Ryan Takeo

ArtPrize voting trends emerging

October 7th, 2011 at 7:10 am by under ArtPrize, Uncategorized

Mia Tavonatti won ArtPrize 2011. (Here’s a link from Bill’s Blog for all the results).

There are some interesting trends in the final 10 voting.

1. “Celeb factor?” I found it interesting Mia Tavonatti and Tracy Van Duinen finished 1,2. The two have both finished #2 before. TVD and his brother Corey finished second in ArtPrize’s first year with “Imgine That”, the mural on the Children’s Museum. Tavonatti finished second last year with ‘“Svelata”. They, and the rest of this year’s Top 10, won’t be back next year. ArtPrize has a new rule saying they must sit out one year.

2. Another ‘critically-acclaimed’ entry finished in third. Last year it was “Lure/Wave” by Beili Liu. This year it was Lynda Cole’s “Rain”.  Last week a local curator told me she felt “Rain” was the only Top 10 entry worthy of being a finalist.

SIDENOTE: My thoughts with Ms. Tavonatti after losing her mother Thursday morning. When I saw her at last night’s press conference, she held it together, but it’s hard to comprehend what she went through yesterday.

Meet, ClayBrett!

September 26th, 2011 at 7:54 am by under Uncategorized

We got a dose of the talent on display at ArtPrize.

Monday morning on Daybreak, sculptor Sunti Pichetchaiyakul created a clay sculpture of our own Brett Thomas (his Twitter handle is @daybrett). I, therefore, dubbed the faster, masterpiece “ClayBrett”.

Sunti’s work gained some attention last year. His entry, Grandfather Monk Luan (right), was often confused as a real person.

This year he’s playing to those with West Michigan pride with a sculpture President Gerald R. Ford (left). It’s at Monroe and Pearl (at Barnes & Thornburg LLP). ArtPrize’s website says Sunti was granted Mrs. Ford’s permission before she died in July. Every day in her honor, Sunti sculpts Mrs. Ford near his President Ford piece.

But this morning it was all about speed. It took Sunti 17 minutes to turn a clay bust into a pretty good likeness of B. Thomas (lower right).

You can see video from this morning here.

The best part was at the beginning. Just after the 6 a.m. hour started, at Brett’s ‘go!’, Sunti goes straight for Brett’s face. Awkwardly awesome, but Brett loved it! The clay on his suit might need an extra day at the cleaners, though…


P.S. We thought Sunti would sculpt Emily and Terri, too. Time only allotted for Brett, though. Sunti says it’s a little easier for him to sculpt men.


New term: ‘ArtPrize busy’

September 26th, 2011 at 7:06 am by under Uncategorized

If downtown were ever busier than it was this weekend, well, I sure don’t remember it.

Walking out Saturday night, you could still sense the ArtPrize buzz about town.

Every restaurant I passed along Fulton was packed. A buddy and I had an hour-long wait for pizza. Sure, it’s a Saturday night. Places downtown should be busy. But if you know downtown, you know this weekend was a whole different category (hence, ‘ArtPrize’ busy).

Here’s the latest update on how many votes ArtPrize voters have cast (as of Saturday night).

- 18,000 voters
- 120,000 votes

Compare that to last year’s numbers. There were 465,000 total votes during ArtPrize ’10. But keep in mind, there were many text message votes left uncounted.

ArtPrize – Here we go

September 21st, 2011 at 8:28 am by under Uncategorized

Whew! Kind of a whirlwind day today.

ArtPrize. Year 3. Day 1.

It’s also day one of our new ArtPrize studio at the GRAM. I was floored as soon as I heard about the project a couple of weeks ago. We toured the place yesteday. Here’s a photo gallery of construction and what it looks like now. Come on down to Rosa Parks Circle and say hi. We’ll be doing MOST newscasts from there over the course of the 19-day competition. I think there might be some concert issues for a couple days. I’ll keep you up to date.


I know there are many different ways to get to this blog. Here’s a link to the ArtPrize section on our website.


ArtPrize Free Stuff

September 20th, 2011 at 7:27 am by under ArtPrize

Did I get your attention? It’s okay. I love free stuff, too.

ArtPrize organizers have scheduled five neighborhood ‘GO TIME!’ events – a mini-scavenger hunt for those who want free ArtPrize gear.

Here’s how it works:
- You meet at a specific location during each neighborhood event.
- The ArtPrize Street Team gives you a ‘passport’.
- You get it stamped at different venues.
- The first 100 to come back with finished passport get free ArtPrize stuff.

Each of the five neighborhoods have their own events starting Friday.

GO TIME! Events

Friday, September 23
Westside Neighborhood, 6-8:30 p.m.
Location: Parking lot at 620 Stocking Ave NW, Next to Compucraft

Saturday, September 24
Center City Neighborhood, 2-4:30 p.m.
Location: Rosa Parks Circle – Center of Monroe Ave and Monroe Center

Sunday, September 25
Hillside Neighborhood, 2-4:30 p.m.
Location: Veterans Park – Corner of Fulton and Sheldon

Monday, September 26
Heartside Neighborhood, 6-8:30 p.m.
Location: Ionia Ave SW, near Fulton

Tuesday, September 27
Monroe/North Belknap Neighborhood, 6-8:30 p.m.
Location: Sixth Street Park, 647 Monroe NW

“The go days is really our push to get people into the neighborhoods,” ArtPrize’s Brian Burch said. “It’s a starting point for you to explore that neighborhood.”

Last year ArtPrize organized five neighborhood parties with events like movies.

Burch says the goal is to get people out into the neighborhoods, instead of having people in one spot.

“That opens the doors to so much more of the neighborhood, not just this park or this parking lot or this particular venue,” Burch said.

Burch says each neighborhood has a unique personality.

“We have a beautiful downtown and it speaks wonders to people who come from outside,” Burch continued. “But there’s a lot more character than just the downtown, so we want to get that spread a little bit more.”


ArtPr1ze by th3 Num8ers

September 19th, 2011 at 7:41 am by under ArtPrize, Uncategorized

Two days away until ArtPrize, year three.

Here’s what you can expect:

500,000+ = The number of people ArtPrize organizers to attend this year’s competition. That’s unique visitors. About half of that number are expected to be locals. The other half (mainly from Chicago and Detroit) are commuters. There are also plenty of buses coming from Flint, Saginaw, Traverse City, Lansing, etc.

Experience Grand Rapids is trying to help area hotels cash in. They are offering free stuff (ArtPrize bag, directory, map, Metro passes) for anyone who stays for ArtPrize.

1,582 artists = The number of artists in ArtPrize 2011. The number is slightly down from last year (1,713).

56 = Musical entries at St. Cecilia Music Center (right).

39 = Different countries represented this year.

10 = Artists get prize money based on public vote.

$250,000 = Awarded to first place.

5 = Number of juried awards.

8 = Exhibition centers. It’s where you can activate your voting account.

465,538 = Votes cast last year. But think of the number not counted with last year’s ‘texting’ issue. This year organizers says ‘every vote will count’, and last year’s issues are behind them.


ArtPrize Hub to Open Saturday

September 16th, 2011 at 6:02 pm by under ArtPrize, Uncategorized

Saturday’s your first chance to activate your ArtPrize voting account this year.

If you’re a voting nut, and want to hit the ground running Wednesday at 6 p.m. (when voting opens), you might as well.

You can show up at the NEW HUB at 41 Sheldon SE. Make sure to bring your I.D.

There you can see the old UICA revamped. Construction crews added some walls to what used to be mainly an open space.

There are some stark differences to the Hub this year. Namely: art.

Last year’s winner “Cavalry” is there. There are a couple other pieces I’ll detail in later blogs (teaser!).

At ArtPrize year one, there were ArtPrize entries there. Organizers didn’t want anyone to call them into question. Ya know, playing favorites.

Then last year, they did without art altogether. ArtPrize officials said some visitors left disappointed.

Most likely that won’t be the case this year. ‘Cavalry’ is as great as ever. There’s cool social media toys there again, too. And for the first time, the Hub — the headquarters of the event — has a legitimate home.

When: 9:00 a.m.-8:30 p.m., Saturday, September 17

ArtPrize adding music, but can they win?

September 14th, 2011 at 8:09 am by under ArtPrize, Uncategorized

For the first time in ArtPrize’s three years, you can listen and vote for musical entries this year.

St. Cecilia Music Center features nearly 50 musical acts this year.

Some musicians will take the music center’s Royce Auditorium stage over the course of ArtPrize.

Others will play in the center’s parking lot next weekend in a music festival.

If you ever miss an act, you can listen to the entry downstairs at St. Cecilia. They’ll have iPods with all the entries on it.

“At first I was confused about what we would do,” St. Cecilia executive director Cathy Holbrook said, referring to the first time ArtPrize officials approached her. “I think that it’s taken shape, and we were just excited to be part of what is such a huge event in Grand Rapids,” Holbrook said.

Holbrook hopes the ArtPrize exposure will increase the spotlight on St. Cecilia. “I think sometimes still don’t really know what St. Cecilia Music Center is, who we are and what we do,” she said. “I think we’re kind of a well-kept secret, that I hope we can blow that secret out of the water during ArtPrize.”

But can the musical acts actually win? Here’s what Holbrook had to say:

“It might be hard because people have to actually come in and listen to a sound, where a lot of entries you see them, you see them driving down the road. I think that probably as a performer there are a couple motivations. One is they get exposure. They have the opportunity to have thousands of people listen to their song, or come and hear them perform live during this showcase concerts that we’re doing. And I think some of it, we have some groups that are based in Grand Rapids that are traditions — Domestic Problems, Midlife Crisis, and Ralston Bowles — true Grand Rapidians and love Grand Rapids and they really want to support what Grand Rapids is doing for the city and for the arts and wanted to be a part of it.” – St. Cecilia executive director Cathy Holbrook

ArtPrize: “Every vote will count”

September 13th, 2011 at 5:31 am by under ArtPrize, Uncategorized

ArtPrize organizers promise if you text in you’re vote — you can rest easy.
Last year some voters could not text in their choices.
“We’ve worked diligently this year to make sure that we won’t have hiccups,” ArtPrize executive director Catherine Creamer said.
Only AT&T and Sprint customers could text their votes in ArtPrize 2010.
“We have worked all year long on making sure that’s solid,” Creamer said. “The technology platform is a proven platform.”
ArtPrize officials said they found out about the issue the day last year’s competition started.
It’s unknown just how many votes were left uncounted.
“The integrity of the vote is the utmost importance to us at ArtPrize,” Creamer said.


Other voting options include online or smart phone apps.
New this year, ArtPrize has an Android app to go along with its iPhone app.
You can start voting when the competition starts next Wednesday, the 21st.

ArtPrize Registration

ArtPrize Voting Process


ArtPrize award tickets on sale Thursday

September 7th, 2011 at 8:53 am by under ArtPrize, Uncategorized

Want to see the next ArtPrize winner crowned?

Tickets for the “ArtPrize Winner’s Announcement” go on sale Thursday.

The tickets range from 60-80 bucks.

Or you can watch the ceremony on the tube.

We’re have complete coverage of the announcement (and stream it online at woodtv.com).

More deets on that later.

Event: Winner’s Announcement
When: Thursday, October 6
Time: 6:30 p.m.

You can buy tickets at all Ticketmaster locations, ticketmaster.com, or by phone at (800)745-3000.

Here are some links to our coverage of previous winners:

Ran Ortner wins ArtPrize, $250 K – 10/08/09

Chris LaPorte’s ‘Cavalry’ wins ArtPrize – 10/07/10