Improving technology at ArtPrize

It is hard to believe that there is only one week left of ArtPrize! Time sure flies when you are having fun. Have you checked it out yet? Yesterday, the top ten winners were announced. All the winners and locations of the their entries can be found here.

Last week, I talked about how technology launched ArtPrize. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, you can check it out here. This week, I am going to continue on with the technology theme, expect now I am going to talk about how technology could be improved at ArtPrize.

I had the opportunity to visit ArtPrize twice within the past two weeks. The first day I went was opening day, September 18. It was pretty crowded, and one of the first things that I had noticed was how slow my phone was running. I have Sprint, which mainly runs on 3G, and there were several times when my phone was running so slow that I could not upload anything on FourSquare or Facebook. I figured that the networks might have been over worked  due to a large amount of people using them. However, last night I went to ArtPrize, and again I had trouble connecting to FourSquare and Facebook. This time, FourSquare timed out several times, and I got an error message saying “could not connect to network”. This kept happening several times throughout the night, and it was pretty frustrating. 

At first, I thought that it might have just Sprint that was having problems. However, during the first weekend of ArtPrize, many Verizon users reported network problems.  According to Brezening, “Verizon tells WZZM 13 that data traffic from downtown Grand Rapids on Saturday overwhelmed their systems.  They are making additions this week, so that problem should be resolved” (Brezening, 2013).

In order to fix this problem, I believe that it would be beneficial for ArtPrize to add more WiFi hotspots.  WiFi hotspots would allow people to connect to the internet for free, and would give them more opportunities to share their experiences at ArtPrize verses just relying on their cellular network alone. This year, ArtPrize teamed up with Iserv again to provide WiFi hotspots.  Last year, over 100.000 people used these free WiFi services (Wood. 2013). According to Johnson-Wood, ” In 2013, free Wi-Fi zones include Rosa Parks Circle, inside the Grand Rapids Art Museum, inside the ArtPrize Hub on Sheldon Avenue, inside the ArtPrize Clubhouse at J. Gardella’s, in the park between the Blue Bridge and the Grand Rapids Public Museum, and on the Blue Bridge” (Wood, 2013).However, it is important to note that there is not a WiFi hotspot in one of the largest sections of ArtPrize: the Bob. The B.OB. has over fifty art entries  this year, yet there is no WiFi hotspot in the area. It is clearly a high traffic area, because  several of the top twenty five picks are at the B.OB., and also one of the top ten picks, Tired Pandas is located within the vicinity. While I was at Artprize again last night, I barely had two bars of service, and there were no WiFi hotspots that I could connect to without a code. My phone was also took several minutes to receive and send text messages, so I just found it easier to go home and vote with my own WiFi.  Thus, it would be very beneficial to have a WiFi hotspot to the B.O.B for next year’s ArtPrize.

I also believe that ArtPrize should encourage artists to set up a Facebook or Twitter. Last year, the hast tag ArtPrize was mentioned 28.000 times on Twitter (Kaczmarycyzk, 2013). The ArtPrize Facebook page has over 70.000 likes and 18.000 Twitter followers (Kaczmarycyzk, 2013).  Social media is a great way to connect with the voters and the community. It would also allow constant communication between both parties, and could lead to other opportunities such as selling other art pieces, or even getting profiled in a media program.  Several of the pieces that I saw did not have any contact information available for the artist.

Go ahead and check out the last week of ArtPrize! It goes on until October 6!

References :

Brezening, B. (2013, September 23). Verizon resolves to fix ArtPrize voting issues. In WZZM13 . Retrieved September 30, 2013, from

Johnson-Wood, D. (2013, September 26). Iserv covers ArtPrize hotspots with free Wi-Fi, seeks sales and tech folks to fill jobs. In Rapid Growth. Retrieved September 30, 2013, from

Kaczmarcyzk, J. (2013, September 24). ArtPrize 2012’s Top 25 favorites in the popular vote are in only a handful of venues. In MLive. Retrieved September 30, 2013, from

Kaczmarcyzk, J. (2013). ArtPrize 2013: Exploring event’s effects on Grand Rapids in numbers. In MLive. Retrieved September 30, 2013, from

The B.OB. . (n.d.). In ArtPrize . Retrieved September 30, 2013, from