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Critical Discourse brings debate to community

The Critical Discourse series will include revealing the jurors’ final selections and a two-night analysis of the public's top picks, with discussions in between as varied as activism, color trends and artist-run spaces in the Midwest.
Last years' Critical Discourse events brought a packed crowd

Last years' Critical Discourse events brought a packed crowd /Christopher John Wilson

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For more information

The main Critical Discourse Events page is here.

    “Jurors’ Shortlist Announcement”- ArtPrize Hub 7 p.m. September 28

    “Unapologetically Midwest”- ArtPrize Hub 7 p.m. September 29

    “Future Color/Design Trends”- ArtPrize Hub 7 p.m. October 1

    “Reflecting the Times”- ArtPrize Hub 7 p.m. October 2

    “Why These Finalists?” Part 1- ArtPrize Hub 7 p.m. October 5

    “Why These Finalists?” Part 2- ArtPrize Hub 7 p.m. October 6

ArtPrize Exhibitions Director Kevin Buist

ArtPrize Exhibitions Director Kevin Buist /Avery Johnson

From September 28 to October 6, ArtPrize will be hosting a series of events called Critical Discourse at 7 p.m. each night in the ArtPrize HUB (41 Sheldon Blvd. SE). This event serves the purpose of opening up the discussion of art to the public, but also hearing a variety of opinions about the purpose and place of art in our culture.

Because the event is in a local setting, it acts as a way to engage the community and local artists in the discussion and show that all views are welcome in the world of art. The ArtPrize website describes the Critical Discourse events as, “a week of exploration, interpretation and debate, as well as public and expert opinion about what art is and why it matters.”

The series is split into two categories. In the middle of the series are three panel discussions about trends in art, and the beginning and end of the series includes the “Jurors’ Shortlist Event" on the  September 28 and the last two events entitled “Why These Finalists?” on the October 5 and 6, where the juried and public finalists are discussed for their merits, as well as criticism.

The Jurors' Shortlist Event, aired four full days before the first round of voting ends- when those registered can vote for as many artworks as they'd like- is designed to provide a window for the public into what jurors are looking for when they select final choices.

After the public Top 20 finalists are announced on October 4, the next two evenings of programming with "Why These Finalists" provides a chance to analyze and discuss the finalists chosen by both the jurors and the public.

“It is this moment to assess the field of finalists," says Kevin Buist, ArtPrize Exhibitions Director. "It’s kind of a fun, critical and irreverent time to take a look at those.”

The three lectures in the middle of the week feature speakers from cities around the U.S. who discuss what Buist describes as, “larger trends in the world of art, design and activism...They look out to see what’s happening in the art community.”

The first on September 29 is “Unapologetically Midwest: Artist-run Art Spaces.” Producers and organizers behind the most innovative artist-run art spaces in Detroit, Milwaukee, Minneapolis and Grand Rapids will discuss how they're providing support and exhibition opportunities for their local art communities.

The following night, October 1, is “Future Color/Design Trends: Innovation and Impact,” which features speaker and color expert Leatrice Eiseman from Pantone. In her lecture, she will be discussing what is driving current trends in color and design, and where those trends are going in the future.

The last of the panel discussions will be on October 2 with “Reflecting the Times: Art and Activism.” On this night, leaders in arts and activism and where they intersect will be showing audiences how art is at the forefront of current social movements, including #BlackLivesMatter. Panelists include Taylor Aldridge and Jessica Lynne from ARTS.BLACK in Detroit and New York City, Suhaly Bautista-Carolina, Engagement & Education Manager at Creative Time in New York City, and Dread Scott, acclaimed artist from New York City.

The Critical Discourse events will be covered by Community Media Center’s GRTV and The Rapidian, including sending out roving reporters following the events to gather responses from the general public. As an organization investing in free speech and open platforms for all voices in our community, managing editor Holly Bechiri says focusing on the Critical Discourse series is an obvious opportunity to further develop conversation within the Grand Rapids community on art.

“The more we can deepen our conversations about art and all of the issues and topics that intertwine with them, the better we can engage as a community in voting for the work we believe should win the Public Vote," says Bechiri. "We're working to ensure our coverage of this series of events creates opportunities for more of our community to have a chance to engage in the conversation.”

All of the events will take place at the ArtPrize HUB from September 28 to October 6. Events start at 7 p.m. and last for an hour. The “Jurors’ Shortlist Announcement” and “Why These Finalists?” will be broadcast live on WOOD TV8. “Unapologetically Midwest,” “Future Color/Design Trends” and “Reflecting the Times” will be recorded by GRTV and aired in the days following.

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