PORTRAIT OF ABRAHAM LINCOLN, HEARTSIDE COMMUNITY MEAL AND RED DIRT RUG WIN ARTPRIZE NINE
1,346 artist entries vied for a combination of public vote and juried awards at ArtPrize Nine, and tonight the winners of $500,000 — including two $200,000 Grand Prizes — were announced.
GRAND RAPIDS— ArtPrize, the international art competition recognized as the world’s largest annual public art event, tonight held the Ninth Annual ArtPrize Awards ceremony, powered by the DTE Energy Foundation, revealing the winners of $500,000 in prizes live on NBC affiliate, WOOD TV8. 20 Monroe Live in downtown Grand Rapids was filled with event supporters, partners and collaborators to celebrate the artists who shared their work with hundreds of thousands of visitors during ArtPrize Nine. Two $200,000 Grand Prizes were awarded, through smartphone-enabled public vote to ‘A. Lincoln’ by Richard Schlatter, and by a jury of art experts to ‘The Heartside Community Meal’ by Seitu Jones.
GRAND PRIZE WINNERS
The entry that ultimately captured visitors’ imaginations in the public vote was ‘A. Lincoln’ by Richard Schlatter, a portrait of the icon and president who put an end to slavery in this country. The entry is on display at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. Schlatter’s win garnered him the $200,000 Public Vote Grand Prize, presented by Meijer.
“The public has chosen work that is large scale, iconic and familiar, and one that reflects qualities that are widely admired — patience, skill and considerable labor. ” said Christian Gaines, ArtPrize Executive Director. “Though this work depicts an image we've seen before in myriad ways, when we see it at this epic scale we’re invited to stop and reflect on our 16th president who set in motion the abolition of slavery in the United States.”
The ArtPrize Nine Grand Prize Jurors — Gaëtane Verna, Director of The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto; Christopher Scoates, Director of Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum in Detroit; and Gia Hamilton, Director at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans — spent a whirlwind two days in Grand Rapids viewing each of 38 total finalist entries in the four entry categories, half selected by public vote and half by expert jury. They selected ‘The Heartside Community Meal’ by Seitu Jones, which united over 250 local community members at a 300’ long table in Heartside Park for a healthy, locally-grown meal — revealing the food rituals of the cultures that gave birth to our diverse population. A video recording of the meal and an installation component are on display at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA). Jones will take home the $200,000 Juried Grand Prize, presented by Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University.
“Seitu’s work speaks to some of the key issues in America now,” said Gaëtane Verna. “Access to food, access to community, and people being able to create a space of conversation, exchange and synergy for everyone. He speaks to what is important in the context of the ‘now’ in his practice, not just the ability to paint or draw.”
“Seitu Jones shows us how artists can have an expanded social and political role,” said Kevin Buist, ArtPrize Exhibitions Director. “Jones crafted this artwork by deftly orchestrating a network of individuals and organizations to create a poetic and fleeting monument to the power of community. For many, it’s a new way to think about what art can be: the artwork is one big, beautiful moment made of the many small moments that happen when strangers and friends share a meal.”
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