Thursday, September 10, 2009

Campaign Strategies . . . or not.

I revised our exhibition bookmark for ArtPrize last night and emailed it to Heidi at Josyln and Morris, Boise’s premier offset printer. (And a previous employer before I took the artfork in the road). We’re discovering by way of Facebook that scores of ArtPrize artist’s are initiating elaborate PR and marketing campaigns. With nearly $450,000 of prize money at stake it certainly is tempting . . .

The voting system for this “radically different art competition” has become wildly controversial. The idea, as proposed in the event’s opening announcement, was to let the public choose the top ten works of art – kind of an American Idol approach to contemporary art. But last week ArtPrize announced a variation on that theme. Participating artists will now be assigned two ID numbers. One for folks to use to “Vote Up” for the work and one to “Vote Down.” Voters, who must register, will vote by email or text message for their favorite work. The voter will be free to vote for as many works as they choose, but only one vote per work. Apparently, this new “Vote Down” twist will help identify the controversial work, and will somehow figure into a formula to determine the top ten. The numbers will be tallied daily and posted online so public and artists can watch the race unfold.

We’ve decided to stay with the bookmark we used at the Idaho Historical Museum exhibition last month and include the new voting instructions. It’s a relief to our sanity and our bank accounts (we initially threw ourselves into a marketing frenzy) and came to the conclusion, just before midnight, to keep it simple: no wild stunts, no gimmicks, let the work speak for itself. And hey, we’re one of over twelve hundred artists who will be taking over Grand Rapids for 18 days. That’s just cool in and of itself, dontcha’ think?

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