As we ramp up to tenth edition of ArtPrize in 2018 (can you believe it?) we are proud that -- in addition to spectacular cash prizes totaling $500,000 awarded equally by public vote and expert jury -- we also offer nearly $280,000 in grants that support artists, venues and educators. Education Days continues to reach more schools, with nearly 19,000 students from across Michigan impacted by the program.

Our ArtPrize Pitch Nights are rapidly expanding across the country, with six cities planned for 2017 -- Bentonville, Detroit, Durham, Indianapolis, Louisville and New Orleans. We are welcoming artists from everywhere working in all mediums, with programs of music and film at ArtPrize that are expanding and maturing.

But it still seems just like yesterday (it was 2009 to be exact) that we had a crazy idea and we didn't know if it would work. Then, the crowds descended on downtown Grand Rapids and the restaurants ran out of food!

Still, the fundamentals of the event have remained exactly the same: any artist can enter. Any space in the district can be a venue. It's free to the public, who vote for the winners. Unpredictable by design, ArtPrize builds community through countless instances of independent participation. Everyone should have a voice in the conversation and a stake in the outcome.

--Christian Gaines, Executive Director, ArtPrize