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First ever Akron Art Prize allows public to decide winners

8/30/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

The public is invited to vote by text to determine the winners of a total of $10,000 in cash awards at the inaugural Akron Art Prize competition.
Photo courtesy of the Downtown Akron Partnership
DOWNTOWN AKRON — The public is invited to vote by text to determine the winners of a total of $10,000 in cash awards at the first Akron Art Prize competition sponsored by the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation (MCMF).

The competition, coordinated by the Downtown Akron Partnership (DAP), will kick off Sept. 1 at the Downtown Akron Artwalk and run through Oct. 6. More than 135 artists have entered the competition with a $5,000 first prize and five $1,000 runner-up awards, according to DAP officials.

Entrants range from professional artists to hobbyists with works to include paintings in oil, watercolors, acrylics and pastels, outdoor installations, three-dimensional wall hangings, clay and pottery works, sculptures of all shapes and sizes, and multiple entries dealing in metals (both new and scrap), according to DAP officials.

“An art competition open to the public with an outcome determined by public vote is an exciting new animal in the Akron arts landscape,” said Suzie Graham, DAP president. “It’s a new way to encourage people to talk about what they like and don’t like about art — everyone has an opinion and every opinion counts.”

Entries will be on display at five Downtown Akron locations: outside the Akron Art Museum (One S. High St.), Millworks Gallery (106 N. Main St.), Redlight Gallery (111 N. Main St.), Summit Artspace (140 E. Market St.) and We Gallery (20 N. High St.).

“The Akron Art Prize is a mini version of a successful art prize event in Grand Rapids, Mich., now in its third year,” said Sandy Kreisman, interim executive director of Summit Artspace. “This event will expose the general public to a wide range of exhibits. Many could be people who don’t normally visit art venues.”

Summit Artspace will display 80 Akron Art Prize exhibits in addition to its current gallery exhibition, according to DAP officials.

“There will be art throughout the building,” Kreisman said.

According to DAP officials, guests ages 16 and older with a valid driver license may register to vote with their mobile phones or preregister before the event at www.downtown akron.com/artworks. Voting will take place during a limited time frame and only will be allowed within Downtown Akron, encouraging guests to attend and experience each event, according to DAP officials. The first round of voting will take place between Sept. 1 at 5 p.m. and Sept. 22 at 10 p.m. The top 10 works receiving the highest number of public votes will be featured in the second and final round of voting between Sept. 28 at 5 p.m. and Oct. 6 at 9:45 p.m. Akron Art Prize winners will be announced at the conclusion of the Oct. 6 Artwalk at 10 p.m.

Akron Art Prize is modeled after similar public art competitions that have emerged throughout the country and is intended to encourage conversations and excitement about art and the revitalization of the downtown core, according to DAP officials.

“The MCMF is delighted to partner with DAP to bring the Akron Art Prize to life in 2012,” said Rick Kellar, president of the MCMF. “The potential economic and social impact this type of event can have on a city has been proven throughout the country in places like Grand Rapids. We are grateful for the hard work and fellow partners and are looking forward to a great event.”

Visit www.downtownakron.com/artprize or www.downtownakron.com/artwalk for additional information.

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