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ArtPrize started, as most worthwhile things do, with a big idea.
Grand Rapids entrepreneur Rick DeVos announced in April 2009 his intention to launch a new "social experiment." He wanted to give away the world's richest art prize - and he wanted the winner to be decided by popular vote.
What's more, he wanted artists from around the world to enter the competition by displaying their work on the streets and in the buildings of downtown Grand Rapids.
And he wanted it all to happen just six months down the road.
DeVos' vision required a massive community effort. Permits had to be secured, hotel rooms had to be blocked, restaurants had to be alerted, excitement had to be generated, transportation had to be made ready, and an army of volunteers had to be recruited and trained.
The city and its residents pulled together to make it happen. In a very big way. That first year, 1,262 artists from 41 states and 14 countries displayed their work in 159 downtown venues. More than 200,000 people visited the event and more than 330,000 votes were cast.
ArtPrize got even larger in 2010: 1,713 artists; 192 venues; 250,000 visitors; and more than 465,000 votes cast. The 2011 event is shaping up to be bigger yet.
Think of ArtPrize as a grand-scale version of what Experience Grand Rapids can do for your event. We'll coordinate any community resources needed to carry out your big meeting idea. We'll work out the logistics on our end. We'll ease your workload however we can.
And we'll do it all for no charge.
Because attendee counts are the only big numbers we want you to rack up.
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An expansive public art program has helped make Grand Rapids an international arts destination. We host ArtPrize, the world’s richest art competition. This huge undertaking proves Grand Rapids can deliver a world-class experience – for 250,000 ArtPrize visitors or for your group.
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