It's only March, but planning for ArtPrize 2012 is well under way.

ArtPrize opens September 19th and runs through October 7th.  The community "art spectacular" will award a grand total of $560,000 in prizes this year.

As in the past, the public gets to vote through social media separately, and will select 10 works by artists including the top $200,000 first prize, $75,000 second prize, and $50,000 third prize.

However, there will also be a total of $200,000 in ArtPrize Juried Awards including a $100,000 Juried Grand Prize, chosen by a panel of three leading art world figures. That's in addition to the five juried awards in the categories of Best 2-D, Best 3-D, Best Time-Based and Best Use of Urban Space, in addition to the Best Venue Award.

One juror has just been announced, Tom Eccles of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College.  Eccles will select the ArtPrize Best Venue Award, one of five juried awards, each worth $20,000.  The new award will honor an outstanding venue and its curator at the conclusion of  ArtPrize.

Eccles is among the leading voices in public art curation.  Last week, he was chosen to select the sculpture park at the inaugural Frieze New York on Randall's Island in May.  Eccles has curated more than 100 exhibitions and projects, commissioned new works for Madison Square Park by Wim Delvoye, Dan Graham, Mark Dion, Tony Oursler and others, and created a collaborative network for extending museum retrospectives and exhibitions in the public sphere.

He also curated a number of survey exhibitions of monumental sculpture including Roy Lichtenstein at New York City Hall, Willem de Kooning in the Park, Rodin at Rockefeller Center, and Keith Haring on Park.

ArtPrize 2012 artist registration opened last week on March 12th, and venue registration will begin on April 12th.  Then the 'real' fun begins, matching artists and venues on April 23rd.

I can't wait for September and more "art fun!"