Chicago artists among finalists for coveted $250,000 ArtPrize

October 6, 2011

City Room and the Associated Press

(Photo courtesy of ArtPrize)
A team of Chicago artists known for creating public mosaics, murals and scultpures are among the finalists for the ArtPrize.

A team of Chicago-based artists is among the 10 finalists for the coveted $250,000 ArtPrize contest in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Team members, including Todd Osborne, Tracy Van Duinen and Phil Schuster, are known for their work creating public art that involves youth and communities in Chicago.  In fact, they're among the crew of professional and amateur artists who've been revitalizing public spaces with bold, vibrant mosaics in spots throughout the city

Their competition entry attempts to bring the theme of youth and community to Grand Rapids. 

Entitled Metaphorist, the yet-to-be completed 88 by 40 feet multimedia mosaic mural, would be created by community members in connection with West Michigan Center for Arts & Technology’s faculty, staff and students.

ArtPrize is an international competition with no jury or curator. It began on September 21st and takes place at venues throughout Grand Rapids. The public votes on the top 10 pieces and eventually the overall winner.

The other finalists are from California, Florida, Michigan, Montana, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Osborne teaches art on the South side of Chicago, and Van Duinen collaborates with the Chicago Public Schools to connect teens and their community through public art. Recently the two, have been working to create large-scale multimedia murals on blighted underpasses and playgrounds all over Chicago.

Sculptor Phil Schuster has spent more than a quarter of a century creating public art environments including "whimsical concrete gardens in urban spaces" and along with Van Duinen is a member of the Chicago Public Art Group.

Organizers of ArtPrize will award the top prize in the third annual art contest on Thursday evening, which they claim is the largest single cash prize in any art competition.

The $250,000 given to the winner is among nearly $500,000 in total prizes awarded in the weeks-long event that has drawn more than 400,000 people to the western Michigan city.