More prizes for ArtPrize

May 17, 2010
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On May 13, ArtPrize announced the addition of four new awards with four new judges.

The new juried awards are: best two-dimensional work, best three-dimensional work, best time-based and best use of urban space.

Each award carries a minimum $5,000 prize that is separate from the $449,000 awarded to the top 10 artists based on a public vote. The four new awards will be paid for by yet-to-be-named sponsors that may raise the prize amount at their discretion.

“The notion of having these different awards is based on the feedback we got last year from the arts community to try to get us to focus around some categories for voting. Whereas we’re kind of loath to do that from a public voting perspective, we are sensitive about our responsibilities to promote and develop the artists that are participating in the program,” said Bill Holsinger-Robinson, executive director of the world’s largest art prize competition.

“Although the cash prize in and of itself can be a huge benefit to the winners, we also wanted to offer some prizes that would be in direct support of growing these artists’ careers on the whole,” he added.

The awards will be judged by nationally known arts figures: Patricia Phillips, dean, Rhode Island School of Design, will judge the two-dimensional category; Xenia Kalpaktsoglou, curator and co-director of Athens Biennale, will judge three-dimensional; Judith Barry, director of MFA, Art Institute of Boston, will judge time-based; and Jeff Speck, city planner, architectural designer, author and former director of design at the National Endowment for the Arts, will judge the best use of urban space.

“Mostly, we’re just excited to have these judges involved. Their depth of connections within the arts community and urban planning space is really fantastic,” said Holsinger-Robinson. “One of the cool things for us in bringing these jurors in, too, is that we’ve also been able to tap for our speakers series a really super-awesome list of speakers who are very well known in the arts world, urban planning space and in the design space.”

Holsinger-Robinson said that the awards and the jurors also will help the event build longevity.

“The award for 2-D art, for example, becomes something that’s prestigious — if not as huge a benefit on the monetary side of things, something that, long-term, means something because of the jurors we’ve been able to select.”

Community involvement and business sponsors have increased from last year, but Holsinger-Robinson said the ArtPrize team is being cautious about growing the event too quickly.

The number of venues has jumped to 226 this year from 159. Holsinger-Robinson pointed out that what’s interesting about those numbers is that 150 of the 159 are back from last year.

“A lot of our focus right now is on the sustainability of ArtPrize on the whole — making sure we’re growing it in the appropriate way,” he said. “Although there’s a lot of excitement from all the partners that have signed up thus far, I want to make sure we’re not inflating this thing too large too quickly, so it can be sustained decade after decade. We’re hoping to build something to last.”

A wide variety of companies and organizations support the event in one way or another.“Most of it’s a lot of cash sponsorships to be able to do things like exhibition centers. We’ve got a lot of technology partners that are helping us on the development side of things as well as making that whole series of right connections. We’ve got partnerships with the (Convention and Visitors Bureau), for example, to leverage advertising for the region, which we think is really important.

“Ultimately, the success of ArtPrize this past year was based on how those businesses (and community) participated. The success was based upon the appetite of everyone who participated to make it a success. That continues to be the case moving forward.”

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