Belinda Tate, Laura Ritchie and Kulapat Yantrasast will take to the ArtPrize Studio stage in this event-within-an-event, featuring seven evenings of expert critique, lively debate, and exploration into innovations in art and technology taking place in West Michigan and across the country.

GRAND RAPIDS (Michigan) SEPTEMBER 12, 2017 — ArtPrize, the independently organized art competition recognized as the world’s largest annual public art event, today announced the 2017 ArtPrize Studio Series — powered by ITC, Your Energy Superhighway — that will bring together experts in the fields of art, design, innovation and technology at the ninth annual event. This event-within-an-event is free and open to the public, running from September 22 to October 5, 2017.

The ArtPrize HUB/HQ theater will once again be transformed into the ArtPrize Studio, beautifully furnished for television broadcast by Haworth, the Official ArtPrize Broadcast Design Partner. ArtPrize-goers will be invited to be part of the live audience, taking part in seven evenings of expert critique, lively debate, and exploration into innovations in art and technology taking place in West Michigan and across the country.

This unpredictable, inspiring and occasionally irreverent series will include three fan favorites which make up the Critical Discourse Series: the Jurors’ Shortlist Event, as well as the two-part Why These Finalists? event. All three will be broadcast live on NBC affiliate WOOD TV8.

“Through this series of events at the ArtPrize Studio, we seek to provide a platform for rigorous, constructive conversations and debates during the annual event,” said Kevin Buist, ArtPrize Exhibitions Director. “The addition of events focused on technology innovations like robotics and Smart Cities, and how the arts are essential to the creative minds behind them, will bring an exciting new dimension to this year’s lineup.”

September 22: Founders Brewing Co. Panel

ArtPrize and Founders Brewing Co. joined forces nearly five years ago to bring unique, experimental, artisanal brews to each annual event — each with a label designed by a local artist. Founders exercised its creativity again this year with a fifth ArtPrize beer — Green Zebra, a gose-style ale brewed with watermelon and sea salt.

Kicking off the 2017 ArtPrize Studio series on September 22 will be a discussion with members of the Founders’ leadership team moderated by Todd Herring, ArtPrize Director of Creative and Communications—diving into their creative process and the evolution of their beer lineup. Attendees can enjoy a pint of the Official Beer of ArtPrize Nine during the conversation—and then close out the evening with virtual reality, robotics activities and more Founders’ brews at the one-night-only event, “STEAM Village After Dark.”

September 25: Critical Discourse: Jurors’ Shortlist Event

On September 25, the ArtPrize Nine Category Award Jurors will reveal and discuss their Top 20 picks at the Jurors’ Shortlist Event, broadcast live on WOOD TV8. Artists submitted 1,346 entries into one of four categories including 2-D, 3-D, Time-Based, and Installation. A fifth category award will be given to an ArtPrize Venue for outstanding curatorial presentation. During this lively and informative event, category award jurors — each experts in their given categories — will offer their unique perspectives on the landscape of ArtPrize Nine entries.

These twenty finalists will be combined with the twenty public vote finalists, to be announced on October 1 — forming a pool of forty finalists. The jury and voting public will each have the opportunity to consider the others’ picks when awarding their respective prizes.

September 26: Start Garden 5x5 Event
5x5 Night, a monthly competition hosted by Start Garden since the organization’s inception in 2012, will make its debut on the ArtPrize Studio stage on September 26. Five entrepreneurs, selected following an open call, will pitch their business idea with the hope of winning a $5,000 prize. Each will be given five minutes and five slides to pitch their idea to a panel of five judges and a live audience. The judges will determine the winner, focusing on the validity of the ideas, the awareness of target markets, and the impact the $5,000 prize would have toward moving the businesses forward.

September 27: Prospect New Orleans – American Cities, Artists, and Audiences Collaborate
Brooke Anderson, Museum Director at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, will take to the ArtPrize Studio stage on September 27 to share the origins of Prospect New Orleans, the largest triennial of contemporary art in the U.S. — where she served as Executive Director for four years. Under her leadership, Prospect New Orleans shifted from a biennial to a triennial, and she oversaw the development of Prospect.3 in 2015, which was met with critical acclaim and was seen by nearly 100,000 people. In her ArtPrize keynote address, Anderson will explore how partnerships and collaborations established and encouraged the triennial’s audience.

September 28: Smart Cities Panel
As part of the hands-on education activities and programming in the STEAM Village, a lively discussion with leaders in the Smart Cities movement will take the stage on September 28 — highlighting what it means to be a truly “Smart City” and how art, design, technology and innovation are impacting innovation in cities like Grand Rapids and beyond. Panelists include Kristi Overgaard, Switch Chief Awesomeness Officer (CAO); Patti Poppe, Consumers Energy CEO; Mike Morin, Start Garden CEO; and Brian Seth Hurst, a Virtual Reality thought leader and innovator

October 2 & 3: Critical Discourse: Why These Finalists? Panels
On October 3 and 4, a panel of three art experts will discuss half of the public and juried finalists in “Why These Finalists?” — a lively, humorous and irreverent debate. Each evening, the critics will further explore the tension between public and expert approaches to assessing art as they love and lampoon the forty ArtPrize Nine finalists. Both nights will be broadcast live on WOOD TV8 starting at 7 p.m.
On the evening of October 3, Jim Daichendt, Dean of Arts and Humanities at Point Loma Nazarene University; Belinda Tate, Executive Director of Kalamazoo Institute of Art; and Lizzie Whitington, Visual Arts Curator at SXSW, will discuss the 2-D and Installation finalists.

And on October 4, Justin Witte, Curator and Director at Cleve Carney Art Gallery; Laura Ritchie, Co-founder and Director at The Carrack Modern Art; and Kulapat Yantrasast, founder of wHY Architecture, will examine finalist entries in the 3-D and Time-Based categories.

October 5: FIRST Robotics Keynote
As a celebration of the participation of FIRST Robotics Competition teams at ArtPrize, Don Bossi, President of FIRST, will give a thought-provoking keynote address on October 5. He will focus on the role that educators, parents, and business leaders have in safeguarding that all students — especially those who are underserved and underrepresented in STEAM — have equitable opportunities and pathways to success that ensure uniquely creative, diverse, and innovative career prospects. He will discuss the convergence of art and science and how FIRST engineers and inspires a new generation of leaders and problem solvers engaged in meaningful experiences at the intersection of multiple disciplines.

All ArtPrize Studio events are free and open to the public, and begin at 7 p.m. EDT — with the exception of the Start Garden 5x5 event which begins at 5 p.m. EDT. All events take place in the ArtPrize Studio at 41 Sheldon Blvd SE in downtown Grand Rapids. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early, as seats fill quickly and doors close for live broadcasts at 6:45 p.m. EDT.
ArtPrize will return to Grand Rapids, Michigan from September 20 to October 8, 2017, featuring 1,346 artist entries hailing from 41 U.S. states and 47 countries, showing at 175 venues across the three-square mile event district.


ArtPrize is an international art competition, open to any artist and decided by public vote. It invites artists to try out new ideas on a large and diverse population of people. It seeks to broaden the critical dialogue around contemporary art by awarding the world’s largest art prize. Two $200,000 awards are decided by public vote and expert jury, and an additional $100,000 in prizes is awarded to the top entries in each category. Registered artists and venues connect online at and agree to present the artwork for public display during the 19-day event. The public votes using mobile devices and the web to distribute their awards, while a group of international art experts determines the winners of the juried awards. ArtPrize Nine will include 1,346 entries representing 47 countries and 41 U.S. states and territories. ArtPrize annually attracts more than 500,000 active participants. Since its inception, individuals of all backgrounds have cast more than 3.2 million votes for public art.
ArtPrize is made possible in part through the generous support of many organizations. The Corporate Leadership sponsors include Amway, DTE Energy Foundation, Founders Brewing Company, Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, Meijer, PNC Bank, Switch, West Michigan Honda Dealers, and X-Rite Pantone. Premier sponsors include Consumers Energy; CWD Real Estate Investment; Haworth; Herman Miller Cares; ITC, Your Energy Superhighway; LIFEWTR; Michigan Lottery; Steelcase; and Wolverine Worldwide.
Leading Foundation Supporters include the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, the Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation, the Douglas and Maria DeVos Foundation, CDV5 Foundation, the Efroymson Family Fund, the Frey Foundation, Knight Foundation, Peter C. and Emajean Cook Foundation, The Wege Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.
CWD Real Estate Investment is the Official Real Estate Provider. Honda is the Official Vehicle of ArtPrize. MLive Media Group is the Official Provider of the ArtPrize Event Guide. The Rapid is the Public Transportation Partner. WOOD TV8 is the Official Broadcast Media Partner of ArtPrize. The Dick & Betsy DeVos Family Foundation is the Founding Supporter of ArtPrize.



Jaenell Woods, ArtPrize Communications Manager
616.214.7921 /
Preview Week: September 13-19
ArtPrize Nine: September 20-October 8
Ninth Annual ArtPrize Awards: October 6 at 9 p.m. EDT