How technology launched ArtPrize


Ever since it first launched in 2009, ArtPrize has relied on technology to connect voters and artists from around the world in various ways. What exactly is ArtPrize? According to, “ArtPrize® is a radically open, independently organized international art competition with an unprecedented $200,000 top prize decided entirely by public vote” (, 2013).  Taking place in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids, MI  from September 18-October 6, 2013, ArtPrize is a free event that anyone can attend (“About”, 2013). Anyone over the age of 18 from around the world can enter this unique art competition and has the chance to win the opportunity of a lifetime. Over the course of two and a half weeks, the public votes for the entries that they like best, and will finally narrow it down to one winner at the end (“About” , 2013).

This year, about half of a million people are expected to visit ArtPrize (Pobric, 2013). Every year, the amount of people that attend ArtPrize keeps growing. In 2009, only 200,000 people visited the first ArtPrize. Just three years later in 2012,  that number had doubled to about 400,000 (Pobric, 2013). Many influential people in the Grand Rapids community donate to ArtPrize and you can find more information about that here.

Technology plays an important role in ArtPrize by encouraging the public to participate. The director of ArtPrize, Christian Gaines, explained the importance of technology in ArtPrize in  a recent interview conducted by Mark Stryker of the Detroit Free Press. According to Stryker:

“But ArtPrize has used technology not just to attract artists and venues but to register the public and then to get them to vote. That’s a unique concept…Normally when talk about social networking  you throw as wide a net as possible, trying to get as many followers or likes as possible. But this is really about the audience taking part in the event and really participating” (Stryker, 2013).

ArtPrize gives voters many options to place their votes. Some people may choose to register and vote online. There are also the options to vote via text message, or if you a a smart phone user, you can download the ArtPrize application (“Voting Rules”, 2013). As of September 25, 2013, there have been over 247,000 votes cast (No Title,, 2013). You can keep track of how many votes are cast daily on the ArtPrize homepage  here .

One of the most popular ways to vote is the app. Launched by Atomic Object in 2009, the app was first made available to iPhone users (“ArtPrize voting app”, N.D). The original app was very basic and gave users the option to vote, know how many artists and venues there were, and maps of the locations (“ArtPrize Voting App”, N.D). The next year, the app got even more updates including better maps, easier voting system using shorter digits, options to share activity through social media, and much more (“ArtPrize Voting App”, N.D).  Finally, the app was made available to Android users in 2011 (“ArtPrize Voting App”, N.D.)

I was able to experience ArtPrize for the first time last week. It was amazing and overwhelming at the same time. I never knew how creative people could get with art. And of course, I was used as much technology as I possibly could so that I could capture special moments of this trip to ArtPrize. I used FourSquare to check into places, and I took probably 50 or more pictures with my phone. And as I looked around me, a lot of people were doing the exact same thing.

Make sure to check out ArtPrize! It runs until October 6th. Check back next week for another ArtPrize related post.


About. (2013). In ArtPrize. Retrieved September 25, 2013, from

No title. (2013) In ArtPrize. Retrieved September 25, 2013 from

Pobric, P. (2013, September 18). Half a million expected to visit Grand Rapids Art Prize. The Art Newspaper. Retrieved September 25, 2013, from

Stryker, M. (2013, September 18). 5 questions with Christian Gaines, director of ArtPrize in Grand Rapids. Detroit Free Press. Retrieved September 25, 2013, from

Calvin College Hekman Library openURL resolverVoting Rules. (2013) In ArtPrize. Retrieved September 25, 2013, from

Picture: From personal collection, taken on September 18, 2013 in downtown Grand Rapids


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