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What #ArtPrize2010 has taught us

It's been a busy few weeks for Grand Rapids and that means it's been busy at The Rapidian, too. ArtPrize season brought us a lot of content from both new and existing reporters, a multitude of arts-en
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Sure you love art, but would you love it as much if you had no one to share it with?

Sure you love art, but would you love it as much if you had no one to share it with? /Terry Johnston

From Rapidian staff: It's been a busy few weeks for Grand Rapids and that means it's been busy at The Rapidian, too. ArtPrize season brought us a lot of content from both new and existing reporters, a multitude of arts-entertainment and review pieces and a good look at the mindset of our readers and contributors when it comes to this yearly event.

Leading up to the competition, our "Eat & Drink ArtPrize 2010" saw 14 new reporters apply to The Rapidian and nine existing contributors offer their help to cover 43 venues in Grand Rapids that offerred food, drink and ArtPrize art. The willingness of those reporters to help contribute and the reactions gauged on Facebook, Twitter and other media showed that many Rapidians consider ArtPrize more than just a walk through a menagerie. We heard reports back from people who saw this as a chance to immerse themselves in the city while enjoying some art.

With our "Dining" section covered, you might question where else our ArtPrize coverage (tagged "ArtPrize2010") fits. Submitted during the event, two articles were filed in the "economy-business" category (Paul Wittenbraker's "Invisible Curators and Ready Partners" and "Respectful and Sweet: Critical Questions from the Discussion with Tom Eccles"). Six stories were filed in the "education" category, a popular spot for nonprofit pieces. Three pieces were submitted under the "media" categorization, although they were in-house productions (In Studio and George Wietor's feature on the "Essays and Critique" section). Perhaps some were overlooked but only two pieces were submitted in the "sustainability" category, although many of the pieces involved in ArtPrize were considered to be a "green alternative" to modern constructs. The one piece in the "technology" category even made its rounds through another local media outlet, a coup for our coverage and perhaps an indication of the popularity and relvance of hybrid coverage.. 

The majority of our ArtPrize coverage fell into the realm of opinion (21 pieces) and local life (27 pieces, not counting "Eat & Drink" coverage) and it was definitely those in Opinion that garnered the most response. We can't discount the single news story filed in this year's ArtPrize coverage by Denise Cheng, but we can ask where the others are. Sure, there were no stories of artists being tackled or questions being popped that could have been scooped up by a volunteer reporter with less than a "Spidey Sense" for news, but it's not just the lengthy diatribe that drives our coverage. We want to hear from everyone involved.

And speaking of response, three Rapidian polls in the last two months have been based on ArtPrize, too. 

We saw 209 people take the poll, "How could ArtPrize be most improved upon?"

  • 57% (117 people) wanted more time to view and vote on art
  • 12% (26 people) wanted more juried awards and less public interaction
  • 12% (25 people) wanted a smaller exhibition area
  • 6% (13 people) thought it was fine as it is

Those that run ArtPrize saw it necessary to add more juried awards this year and include Frederik Meijer Gardens as an exhibiting venue. Being such a young entity, it's not too hard to imagine more changes being implemented in 2011.

There were 193 people who took the poll, "How do you intend to see ArtPrize this year?"

  • 55% (107 people) went with a group of friends or family
  • 10% (19 people) planned on seeing the art by themselves
  • 5% (10 people) said they avoid ArtPrize
  • 5% (9 people) were only going to see a few pieces
  • 2% (3 people) said they'd only see the art that happened to be on their daily drive.
  • 23% (45 people) said all of the above.

As one who partook in ArtPrize in multiple different ways, I have to say, it was most fun for me with a group of friends or family. It shows in the public discourse and even subject matter of the pieces submitted to the Rapidian -- if you don't have anyone to converse with over ArtPrize, what's the point?

About a month before this circus came to town, on August 25, the Rapidian poll asked, "What are you most looking forward to during ArtPrize?" 99 people took this poll and the leading vote getter by far was "The art," with 61% (60 people). That comes as no surprise, but I hope next year the answer will also include "continuing the conversation on The Rapidian."

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