Art Fair Insiders

Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals

This is year three of this art extravaganza where there is almost $500,000 worth of prizes. The prize winners are voted on by the public, so essentially a "People's Choice" award. I've attended every year. ArtPrize® turns the city of Grand Rapids into an art gallery for two weeks. Galleries, office lobbies, restaurants, courtyards, parks compete to host the art, in addition to all the public museums in the downtown area. There are 164 participating venues and 1582 artists whose work has been chosen for exhibition. 

People you and I know participate:

"Fukushima, The Bald-Headed Suiters and the Angry Slab", a digital painting by John Leben

"Restoration, Recycling,and Remembering", painting by Barbara Krupp

Also participating from the world of art fairs were Vinnie Sutherland, Mark Chatterley, Sally Bright, Betsy Youngquist & Scott Long, Dylan Strzynski. If I missed anyone please add them in the comments below.

I loved Sara Youngman's pen and ink drawing "Doodler; or How a Basically Antisocial Printmaker Survived Her First Summer as an Art Fair Artist".

On Sunday the streets and galleries were crowded.Laura Alexander, who is in the Top 25 to win the prize, stood by her work for hours on end, engaging the admirers of her work, cut paper she made precisely for ArtPrize that took over 300 hours.

There wasn't very much 3D work, but these vessels by David Huang really caught my eye:

Shawn Smith's sculptures represent pixelated animals and objects of nature. He says he finds images of his subjects online and then creates 3D sculptural representations of these 2D images. Really interesting:

Being in the crowd of onlookers and sharing ideas about the art is part of the fun. My friend, Sandy Dunstone, went with me again this year. We saw Diane Aronoff, a photographer from Ann Arbor, and had drinks with Barbara Krupp and Allan Teger at the end of the day. Barbara had two large paintings in the exhibit and they looked stunning.

If you want to vote for the winners you must register in person in Grand Rapids, then you can vote by text or online later. The deadline for the first round of voting was midnight last night. But because of the crush of voters the server crashed and you can still vote until 4 pm today.

Here's a quickie look at the Top 25 artists around the city:

The work will be on exhibit until October 9. The whole experience is really worth the trip.

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Comment by Connie Mettler on September 30, 2011 at 7:08am

The Top Ten has been announced and on the next round the voters only can choose one of them for the prize. I don't know about this list, "living sculpture"? what are they thinking? what about chainsaw carving? Oh, my.

Check them out here:

Comment by Christine Green on September 30, 2011 at 11:32am
Connie, thanks so much for posting this amazing exhibit.  I would love to have gone to see it.  I love the excitement that is present when the public is so up about art!
Comment by Bradley R Cross on October 3, 2011 at 6:06pm
Connie thanks for the great preview. Bill Secunda, showed in Ann Arbor about 5 years ago. And also at Buyers Market in Philly.
Comment by Connie Mettler on October 6, 2011 at 9:43pm

The winners have been announced. First prize of $250,000 goes to Mia Tavonatti with her large her stained-glass mosaic “Crucifixion.” See the rest of the prize winners, people's choice:

There was a curated section of juried awards also, here are those winners:


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