As many of you know, last year my family launched our first annual art prize. On December 1, 2008 we announced the 10 winners. Last night we announced the $25,000 Grand Prize Winner - the Dufala Brothers.
(Top country count: US - 2546 artists; Israel - 199; UK - 139; Argentina - 86; Canada - 62; Germany 45)
Number of unique visitors to the website from May to December: 14,182 (that averages out to almost 70 unique visitors per day)
Art breakdown (as categorized by artists):
2,603 mixed media
I am humbled by the response to our first year at this. The database grew through the public launch at NEXT in Chicago last year and then through word of mouth. We contacted schools and public arts programs and let our gallery and artist contacts know what we were up to. I am thankful for the support of the art community and because of them this prize will live on. I truly feel that now more than ever is an important time to be supporting contemporary artists.
There are a number of artists (23 to be exact) who didn't make the 10 but who I am stealthily following since discovering them through this year's prize. I am encouraging last year's artists to resubmit their work this year for consideration. (It will be extremely easy to resubmit on the website when the prize opens this year.) It was nearly impossible to choose 10 winners last year. Some of the artists I am still following may end up next year's winners.
We will be launching the 2009 West Prize at NEXT this year. I have been spending the last few months getting to know as much as I can about some of the art communities in the countries with the most submissions last year so that this year I will be better informed about art outside of my comfort zone.
I was able to meet all of this year's winners (except Georg Parthen) last night in Philadelphia at the Grand Prize event. Having met them all face to face now I am even more excited about their work and our relationship moving forward. They are all Grand Prize winners in my book.