 163 venues downtown plus Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park a few miles away.

ArtPrize 2011 poster by Square One Design

ArtPrize 2011 poster by Square One Design

Click through for some cool stories on 2011 such as news that Facebook creative director Ji Lee is entering for 2011 and a feature on 2011 ArtPrize venues.

The heart of ArtPrize is the public vote, and you can pre-register right now at FYI, if voting is the heart, than the lungs of ArtPrize are participation and presence, and to activate your account, you have to go to Grand Rapids (which explains the phenomenal support that GR businesses and organizations provide the event).

ArtPrize on FacebookSome great places to go for ArtPrize media include the ArtPrize Tumblr, the ArtPrize Facebook, ArtPrize Twitter and #ArtPrize on Twitter,  and the  ArtPrize YouTube.

Speaking of YouTube, a few cool videos we found include a check-in at yesterday’s ArtPrize artist reception at the B.O.B., an analysis of the public’s vote (and taste in art), a tour of ArtPrize neighborhoods, a look at the new ArtPrize HUB, and the cost of ArtPrize to artists. Below is the featured video from ArtPrize’s channel, a look at 2010 from Brian Kelly. Hopefully Brian will be kicking out more great videos this year! we hope all you photographers will post your ArtPrize photos in the Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr!

Michigan Radio: The Cost of Creativity

cost of creativityMichigan Radio has a great radio documentary titled The Cost of Creativity that I really hope you get a chance to check out. They note  that while Michigan was funding arts & culture at a level of $26 million dollars a year through a combination of state taxes and federal money a decade ago, it’s just $2.5 million today. As a comparison: Michigan taxpayers will spend more on prisons in 11 hours than they spend on arts and culture in the entire year.

Cafe Society portrait by William Hosner
Cafe Society portrait by William Hosner

Jennifer Goulet, president of Artserve Michigan says that art can be a concrete economic development tool (ArtPrize anyone?) and create cities where young, talented professionals want to live. She explains:

Arts and cultural institutions, attractions, museums, galleries, concert halls and so forth contributed 15% of the state’s cultural tourism revenues – it was 1.8 billion dollars. More than golf courses. And I think putting it in that context, that’s a major contributor to the state.

All of those businesses are adding jobs in local communities. Those are all job-holders that are paying taxes locally and at the state level. They are people who are buying groceries, and buying gas, and shopping in their local communities.

In this fantastic documentary, Michigan Radio Arts & Culture Reporter/Producer Jennifer Guerra talks with all kinds of people from Dan Austin of the website Buildings of Detroit about the some of America’s finest architecture and the phenomena of “ruin porn” to Traverse City artist Bill Hosner who started a cool Café Society project that uses art to create scholarships for baristas in Northern Michigan.

One of the many artists interviewed was cellist Andrea Moreno Beals of Breathe Owl Breathe. She kicks this video off and you should check it out as well!

Detroit ART City

“Detroit is one of only places where an artist can come in and probably own a building with the amount of revenue that they get.”
~artist kt Andresky, via Michigan Radio

Detroit Industry; - Detroit Institute of Arts( Diego Rivera ) - View 1 by DetroitDerek
“Detroit Industry” – Detroit Institute of Arts
( Diego Rivera ) by DetroitDerek

All week Absolute Michigan is talking about Detroit. With a wealth of museums including the Detroit Institute of Art, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, lots of public art and sculpture, artist venues like Detroit Artists Market and art schools such as the Detroit School of Art through Detroit Public Schools, the College for Creative Studies, Detroit definitely has a strong tradition in the arts. Detroit just wrapped up their annual Gallery Week, but you can get a sense of where the galleries are and what they’re doing at Art Detroit Now.

One factor that is overlooked but is contributing to a resurgence of art in Detroit is how affordable real estate is in the city. A prime example of what this allows is the 2.2 million square foot Russell Industrial Center was built in 1925 and designed by famed architect Albert Kahn. It served the auto and other industries for over half a century. In 2003 it was purchased by Dennis Kefallinos and has been transformed into one of the largest art/small business facilities in the Midwest, housing over 150 commercial tenants: architects, painters, clothing designers, glass blowers, wood craftsman, metal sculptors, graphic designers with space for hundreds more.

The quotation above comes from a Michigan Radio feature exploring how artists are finding affordable space in Detroit. Hear the full interview above or watch most of it with a slideshow below!

Getting around ArtPrize 2010

Walkers by RichardDemingPhotography
Walkers by RichardDemingPhotography

ArtPrize 2010 officially starts today and runs through October 10th. With over 1700 registered artists and nearly 200 venues you may find that seeing what you want to see is a daunting prospect. We spent some time learning about a few ways to make this easier…

You’ll definitely want to hit the exhibition centers for the high level of art concentration, but last year we found that there were so many more cool scenes to check out. To aid you in your quest to uncover these hidden gems, there’s the ArtPrize map on Google with information about all the venue locations. WOOD-TV has a look at the venues off the beaten path and some ideas for getting around.

This year they’re running an ArtPrize shuttle. To ride, all you need is a $5 wristband that also gives you free rides on any RAPID bus!

You can navigate on the ground, vote and get ArtPrize updates with the ArtPrize iPhone app.

mLive has a great report on “The Hub” – the HQ for ArtPrize at the old Federal Building. One of the very cool features they will have is a Heat Map that will track what’s hot on social media. Here’s the video tour of the Hub:

ArtPrize 2010 The Hub

Grand Rapids gets ready for ArtPrize 2010

via Michigan in Pictures

Face Paint by TerryJohnston
Face Paint by TerryJohnston

Last year ArtPrize in Grand Rapids launched and was the most successful art event in Michigan’s history, attracting 200,000 visitors to see the work of over 1000 artists in every media from fine art to paper airplanes. In 2009, Absolute Michigan was on location for ArtPrize and I have to say that it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life to see this city transformed into a giant gallery teeming with active, engaged crowds of people looking this way and that, trying to take in a mind-boggling amount of art.

In 2010 the format will be the same, with artists submitting a single entry at venues all over the city, all vying for the votes of those who attend and the $250,000 1st place prize. Absolute Michigan will be back to cover the event, and I sincerely hope you can make the time to go to Grand Rapids and experience ArtPrize.

Be sure to stay tuned to ArtPrize in the Absolute Michigan pool and add photos if you take them. Here’s the ArtPrize 2009 video we did last year from some of the pics we received!

ArtPrize 2010 and the diamond in the dust

dot to dot by powerbooktrance
dot to dot by powerbooktrance

The phenomenal ArtPrize returns to Grand Rapids for a second year. The dates will be September 22 – October 10, 2010 with a top prize of $250,000.

Speaking of Grand Rapids and ArtPrize, Rob Bliss had an interesting editorial that I think holds a lesson (as does ArtPrize itself) for the whole state of Michigan:

Here is my theory: Grand Rapids can be anything it wants to be. The proof lies in the pivotal year of 2009. There are people flying below the radar right now who are re-imagining this city to be as it never has been before. Movements to restore white water rapids to our river and take back our name, groups like ACTIVESITE who are rethinking downtown space, are quietly proving this city to the citizens who doubt it.

There are some who have attributed to me some sort of special ability to move people with my events, but I disagree. All I have done is put great faith in the largely unsatisfied idea that we are a people with a hunger for new, exciting ideas. My events simply work to dust off the diamond that always has been hidden beneath us. We are a people eagerly waiting what is coming around the bend, because we collectively feel the same electricity that coursed through this city in 2009.

Tons and tons about ArtPrize 2009 from Absolute Michigan including this video: