Richard Schlatter, A. Lincoln, 2017, pennies, 12 x 8'.

Richard Schlatter and Seitu Jones Win $200,000 ArtPrize Awards

A portrait of Abraham Lincoln made entirely of pennies and video documentation of a meal organized for 250 people are the two works receiving top honors this year at the 2017 ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan, according to a report by Steve Friess in the New York Times.

ArtPrize is an annual competition founded in 2009 by the tech entrepreneur Rick DeVos, a son of current secretary of education Betsy DeVos and grandson of the Amway billionaire Richard DeVos. Any business or organization in downtown Grand Rapids can declare itself a site and host entries. The contest, which awards a total of $500,000, has four categories: two-dimensional, three-dimensional, time-based, and installation art. The work with the most votes in each section receives $12,500. A jury also selects the two best works for a grand prize. Schlatter’s A. Lincoln received the most overall votes by the public, from more than 384,000 votes cast across 1,300 entries during a two-week period. Schlatter will receive a $200,000 grand prize, as well as $12,500 for tallying the most votes in the two-dimensional art category.

A panel of three judges—Gaëtane Verna, director of the Power Plant in Toronto; Christopher Scoates, director of Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum in Detroit; and Gia Hamilton, director at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans—awarded the other $200,000 grand prize to The Heartside Community Meal by Seitu Jones of St. Paul, Minnesota. The time-based installation involves a meal served in Grand Rapids on September 23 at a three-hundred-foot-long table meant to represent a range of world food cultures.

Other winners this year include Ryan Spencer Reed’s Oil + Water, a one-hundred-by-one-hundred-foot photograph he shot at a Dakota Access Pipeline protest in 2016, printed on vinyl and laid out in the Grand River. His piece won the public vote in the installation category. New Orleans–based Ti-Rock Moore’s Flint, featuring a drinking fountain continuously spewing brown water under a sign reading “Colored” was selected by the jury as the best three-dimensional entry. For more on the winners of this year’s ArtPrize, see the award’s website. For more coverage of ArtPrize, see Kevin McGarry’s Diary from the 2015 edition.