Chris LaPorte took top honors for “Cavalry, American Officers, 1921,” in the citywide art competition with a total purse of $449,000, thought to be the largest in the art world, reports Detroit News.
Like all the winners, LaPorte was chosen by the visiting public who cast online votes to whittle the 1,713 artists down to 10 finalists, and then voted a second time to determine the order of the first- through 10th-place winners.
Some 465,538 votes were cast by 44,899 registered visitors.
No Detroit-area artists numbered among the finalists.
The second-place winner was Michigan native Mia Tavonatti of Santa Ana, Calif., for “Svelata,” a portrait that resembles a painting but was made entirely of hand-cut glass. Tavonatti took home $100,000.
Third place and $50,000 went to Austin, Texas, artist Beili Liu for her red-thread construction, “Lure/Wave, Grand Rapids (Lure/Forest).”
Fourth through 10th-place winners each won $7,000.
The competition, held at 192 venues across central Grand Rapids, opened Sept. 22 and closes Sunday.
ArtPrize was launched last year by Rick DeVos, a 28-year-old Grand Rapids entrepreneur who said he wanted to stage an event that would not only shine a spotlight on western Michigan’s biggest city, but also engage the public with art in a new fashion.
DeVos, whose grandfather co-founded Amway and whose father, Dick, ran for governor in 2006, has always maintained that the American Idol-style voting system was never about picking the “best” artist.
“It’s about celebrating art in the city,” DeVos says, “giving the public a meaningful way to react to it and generating a citywide conversation.”