ArtPrize Dallas is canceled due to funding difficulties

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — ArtPrize Dallas, scheduled to debut in 2016, has been canceled. ArtPrize organizers confirmed that fact to FOX 17 NEWS late Thursday night. Plans called for making the announcement Friday morning, however, the information was leaked out of Texas on Thursday evening.

“ArtPrize Dallas – a Dallas-based, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization – has withdrawn their bid to host the international art competition,” said a release. The statement said there wasn’t enough time to raise the money to put on the Texas event.

“We made tremendous progress in this effort,” said ArtPrize Dallas Executive Director Ariel Saldivar in the statement, “and we truly believe that one day our city will be ready for such an inclusive and unique undertaking.”

Dallas arts and cultural leaders and leaders from across the state all grappled with the concept of a radically open public art competition. While the city of Dallas was willing to host the event, the funding ultimately did not materialize.

“ArtPrize likes to take risks” said ArtPrize Grand Rapids Executive Director Christian Gaines. “Our goal with the ArtPrize Cities program has always been to strengthen and expand the network of artists that will ultimately show at ArtPrize Grand Rapids, “For now, we won’t be able to see how ArtPrize Dallas might have served that goal. We are a better organization having attempted it.

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  • Ken E.

    Sounds like they saw that the cat is out of the bag on the “ArtPrize” PR gimmick. Congratulations Dallas, you get to retain your artistic integrity and avoid making a fool of yourself simply in order to get some attention.

  • J.B.

    “Our goal with the ArtPrize Cities program has always been to strengthen and expand the network of artists that will ultimately show at ArtPrize Grand Rapids…”

    And why is that a necessary goal? Because ArtPrize GR has stopped drawing in a sustainable number of decent caliber artists on its own merits.
    And why has it stopped drawing in artists on its own merits? Because the word is out that it is not a legitimate art competition (i.e. it is fixed/rigged/manipulated) and that its primary function is not to benefit or promote art, but rather to use the entered artworks and artists to market the city. Most artists resent themselves and their work being used as a tool to make money unless they get a guaranteed piece of the action.

    Here is the real kicker, though: Despite the undeniable benefit to downtown businesses, ArtPrize has yet to show an appreciable financial benefit (profit) for the city itself! It is a marketing tool that has brought in hundreds of thousands of people and lots of attention, but generated very little in the way of increased outside investment. In layman’s terms that means that you had a lot of people come and kick the tires, but nobody is buying the car. So it is really no wonder that cities are unwilling to finance it. It is an expensive campaign without a proven track record of providing any return on the investment.

    I hosted out of town artists each of the first five years of ArtPrize. All five were internationally recognized artists already. Three of the people I hosted ended up in the top 10. Each of the artists I hosted went home with money in their pockets, but with a profound sense of disappointment and bitterness for having not seen ahead of time what ArtPrize really is. And that is the real downside of this whole debacle….by alienating internationally recognized legitimate artists it alienates the art world, and instead of bringing the city into closer touch with art it actually serves to drive it farther away. Much like when a fat person wears spandex, the effort to make our city look culturally progressive is in the end showing the world just how culturally naive we truly are.

    • Helen

      I am pretty sure I know who you are, and it really saddens me to hear you talk that way because I know what an early and staunch supporter of ArtPrize you were, and what an active role you have taken in doing so, not just with your time but with your money as well. I know that major corporate sponsor support has begun falling off pretty badly, but I wonder if ArtPrize has examined to what extent it is losing major public supporters like yourself in addition to that. If they are, then I can not help but think that they will be forced to re-examine the project to see if it is even feasible to continue it. Public buy-in and support are critical for events of this scale. If that is lost, and it sounds as though it is, the days will be numbered for ArtPrize. If you are the man I am thinking of, you don’t even live in Grand Rapids and your job is art-related. Is that correct?

      • J.B.

        What really disappoints me is that with a little bit of respect and integrity to art as a profession ArtPrize could have been an amazing boon not just to this area of the state, but to the whole of the art world. Respect and integrity are free, it wouldn’t have cost them anything. It wouldn’t have taken longer. They would have had to give up a tiny little bit of control, that’s all. But as we all know, that just doesn’t happen in Grand Rapids. Well, now the whole world knows it too. Investors and businesses looking to come to West Michigan surely know it, which is why you see so many of them locating well outside city limits. See, this really is about a lot more than just art. It is about a city’s identity. About who and what Grand Rapids is. And more importantly, who and what Grand Rapids is not.

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