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Is Less More At ArtPrize?

johne777, flickr

ArtPrize is almost here!

How many of the 1,524 entries do you think you’ll see?

Is it too much?

At the first ArtPrize in 2009 there were 1,262 entries. The next year that number jumped to 1,713.

Over the last three years the number of entries has leveled out at 1,582 in 2011, 1,517 in 2012, and 1,524 this year.

The number of venues has also remained steady over the last few years: 164 in 2011, 161 in 2012, and 169 this year.

Even with two and a half weeks to view ArtPrize entries, it is nearly impossible to see them all.  I’m looking forward to spending many hours at ArtPrize, but just like every year, I’m sure I won’t see nearly as many entries as I would like to.

Large crowds make moving from venue to venue a time consuming process and some pieces require more time to view and enjoy than others.

Has having too much art to see been a problem for ArtPrize?

No.

Estimated visitors to ArtPrize continues to grow as entries and venues appear to have leveled off:

  • 2009 – 200,000
  • 2010 – 250,000
  • 2011 – 322,000
  • 2012 – 400,000
  • 2013 – ???

More art and more venues gives people more places to enjoy ArtPrize.  During the busiest times, while many venues have lines out the door, other venues have much smaller crowds.

On the other hand, there is so much art to see, sometimes the best of the best is hard to find.  Especially when they are at venues not visited by many.  Young Kim’s “Salt & Earth (2009)” comes to mind.  Kim’s entry eventually earned some attention, but it’s out-of-the-way venue meant it took longer to get noticed.

So much art and so little time means that the pieces that stick out and are featured at popular venues tend to rise to the top.  The introduction of juried awards and short lists will help change that, but it will never completely eliminate the issue.

And that’s OK.

A limit on the number of venues and pieces of art could increase the overall quality of the art seen at ArtPrize and it could help the best pieces to win more often, but that’s not the point of ArtPrize.

Last fall, ArtPrize founder Rick DeVos explained ArtPrize to 100.5 The River’s Andy Rent:

It’s about creating a culture of creativity and doing that through engagement and conversation and cultivating this curiosity that then results in people learning things.

ArtPrize is here to create a conversation about art.  That message has never changed.

More art = more conversation.

Follow ArtPrize Superfan Matt Milhouse on Facebook and Twitter.  Listen to 100.5 The River weekdays, 10am – 3pm.

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