“Oil+Water” by Ryan Spencer Reed can be seen in the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids during ArtPrize.

1,346 artist entries vied for a combination of public vote and juried awards at ArtPrize Nine, and tonight the winners of $500,000 — including two $200,000 Grand Prizes — were announced.

GRAND RAPIDS — ArtPrize, the international art competition recognized as the world’s largest annual public art event, Friday held the Ninth Annual ArtPrize Awards ceremony, powered by the DTE Energy Foundation, revealing the winners of $500,000 in prizes.

20 Monroe Live in downtown Grand Rapids was filled with event supporters, partners and collaborators to celebrate the artists who shared their work with hundreds of thousands of visitors during ArtPrize Nine. Two $200,000 Grand Prizes were awarded, through smartphone-enabled public vote to ‘A. Lincoln’ by Richard Schlatter, and by a jury of art experts to ‘The Heartside Community Meal’ by Seitu Jones.


The entry that ultimately captured visitors’ imaginations in the public vote was ‘A. Lincoln’ by Richard Schlatter, a portrait of the icon and president who put an end to slavery in this country. The entry is on display at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. Schlatter’s win garnered him the $200,000 Public Vote Grand Prize, presented by Meijer.

“The public has chosen work that is large scale, iconic and familiar, and one that reflects qualities that are widely admired — patience, skill and considerable labor. ” said Christian Gaines, ArtPrize Executive Director. “Though this work depicts an image we've seen before in myriad ways, when we see it at this epic scale we’re invited to stop and reflect on our 16th president who set in motion the abolition of slavery in the United States.”

The ArtPrize Nine Grand Prize Jurors — Gaëtane Verna, Director of The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto; Christopher Scoates, Director of Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum in Detroit; and Gia Hamilton, Director at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans — spent a whirlwind two days in Grand Rapids viewing each of 38 total finalist entries in the four entry categories, half selected by public vote and half by expert jury. They selected ‘The Heartside Community Meal’ by Seitu Jones, which united over 250 local community members at a 300’ long table in Heartside Park for a healthy, locally-grown meal — revealing the food rituals of the cultures that gave birth to our diverse population. A video recording of the meal and an installation component are on display at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA). Jones will take home the $200,000 Juried Grand Prize, presented by Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University.

“Seitu’s work speaks to some of the key issues in America now,” said Gaëtane Verna, “access to food, access to community, and people being able to create a space of conversation, exchange and synergy for everyone. He speaks to what is important in the context of the ‘now’ in his practice, not just the ability to paint or draw.”

“Seitu Jones shows us how artists can have an expanded social and political role,” said Kevin Buist, ArtPrize Exhibitions Director. “Jones crafted this artwork by deftly orchestrating a network of individuals and organizations to create a poetic and fleeting monument to the power of community. For many, it’s a new way to think about what art can be: the artwork is one big, beautiful moment made of the many small moments that happen when strangers and friends share a meal.”


The voting public and category award jurors also decided which eight entries from among the 38 total finalists, and which single venue from among five nominees, would win their respective $12,500 category awards. The Public Vote and Juried Category Awards are listed below, including the second dual-award winner in ArtPrize history: ‘Red Dirt Rug Monument’ by Rena Detrixhe, which took home both the Public Vote and Juried Awards in the Time-Based category.


  • Public Vote: ‘A. Lincoln’ at Amway Grand Plaza, by Richard Schlatter from Battle Creek, MI. The Two-Dimensional Public Vote Award is presented by Foremost Insurance. (This entry is also the Public Vote Grand Prize Winner)
  • Juried: ‘Sofía Draws Every Day: Years 2, 3, and 4’ at Cultura Collective at Rumsey Street, by Sofía Ramírez Hernández from Grand Rapids, MI. The Two-Dimensional Juried Award is presented by Western Michigan University.


  • Public Vote: ‘Lux Maximus Fused Glass, Copper, Bronze and Metal’ at Grand Rapids Public Museum, by Daniel Oropeza from Costa Mesa, CA. The Three-Dimensional Public Vote Award is presented by Edward Jones.
  • Juried: Flint’ at Fountain Street Church, by Ti-Rock Moore from New Orleans, LA. The Three-Dimensional Juried Award is presented by Haworth.


  • Public Vote & Juried: ‘Red Dirt Rug Monument’ at Western Michigan University - Grand Rapids, by Rena Detrixhe from Tulsa, OK. The Time-Based Public Vote Award is presented by DTE Energy Foundation.


  • Public Vote: ‘Oil+Water’ in the Grand River, by Ryan Spencer Reed from Ludington, MI and Richard App from Grand Rapids, MI. The Installation Public Vote Award is presented by Amway.
  • Juried: ‘Society of 23's Locker Dressing Room’ at the city water building by the richard app gallery, by Jeffrey Augustine Songco from Grand Rapids, MI.

Outstanding Venue Juried Award

Despite the first week of the 2017 event breaking heat records, visitors still turned out by the hundreds of thousands and signed up to vote in record numbers. Since September 20, 43,010 visitors signed up to vote casting 384,053 votes across two rounds, with more votes cast via the ArtPrize mobile app than ever before. On the second Saturday of the event, more than 72,000 votes were cast — the second highest single-day count in the history of ArtPrize. The results of both rounds of the public vote were verified by KPMG, the Official Auditor of the Public Vote.

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