Applying for ArtPrize (AGAIN!) and the Venues of Life

MuralIt’s time to apply for an ArtPrize 2016 venue. Unfortunately (for me, fortunate for most), Grand Rapid’s international ArtPrize competition has zoomed to popularity and in just 8 years has become “the most attended public art event on the planet” (according to The Art Newspaper). It’s also featured by the New York Times in their article on “52 Places to Go in 2016,” where Grand Rapids is listed as #20. Why so popular? For one thing, ArtPrize offers the planet’s largest cash prizes: $500,000, and that in itself attracts about as many attendees along with thousands of applicants. For another thing (and I quote the ArtPrize homepage), “It’s unorthodox, highly disruptive, and undeniably intriguing to the art world and the public alike.” Sigh. Given its popularity and the competition, will I find any venue that will be willing to host my collage, unknown and unproven as I am? Last year, in my naivety, I thought all you had to do was apply and you’d get in. Since I knew exactly where I wanted to be, I only applied there and then promptly left for a “Grand Southeastern Asia” cruise. Big mistake! The unwatched pot did not boil.  😦   I am really hoping this second time will be the charm, but I’m also more humble and a lot less picky now and have applied to half a dozen venues…actually, almost every venue I think might have a space large enough to handle a mural thirty-three feet long and almost seven feet high.Quirky People. EpcotThe struggle to find a venue at ArtPrize for my oversized mural gives me empathy for all the valiant young men out there who are trying to woo and win a bride…or don’t people even do that anymore? It’s hard to be vulnerable, isn’t it? And, if we’re honest, most of us are very unique and quirky, so it’s hard to find a good fit…not only for artwork, but for marriage work, for work work, and for home work. It’s so hard to give it everything we’ve got and fail, isn’t it? And yet, if I’m honest, I pretty much do that everyday. How many days do I fulfill even the small, simple goals that I set for myself, like eating and exercising properly? It reminds me of the scripture from Matthew 25:21, “His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” Perhaps I should work harder at the little things in my life, which I can and should control, and prayerfully leave the big circumstances—which are beyond my control—to the loving discretion of God.

Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:4-5).