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ArtPrize travels west

Phoenix to host ArtPrize Pitch Night thanks to Grand Rapids native.

March 9, 2018
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ArtPrize
"Red Dirt Rug Monument" by Rena Detrixhe was installed at WMU Grand Rapids for ArtPrize Nine. The winner of a May 22 event in Phoenix will be invited to Grand Rapids for the next ArtPrize. Courtesy ArtPrize

One of Grand Rapids’ signature events is heading to the Grand Canyon State. 

Phoenix was chosen as one of the cities that will host ArtPrize Pitch Night. Dan Packard, who is a Grand Rapids native and a current resident of Phoenix, is one of the organizers of the event.

“It is wonderful for me to be able to do this and reconnect with Grand Rapids and do something that connects both cities,” Packard said. “I feel great to be able to do it.”

Details on the other cities selected for ArtPrize Pitch Night have not been released.

Jaenell Woods, ArtPrize communications manager, said there will be an open call for artists in the Phoenix area to pitch their submissions. Five artists will then get to pitch their ArtPrize 10 installation ideas May 22. The winner will be selected by a panel of local arts experts to win a $5,000 grant and a guaranteed spot at ArtPrize in Grand Rapids this fall.

ArtPrize Pitch Night is just the foundation of broadening an already robust arts atmosphere in Phoenix, according to Packard. 

He said he is working with the city of Phoenix to create an arts event inspired by ArtPrize, a 19-day arts competition, noting his team still is in the process of finalizing the details for the event that will be announced later this year. 

Packard said the event is slated to begin in 2019 but emphasized that it is not ArtPrize. 

“Phoenix has a great arts community here, and it is really full of talented and dedicated people who have spent years elevating the profile of the arts here,” Packard said. “We are a very different community from Grand Rapids both in size and demographics, among many other things. The way we envisioned this allows us to start with the ArtPrize model — but customize it to meet the needs of our own community.”

Woods shared the same sentiment. She said there is no formal partnership, but ArtPrize supports organizations that share its values of celebrating artists and transforming urban space. 

“If the 2019 event in Phoenix is an example of this, we will do what we can to support it,” Woods said. “It will not be an official ArtPrize event, but rather an event of their own creation, inspired by the open-call, catalytic nature of ArtPrize, under the umbrella of their own 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.”

In 2014, the Grand Rapids Business Journal reported that a Dallas-based nonprofit organization, ArtPrize Dallas, entered into a three-year deal with ArtPrize to host ArtPrize Dallas in April 2016. 

However, ArtPrize Dallas withdrew its bid to host the international art competition in 2015. According to ArtPrize, “Both organizations cite ambitious fundraising goals as incompatible with the timing required to stage the event at the level at which ArtPrize has come to be known.”

Woods said there are no plans for ArtPrize to be hosted in other cities.

Cities that have hosted ArtPrize Pitch Nights in the past include Detroit; New Orleans; Indianapolis; Louisville, Kentucky; Durham, North Carolina; and Bentonville, Arkansas.

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