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Eyes on the ArtPrize

If you dial up, the home screen will inform you — under the rubric “Plan your visit” — that there will be “more than 1,500 works of art” at some 160 venues “across three square miles of Grand Rapids, Michigan” for a few weeks in September and October.

That’s a lot of art in a place you wouldn’t expect it.

ArtPrize is a big deal in some sectors of the art world — a three week festival and, importantly, art competition and marketplace that draws hundreds of thousands of people who might otherwise search in vain for a reason to visit Grand Rapids. Artists come from near and far, hoping to snag a chunk of the $250,000 prize money, or at least to catch the eye of a collector, or a mayor/corporate honcho in need of some splashy art. (Local metal sculptor Chris O’Rourke toted huge pieces to the event in 2012 and 2013.) The winners are chosen by public vote. The number of votes cast in 2015, according to, was 422,763.

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Which brings us to Las Vegas, specifically a presentation on Thursday by Artprize representatives Christian Gaines and Jori Bennett. They’ll discuss with interested listeners — presumably including members of the Clark County Public Art Committee, which is hosting — the likelihood that the Artprize model can be exported to Las Vegas.

It can be an exciting possibility to contemplate — but what are the practical hurdles? The unexpected drawbacks? How are the necessary coalitions formed, venues convinced, artists chosen?

Bring these and your other questions to the Winchester Cultural Center at 6 p.m.