What Technology Should Be

Imagine this: You are in a room full of people. There is a table in the room with dishes and silverware on top of it. People talk at a regular volume, but when someone whispers into a microphone, there is a huge roar, causing the plates and dishes to crash to the ground. This is what Emily Kennerk’s piece “Whisper” does. (Stryker, 2015). It is a submission for ArtPrize Seven, and is just once example of how the art competition uses technology. While it is clear that those who organize ArtPrize are trying to keep up to date, with apps and contemporary pieces, the competition seems to be missing the mark on a huge part of technology: social media.

It is not that they do not try. In the last few years technology has played a huge role. Last year year the competition had extensive updates to both its website and app. It also included an interactive map, which told visitors about the Grand Rapids in general instead of just the art. (Woods,2014). While impressive, these improvements are for the people who already go to ArtPrize. To become better known and expand, ArtPrize must entice people who may not know about the competition. In today’s world, this would be done through social media, and it sort of seems like the ArtPrize tweets, posts, and pictures are failing.

ArtPrize does generate posts about itself. Every year there are hundreds of hashtags, tweets, and posts about the event. ArtPrize has even organized photo competitions in order to gain a large social media gathering. In 2011 viewers could win a camera if they took a picture of a piece and captioned it. They then would have to post on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the hashtag ArtPrize. (Burch, 2011) While this may have increased their following on these networks, does not mean that people would then favorite, retweet, or like ArtPrize’s posts. For example, ArtPrize has 36,010 followers on Twitter, at https://twitter.com/ArtPrize,  as of today. They tweet multiple times a day but usually do not get more than a few favorites or an occasional retweet. With that many followers, that number should be a lot bigger. How will they expand if the people who follow them do not like their content enough to share it with their own followers? They have an arsenal of pictures and art that they could be Tweeting about, but instead use quotes from articles about the event. While they may be trying to promote those writing about them, it does not seem to be working in promoting themselves. For reference the Grand Valley State University Twitter , which can be found at https://twitter.com/GVSU has 32,249 followers, which is almost 4,000 less, as of today. However, scrolling through their tweets shows that they average many more retweets and favorites because they make their account interactive and image based.

ArtPrize is gearing itself towards technology, but using the latest technology is not the same as successfully using the latest technology. Their social media accounts need to improve if they want to become the Coachella of art. Below are some pictures that I would personally enjoy if I saw on social media. While simple, these images show some of the art being buit and an example of a non-official piece. They will help followers and friends alike not just see the atmosphere of ArtPrize, but help take their social media from a messy scream to a quiet but erupting whisper.


Artist’s work on a structure.


A stop sign is modified for a piece


Burch, Brian (Sep.18 2014) Sharing is Caring. ArtPrize Blog. Retrieved from http://www.artprize.org/blog/sharing-is-caring

Stryker, Mark (Sep. 30 2015) Quality is Up at ArtPrize 7; Don’t Miss These Works. Detroit Free Press Retrieved from http://www.freep.com/story/entertainment/arts/mark-stryker/2015/09/30/quality-consistency-continue-rise-artprize-7/72977152/

Woods, Jaenell (Sep. 4 2011) ArtPrize Launches 2014 Technology Suite. Art Prize Blog. Retrieved from https://www.artprize.org/blog/2014-technology-suite