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The “Benefits” of ArtPrize

September 13, 2010

Our long-term goal is really to import capital – intellectual capital, and ultimately real capital. And this (ArtPrize) is certainly an extraordinary tool.”     Sam Cummings – downtown GR business/property owner

We are a little over a week away from ArtPrize 2010 and there has been plenty of buzz around the 2nd year of Rick DeVos’ creation. Like last year, GRIID will be tracking local media coverage of this event and making some comparisons to how the upcoming elections will be covered.

Last year ArtPrize was overwhelmingly reported on when comparing it to elections in Kent County. There were a total of 10 articles on elections in the Grand Rapids Press 30 days prior to the election compared to 35 on ArtPrize and that was just the last week of ArtPrize and it still merited more coverage than elections.

Our decision to focus on ArtPrize coverage is to provide some analysis that is outside of the artistic aspect of the event. We recognize that there may be benefits to individual artists and the art community as a whole, but we also believe that much of what motivates Rick DeVos and the other core members of ArtPrize is how the event benefits the elite sectors of Grand Rapids, particularly the downtown business and developers.

It was reported a few months back that last year ArtPrize was the force behind bringing in an additional $5 – $.7.6 million dollars to Kent County, based on a study done by GVSU students. This economic impact is not lost on downtown businesses, some of which have made the 2nd annual event part of the business plan.

According to a September 7 edition of the Grand Rapids Business Journal, “The 16-day art competition that begins on Sept. 22 also is a major event for downtown businesses.” Greg Gilmore, owner of the BOB and other area restaurants said he has already had 8 meetings with his staff about ArtPrize in order to be better prepared to take advantage of the business opportunities during the 16-day event.

The question to ask is not so much does ArtPrize benefit Grand Rapids, rather who does it benefit in Grand Rapids.

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