September 22-October 10 there was a fine exhibition of art throughout the downtown public buildings and museums of Grand Rapids that brought thousands of people to stand in line to view art and talk about it with their friends. It is called ArtPrize.
ArtPrize is a radically open competition. Open to any artist in the world who can find space. Open to anybody in Grand Rapids, Michigan, who wants to create a venue. Open to a vote from anyone who attends. There was almost $500,000 in prize money at stake and is sponsored by the De Vos Family, founders of Amway. 2010 was its second year.
Over 1700 artists displayed their work in over 300 locations. Anyone could vote to choose the prizewinners. You had to go to Grand Rapids to register, then you could vote at your leisure on your computer or at various balloting places around the city.
So why am I telling you about this again? The winners were announced last week and it has just sunk in on me that the big prize winner, Chris LaPorte, winner of $250,000 is someone I have met! Where? at an art fair!! Don't you just love it? The public speaks and who do they choose? Someone who draws portraits and caricatures at art fairs. Granted this was not caricature, but rather a huge graphite drawing 8 ft. x 4.4 ft., a pretty amazing drawing.
Read about Chris' life as an artist and learn about the drawing at ArtPrize.org. Here is 90 seconds with Chis LaPorte, a video: http://blog.artprize.org/2010/10/05/90-seconds-with-chris-laporte/
Read a little more here: Democracy comes to the art world
Yes, I am telling you about this because Chris has lived your life, but also because maybe, just maybe, you'll start thinking really big about where you are going with your art next...I can't wait to see it.