Art Spotlight: Art Prize 2012, African American Artist

We Honor and Celebrate African American Artists at ArtPrize 2012

By George Bayard III

It is that time of year again. The annual ArtPrize competition is in full swing. ArtPrize, in it’s forth year, brings together 1,517 artists and performers from around the world to Grand Rapids to compete for the worlds largest art prize, $560,000 in total prize money. The public will decide the top 10 works in the first round (Sept. 19 – Sept. 29) then choose the winners in the second round (Sept. 30 – Oct. 4). Anyone over the age of 16 can register to vote.  Votes are cast on, via text message and mobile application. The overall goal of this event is to initiate and continue a dialog about art.

That dialog has been somewhat successful as my colleagues and clients maintain the discussion about art and ask critical questions year round.” How do I locate art by African American artists?” “Why are there no venues in our community?” Do Black artists ever win prize money?” “Why is so hard to register?” These are but a few of the questions that I get every year when ArtPrize is concluded. The Grand Rapids Times has provided a list of African American artists each year if one wants to cast a vote. Derrick Hollowell’s L-Loft at 106 S.Division (second floor) has been one of the few Black-owned venues for ArtPrize located in the 3 mile, downtown area.

It really is not hard to register but could be a bit challenging for someone not “tech savvy”.   You can create an account any time.  Then activate your voter account at any of the Registration Sites during ArtPrize 2012. You must be within the ArtPrize boundaries during the event to activate. Want to create an account and activate your voter status all at the same time?  Visit any of the Registration Sites during the event with your email address and valid government ID in hand. Registrars will do the rest.  You can now sign up with Facebook, making it a one-click process. Well maybe it isn’t so easy to register. I encourage you to get out and visit the sites, enjoy the artwork and vote for your favorites.  We welcome nationally known artists Alison Saar, Steve Prince and Charles McGee into our community. Here is a partial list of African American artists and their works: