The Rapidian

Top five quick and easy ways to improve ArtPrize

Some thoughts on simple ways to increase the quality of the yearly event.
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Easy ways

What would your top 5 changes be?

5: Reduce the girth:

Literally, think outside of the box, replace the 3 mile square with an organic model that is formed by the availability of resources. Maintain the Downtown as a central hub and organize second tier hubs of dense activity. Expand upon the Exhibition Center idea and create Exhibition Zones that are tightly organized around the Centers. Evaluate what is available, maybe the Zoo would make an excellent second tier hub, or a combo of the Goei Center and the Tanglefoot Building.   

4: Tweak the timing:

One week to acclimate, register,  and evaluate hundreds of entries and then one week to just decide on one of ten makes little sense. Make the first part of voting last through two weekend periods and the second part last through one. It takes time to get your bearings and discover all of the work that is presented, doing it in a week is impossible. On the converse, voting for the top ten is quite simple. Allowing more time at the front end of the competition will provide for more in depth evaluation of work and a greater public discourse. 

3: Eliminate built in voting traps:

The Top 100 listing quickly becomes the catalog that people choose from instead of looking at all of the entries. In essence the "top" listings act as adverts for the work and validate the work as the best that the competition has to offer. This is easily fixed by making all the listings on the website arbitrary, drawn randomly from the entire pool of entries. Instead of a ranking just show the number of votes an entry has garnered. The "mixed reviews" section posses the same problem and is equally problematic, both listings are directing voters instead of allowing voters to discover the entries. 

2: Show the numbers! 

The ArtPrize organization is a non-profit and is required to have a high level of transparency so why are the numbers hidden? People want to see the numbers to verify the results, to have some sense of it being a legitimate competition. If it is about a public vote then lets see the vote. Hiding the numbers makes it look like the competition could be rigged. I can find no sensible reason that the vote would not be made public when the public is being asked to vote.

1: Count the entire vote:

Why have the down vote option if it means nothing? If this is a poll of public opinion why would only one side of the opinion be counted? Actually counting the entire vote could have a great impact on what the end results look like. If both votes were counted and weighed against each other the same phenomena that bolsters up the vote due to density of activity could also work to level the playing field. If 20,000 people see a spectacle in an area of dense activity and half vote up and half vote down, then what is the public opinion of the piece? Without counting the down vote then the piece is a winner.

Disclosure: The Author is an artist and is participating in ArtPrize.

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To be exact, 1,713 artists narrowed down to 10 in just one week. And Stacy makes a salient point on The Rapidian's Facebook wall.


Another idea (although it would somewhat complicate voting) would be to give each voter 100 ArtPrize "dollars" or vote points, allowing a greater spectrum of voting activity than just the binary yea or nay. A voter could therefore give all 100 to their absolute favorite piece, or divvy it up, giving 10 points to 10 artists. Or any number of other combinations.

The advantage I see with this method is that strength of opinion is negotiated, rather than just a raw body-count.