GRAND RAPIDS ART PRIZE: How to Set Yourself Up For Acceptance Into This Public Exhibition


For all you wonderful EC abstract, traditional and contemporary artists out there, the 2020 Art Prize Grand Rapids, MI competition is now biennial and several artists have asked me to share my experience, having been accepted in a past competition. Before reading my thoughts, PLEASE review the information provided on their website, . Also, I wish to emphasize that the following comments regarding this amazing art competition are my opinion & experiences-only.

  1. There are now two grand prizes of $200,000 each. Art Prize will attract the best artists, so consider the importance and weight of this event, ie: are you ready?
  2. Although the application process starts in the spring of 2020, now is the time to start planning including studying past entries of accepted artists, considering the almost 200 different venues, and most important of all, designing your artwork, which MUST be original content!
  3. I believe it is a good idea to decide if you want to compete for the BIG prize or rather, acceptance into the competition. The reason I suggest making this decision first; going for the” big” prize usually means making artwork that is both SIGNIFICANT and somewhat SPECTACULAR. (Look at some of the past winners on their website. )
  4. The good news is now there are ways to win; one by popular vote; and one by jury. This is important because the event attracts up to 500,000 visitors and popular voting requires a high level of visitor traffic, which means your art has to be placed an excellent venue location, which in turn requires an excellent viewing location within that venue. The other option means the ArtPrize jury will look at all of the art and judge!
  5. Depending on your objective, venue selection and venue matching will impact your success so start this process early in 2020. (You can even visit and screen some of the venues now, although I doubt that the venue’s art placement managers will talk to you this early) Some venues will receive much more visitor traffic than others, some have better art placement locations, some are more popular than others, and some have an artist selection agenda. I personally suspect that some venues require artists to be sponsored.
  6. Any EC’ers with question may contact me here on Embrace Creatives and if you’d like meet in a group to discuss application, respond in the comments below and we’ll work out a date.



Ken Claes

Time needed: 2 minutes.

How to Set Yourself Up For Acceptance Into This Public Exhibition

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  1. Kelly O’Neill

    Great advice. This is something I want to do. I have many friends who have participated for years. I agree getting good placement is important. I also think, as an artist, you should attend some of the busier weekends to interact with the crowd.