5th annual ArtPrize gets underway in Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) -  The fifth installment of the annual ArtPrize international art competition is getting underway in Grand Rapids, and organizers are working to open up more opportunities for artists to boost their careers as part of this year's event.

There are more than 1,500 entries from 45 states and 47 countries at 169 venues in the western Michigan city, organizer said. Works went up ahead of Wednesday's official opening of the event, which runs through Oct. 6.

"It is minting the next generation of art lover," Christian Gaines, executive director, told The Associated Press by phone this week. "It is really encouraging a conversation around art that is really unprecedented."

This year, efforts are taking place to make Grand Rapids even more of an attractive place for artists to show their work.

An ArtPrize smartphone app and website allows people to communicate more directly with artists and arrange potential purchases, Gaines said. Also this year, sessions are being organized to bring together artists with other arts professionals, including people in western Michigan's arts and design community.

"The idea is to develop one's career," Gaines said. "Think of one's career as an artist in the long run, and expand one's network in the arts professional community."

Artists compete for a combination of public votes and juried prizes to secure part of a prize pool of $560,000.

The public participates in two rounds of voting to distribute $360,000 of the prize money. First place receives $200,000, second $75,000, third $50,000, and fourth through 10th get $5,000 each.

In addition, professional jurors will distribute $200,000 in prize money to artists at their discretion.

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