Technology and ArtPrize

In today’s society, technology is becoming more and more valuable and advantageous when it comes to large social events. ArtPrize, one of Grand Rapids most popular artistic events, has become more technology based in the last few years. They have created a website and a mobile application for the two and a half week event that people can use to find the exhibits they want to look at and vote for exhibits they think should win the grand prize. Although the idea of this new technology sounds beneficial, like everything else in our world, it has its flaws.

This year’s ArtPrize, ArtPrize Seven, had a rough start to the event. With less than an hour before ArtPrize was supposed to officially start, the website where people could vote crashed. As of minutes before the official start, the damage to the website still had not been repaired. As registered voters tried to use the website, an error message popped up telling them to try again later (Kaczmarczyk, 2015). Errors like this become frustrating to users and might turn them away from using the website. The voting, which was to start at noon, was pushed back for a while until the situation with the website was fixed (Kaczmarczyk, 2015). The whole point of ArtPrize is for the public to vote on their favorite exhibits, so if the website is not up and running, the number of voters will go down.

ArtPrize Seven’s technology mishap is not the first mishap to worry the ArtPrize staff. During the 2014 ArtPrize, the newly developed mobile application had problems of its own. As people tried to vote for their favorite art pieces, the mobile ArtPrize application failed to work for some people. The kinks in the system were eventually fixed, but damage had already been done to the number of ArtPrize voters. According to the ArtPrize director of communication, Todd Herring, the total number of votes from all methods was down 11 percent, while mobile application voting was down 21 percent (Wood TV 8, 2014). Although there are other methods of voting for the ArtPrize winners, once one method stops working, people who tried and failed with that method choose to give up on voting altogether. Often times the determining factor on which artists move on to the next round come down to a couple votes (Wood TV 8, 2014). When technology fails and people do not get to vote, the reality of who moves on in the competition is not always accurate to what the public really thinks. This is just another problem with the dependency on technology.

The mobile application is one of the major ways to vote because of all the extra features that come with it. The mobile application has a list feature which allows people to share the exhibits they liked the most publicly and see which exhibits other people enjoyed the most. It also has a guide feature that allows people to look for information on specific ArtPrize exhibits and find out where certain exhibits and venues are located (Davis, 2014). All of these features of the mobile application and the use of the website help enhance the experience of those attending ArtPrize as long as they work correctly. The problem with using them though is there accuracy, or lack of it. The intention of technology used for events like ArtPrize is good, but those who use it must be careful of its flaws.


Davis Drew. (2014, September 22). The All New 2014 ArtPrize App. ArtPrize. Retrieved    from

Kaczmarczyk, Jeffrey. (2015, September 23). ArtPrize’s Website Crashes Minutes before Opening of ArtPrize Seven. MLive. Retrieved from

Wood TV 8. (2014, October 2). ArtPrize Blames Sluggish App for Fewer Votes. Wood TV 8. Retrieved from votes/

Pictures From My Personal Experience at ArtPrize Seven





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