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Ferris, Kendall College of Art and Design Prepare for ArtPrize, Seek Volunteers

ArtPrizeFerris State University and its Kendall College of Art and Design are gearing up for ArtPrize 2012, the international art exhibition and competition that kicks off Wednesday, Sept. 19 in Grand Rapids.

Kendall is one of 161 venues participating in the event created in 2009 by social media entrepreneur Rick DeVos, who was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Business and Industry from Ferris during commencement ceremonies in May.

Hundreds of thousands of people attend the annual event that boasts the world’s largest art prize. This year, $560,000 in prizes will be awarded, including $360,000 by public vote and $200,000 in juried awards. Ferris and Kendall are sponsors of the event, which runs through Sunday, Oct. 7.

Kendall, the only higher education Exhibition Center, will host 13 of 1,517 artist entries in its building at 17 Fountain St. and across the street at the newly-renovated Federal Building. As one of seven ArtPrize exhibition centers, Kendall also will offer voter registration and merchandise.

“Our involvement in ArtPrize gives us the opportunity to join in the crucial public conversation of the importance of creativity, while we help lead and shape the interpretation of aesthetic education,” said Kendall President David Rosen. “We need to invest in this grand vision, not only for the obvious benefit for our institution, but also for the joy and celebration of this personal virtue that we all are committed to: art and design does change the world.”

Kendall also sponsors the ArtPrize Speaker Series, which opens with filmmaker John Waters on Tuesday, Sept. 25. Other speakers include artist Theaster Gates (Thursday, Sept. 27), New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz (Monday, Oct. 1), Alison Gass, curator at the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University (Tuesday, Oct. 2) and artist Elaine Tin Nyo (Wednesday, Oct. 3).

To help staff its ArtPrize events, which also include a panel discussion, venue tours and a special family program, Kendall needs faculty, staff and students to fill about 3,000 volunteer hours. Volunteers are needed as exhibition guards, at registration stations and for speaker series support, in the retail store and to help visitors with general questions.