ArtPrize is coming to Dallas. Yesterday, the Grand Rapids-based 501-c3 announced via email that they have entered into a three-year charter agreement to launch and oversee a new, independent non-profit named ArtPrize Dallas. Following the format of ArtPrize Grand Rapids, the event will be held in the city of Dallas for 19 days, and will offer up to $500,000 in cash prizes and grants to artists. ArtPrize Dallas is slated to launch in April 2016 with Executive Director Ariel Saldivar at the helm. Prior to this, she worked as the Associate Director of the Dallas-based Goss-Michael Foundation.
ArtPrize Grand Rapids remains the world’s largest prize for contemporary art, giving out $560,000 in prizes. Founded by Rick DeVos in 2009, the organization invites artists to display their work around the city, and the public to vote on their favorite works of art. Juried prizes are also awarded.
Regional artists often do well in the public vote at ArtPrize Grand Rapids, and may reveal dominant cultural tastes within the area. Three years ago, for example, a large mosaic crucification won the award, a reflection, many say, of the prevalence of Christianity in the area. Other public biases include a preference for artworks evoking realism, hours logged, and well-known personalities within the city of Grand Rapids.
ArtPrize expects the event to be well attended—Grand Rapids attracted more than 400,000 in 2013 alone—and for local museums and curators, that kind of foot traffic has to be an appeal. (And in fact, as much was mentioned during the ArtPrize panel I was on this past October.) For art audiences, though, perhaps the more interesting aspect of this event is how ArtPrize Dallas will come to define itself. Will we see more bull riding and horse art in Dallas? Can we expect Dallas to share Grand Rapids’ preference for realism and hours logged in artworks? The only way to find out is to visit ArtPrize Dallas in 2016.