ArtPrize to make its return in fall 2021

Christine Ferretti
The Detroit News

Organizers of ArtPrize, the world-famous city-wide art competition in Grand Rapids, said Thursday the event is set to make its return in the fall.

Citing optimism of a "return to a considerable degree of normalcy," show organizers announced the competition will take place from Sept. 16 to Oct. 3, 2021.

Taylor metalworker Keith Coleman with his 12-foot fire breathing dragon on Thursday, August 16, 2018 will take the metal beast to ArtPrize in September.

"We can’t thank you enough for your patience, support and understanding as we all navigated through an unexpected and challenging year," the ArtPrize team said in an email announcing its plans. "We missed hosting visitors and celebrating thousands of artists, venues and creatives that breathe life into this vibrant event and competition."

Artist and venue registration dates haven't been determined. In the coming weeks, the team said it will share details on $450,000 in grants and prizes for artists. 

In 2018, ArtPrize organizers said they were moving to an every-other-year format. This summer, organizers announced that festivities planned for September and October 2020 were off, citing uncertainties stemming from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Jaenell Woods, a spokeswoman for ArtPrize, said in an email that the ArtPrize Board of Directors decided in late September, with news of a coronavirus vaccine to be approved by year's end, that 2021 event would move forward. 

"The 2021 event will focus on artists, with an emphasis on outdoor displays, and new ways to use technology to drive community participation," Woods added.

ArtPrize first electrified the world in 2009 by offering the largest art payout on the planet.

Since then, it has taken over Grand Rapids each year with everything from paintings and sculptures to interactive performances. Attendees vote on the artwork using mobile devices and the web. A group of international art experts determine the winners of the juried awards.