How to vote in ArtPrize, nice ‘n easy like

A guest post from the wife of the artist, Colleen Newvine Tebeau:

ArtprizeSealThe organizers of ArtPrize are giving art fans lots of ways to weigh in on who should win recognition and cash in the art contest this month in Grand Rapids.

Maybe it’s because of all those choices that I find the rules a little hard to follow. In case I’m not the only one easily confused, here’s my run at it.

To help an artist win ArtPrize, you must do two things:

  1. Register to vote in person at a registration venue in Grand Rapids, Mich.
  2. Vote

That’s easy, right?

** First, the registration: **

As the ArtPrize voting rules page states:

  • Anyone 16 years of age or older who registers in person at the ArtPrize event can vote.
  • You cannot vote without registering at the event.
  • There will be no charge for voter registration.
  • Attendees will be required to present a valid government issued ID in person at a registration station
  • ID can be drivers license, other state ID or passport
  • There will be voter registration stations throughout the city September 23-October 7

So in order to vote, you must physically go to one of the ArtPrize registration stations anytime between Sept. 23 and Oct. 7. You can find a list here on the ArtPrize site. It helpfully includes the hours of each location.

Optionally, you can pre-register. Organizers say it will save you time at the registration site. Instead of having to provide your details there, you can just show your ID and activate your voting status.

You can vote without pre-registering but you can’t vote without registering. Got it?

** Second step: voting **

All voting is electronic. No hanging chads, no folded pieces of paper in a shoe box. Top prize is $250,000 and ArtPrize is not fooling around. Deloitte & Touche, the accounting firm, designed the voting process.

Like in the old days in Chicago, you get to vote multiple times in this election. There is a first round where you can vote for as many artists as you like, then a second round where you choose your favorite from among 10 finalists.

Voting runs Sept. 23-30 for the first round. You can vote up or down on each artist but only the up votes will count in selecting the finalists.

Voting for finalists runs Oct. 1-7. If you were registered to vote for round one, you are still registered to vote again.

How do you vote? You have many choices. You can use one or all in the first round to advance as many artists as you want. Second round, choose the one that works best for you.

* Online: Anytime after you’re registered to vote, sign in to your account on, search for an artist and start voting.

* Mobile Browser: Mobile browser offers a simplified version of on your mobile phone at Sign in, record your vote in the text box and type the artist’s voting code into the box to vote up or down. You can find artist codes by searching for the artist on — John’s is 3276.

* iPhone app: Go to the iTunes store and download the ArtPrize app. Sign in to the app and search artists by name to vote for them.

* Text Message (SMS): Register your mobile phone number with ArtPrize, either online at or in person when you register.

Once your voter status is activated, you’ll receive a text message with a unique code. Text that code back to 878787 to validate your phone and then you’re ready to vote “up” or “down.”
Send all votes to 878787; text the word “vote” plus the numeric code displayed near the artwork (i.e., “vote 55551”)

With all the voting taking place electronically, some of our far-away friends have expressed interest in casting their ballot for John long distance. Sadly, unless you want to buy a plane ticket, you can cross your fingers and encourage other people to vote but you can’t help choose the winner.

1978, John's ArtPrize Entry

1978, John's ArtPrize Entry

While we’d love every vote we can get, I like the ArtPrize system because:

  • Instead of just testing which of the 1,200 artists has the most friends, it means people have to physically see at least some of the art on display all around Grand Rapids. In addition to winning, I think all these creative folks would love as many people to see their work as possible.
  • It cuts down on the chance for cheating. If you didn’t have to physically go, every artist could just create 100 fake gmail accounts to forge 100 votes and the whole system would cave in.
  • It’s fantastic to think about the energy and excitement of having more than 1,000 artists urge everyone they know to come to Grand Rapids.

Now that we have that all cleared up, head to the Ottawa Tavern at Ottawa and Pearl to see not only John’s art but also:

Stephanie Timmerman Schlatter
Natalie Villarreal
Florence Denham
Tom Phares
Anna Timmerman
William Johnson
Loretta Shumate-Pierre
Bud Kibby
Lynn Anderson
David Guthrie
Kevin Wentworth
Marlan Cotner
Hannah Lukasiewicz
James Jursinic
Betsy Brelinski
Laurel J Prafke
Ginny Keegan
Colette Gee
Levi Goven
Seth Wehner
Jennifer Rentschler
Gregory Oberle
J Toffic




Filed under Art Shows, ArtPrize

2 responses to “How to vote in ArtPrize, nice ‘n easy like

  1. David Guthrie

    Hey John,

    I’m Dave Guthrie, a fellow Ottawa Tavern artist. I like your work. Thanks for mentioning OT in your blog. I’m some what disappointed in the Tavern’s promotion of itself as a venue. I was there Friday night but met few artists simply because I didn’t know who they were or how to identify them. Oh well, it’s still been a lot of fun.

    • Apparently, Dave, the artists were the ones getting arrested that night.

      I had a great time, but yes, I would have liked to meet more fellow Ottawans. Voted for you, though! I think a lot of venues will find their footing in the next year or two. Ottawa was a pretty primo location, for 2-D art.

      Hope to actually meet you next year.

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