ArtPrize curators shape experience

6:15 AM, Sep 27, 2012   |    comments
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GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) - They are the people behind the scenes at ArtPrize that you rarely hear about, but their work can make a big difference on how successful an entry is.

Art curators wear many hats but most often it's a thinking cap. His or her job is to work closely with the artists and venues to come up with ideas on how best to present the art.

It's nothing new for the Grand Rapids Art Museum to have professional curators work on the many exhibitions the museum has each year. But, what is new is the GRAM's decision to hire one specifically to work on ArtPrize.

"This is the first year we've had a specific theme. We chose "Transformation." So every single work of art here is connected to transformation in some way," said Dana Friis-Hansen, Director/CEO Grand Rapids Art Museum.

The museum is not alone. The number ArtPrize venues that have curators has gone up each year and skyrocketed in 2012.

"We've almost doubled the number of curators we've had in previous years," said Brian Burch, ArtPrize Public Relations Director.

So who exactly are ArtPrize curators and what do they do?

Burch says "They can be anyone. Really when it comes down to it, anyone can be a curator. They think about ideas and place things in the right spots. They have an idea they want to transition into our brains."

Friis-Hansen said "what a curator does is select the entire body of work, the shape of the particular works. What goes where and how they fit together.

When it is done successfully, he says the art communicates with each other and the viewer and enhances the whole ArtPrize experience.

"I think it raises the bar a little. It helps the venues think how can we make our ArtPrize presentation better," said Friis-Hansen. "The artists put so much time and energy and thought and heart into the work you want the visitors to be able to see it well. I've been impressed with some places."

This year all of the exhibition centers and showcase venues have curators. In the art community, a professional curator is a pretty prestigious job.

But, going back to that idea that anyone can be an ArtPrize curator. Burch says it falls in line with the whole idea that in ArtPrize anyone can be an artist.

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