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May 26, 2016

The Winning Pitch: Preview of ArtPrize Pitch Night 2015

by @thoughtontracks

Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on defunct, Central Indiana arts website Sky Blue Window on May 12, 2015. Some formatting, content and style changes may differ from the original version. 

One of the Midwest’s largest arts events is partnering with Indianapolis Museum of Art to create a substantial opportunity for Hoosier artists.

ArtPrize is an annual event held over 19 days in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Throughout the event, installations fill the city from museums and galleries to restaurants, banks and city parks. During the exhibition, the public votes to select the grand prize winner. Artists also compete for a juried grand prize worth $200,000 and four $12,500 juried category prizes. The panel of judges consists of world-renowned art experts.

artprize-2015-logoOn June 10, the IMA will host Pitch Night, an ambitious new event that will fund an ambitious project by an Indiana artist for a prominent ArtPrize venue. Five artists will be selected to give a five-minute presentation using five slides each. A selection panel of experts along with the audience will be able to ask questions following the presentations. The winner will receive $5,000 to create an exhibit within a 3,500-square-foot office space in downtown Grand Rapids.

The first Pitch Night was developed at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis with Scott Stulen, who now serves at the IMA as curator of audience experience and performance. Stulen offered the IMA and Indy as a potential expansion site for the event. ArtPrize officials agreed, and now the Circle City is included, along with Minneapolis and Durham, North Carolina.

“IMA’s mission is to support the creative, innovative and exciting works of art and the local and regional artists,” Stulen says. “Pitch Night does both in a very inventive way.”

Last year Indianapolis mixed-media artist Anila Agha ushered in a historic victory at ArtPrize, winning the $200,000 public vote and $100,000 of the juried prize. For more on Agha’s work in the competition, take a look at this Sky Blue Window piece: Memory & Meaning Cubed.

Courtesy of Anila Agha

Courtesy of Anila Agha

“Anila’s win last year was huge, not only for Indiana, but for ArtPrize,” Stulen says. “Anila achieved something that few thought possible — winning both the critics’ and the public vote,” he says. “It means that the public is being exposed to more contemporary art, learning more and that artists are understanding the unique venue of ArtPrize. More specifically, Anila’s win has highlighted the art scene in Indianapolis outside Indiana and will hopefully help to attract more attention for other talented artists in the state.”

Agha will serve on the panel at Pitch Night. Other panelists include: Stulen,  Sarah Urist Green, host of The Art Assignment, Mindy Taylor Ross, owner of Art Strategies, and Roseanne Winings, assistant curator of audience engagement and performance at the IMA.

Artists interested in applying must do so by the May 26 deadline. Pitch Night Indianapolis is limited to those currently living within Indiana. Artists must submit a proposal, an artist CV and up to five images all by email to Additional details on the application process are available via ArtPrize. Pitch Night will take place in the Toby Theater on June 10. The event is free.

Written by Rob Peoni

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