Crowd at ArtPrize
A NEXT-GENERATION PATRON OF THE ARTS
To vie for the world's largest award given to artists—$550,000 this year—head to, believe it or not, Grand Rapids, Michigan. In 2009, Rick DeVos, 29, an heir to the Amway fortune, founded ArtPrize, which brings more than 1,500 contestants to more than 200 venues in his hometown, with the public voting on a winner. The hopefuls and their host galleries pair off to plan the exhibitions in advance by finding each other at artprize.org, much like on a dating website. It's an arrangement born of necessity, since there was no way DeVos' small staff of 14 could orchestrate such a massive happening—and happening is the right word: Everything from parking lots to the sides of buildings are enlisted as exhibition spaces, turning the city into a giant open-air gallery that attracts more than 300,000 visitors. "There was a hunger in Grand Rapids for an event of this scale and impact," DeVos says. "More than even I had anticipated."