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How ArtPrize Can Please The Public AND The Experts

DavidGuthrie, Flickr

Does ArtPrize NEED to please art experts?  No.  However, getting more input from art professionals would give the public more to talk about and ultimately improve ArtPrize for all.

ArtPrize officials have made changes to the event each year so far and have indicated that they will make changes in the future.  But what is the ultimate goal of these changes?

ArtPrize has always been about “the conversation”.  What is art?  What makes art great?

The problem is everyone’s definition of art is different.  In particular the public’s view of art is different than that of the art community.  It’s Steam Pig vs. Mona Lisa.  Who is wrong? Neither.  But the public outnumbers the experts.  So Mona Lisa sits on the sidelines.

It seems everybody has an opinion about ArtPrize.  I am no exception.  I like the changes that have been made so far, but I am hoping for more.  Either way, I will remain a huge fan of ArtPrize.

Here’s my plan to level the playing field, involve more artists, and increase “the conversation”.

THE 50/50 PLAN

  • The public will vote thumbs up or down on everything in the first round as in the past.  The public’s top ten will advance to the second round.
  • Ten art experts will create a jury and select their own top ten.  10 points will be awarded to each experts’ first place choice, 9 for second, 8 for third, etc.  All votes will be totaled at the end of the first week.  The jury’s top ten will be announced immediately after the public’s.
  • The second round will now have two separate top tens.  The public’s top ten and the jury’s top ten.
  • Anyone who is a registered and activated voter will get two votes in round two.  That’s one vote for each top ten.  There will now be two winners of ArtPrize.  The “People’s Choice” and the “Jury’s Choice”.


  • ArtPrize currently gives out $449,000 to the top ten.  $250,000 to first place, $100,000 to second place, $50,000 to third place, and $7,000 to 4th through 10th places.  They also give $7,000 each to five different juried awards for a total of $35,000 and $5,000 to two different special recognition awards.  That’s a total $494,000.
  • Under “The 50/50 Plan” the $494,000 would be given out differently.  Each top ten would award money as follows:  $200,000 to first place, $20,000 to second, $10,000 to third, $5,000 to fourth, $2,000 to fifth through tenth places.
  • If an entry has made it into each top ten, they may win both.  It would now be possible for an artist to win $400,000 at ArtPrize.

All votes from jury members will be revealed after the top tens are announced.  This will help the public discover more art which may have gone unnoticed in the first round and allow all to review their choices.

“The 50/50 Plan” would…

  • Attract more artists.
  • Give art experts a say.
  • Still give the public the final word.
  • Increase “the conversation”.

All of the above seem to be ongoing goals of ArtPrize.  “The 50/50 Plan” would help achieve those goals.

What do you think?

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