Application window opens for local artists to submit to Canvas Pontiac: $26,000 in prize money

What is happening: The application window opened for Pontiac Canvas, the annual regional art competition now in its ninth edition. This year’s competition includes $26,000 in cash prizes and scholarships. This is the first year that scholarships will be awarded, presented in honor of Canvas Pontiac co-founder and downtown Pontiac promoter Robert Karazim, who passed away in 2021.

What it is: Toile Pontiac is an initiative of Main Street Pontiac, and counts the Detroit Institute of Arts among its main sponsors. Artists accepted into the program will compete for advertised cash prizes and scholarships; accepted artwork will eventually be installed throughout downtown Pontiac.

Last year’s winners, this year’s art: The 2021 Canvas Pontiac winners will have their artwork displayed on 8′ x 10′ canvases throughout downtown Pontiac by July 15 and in time for this year’s contest Pontiac Arts Tourscheduled for Friday, July 22. The 3rd annual event returns after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic and features food vendors, live music and, of course, art.

Why it matters: Canvas Pontiac organizers promise a renewed sense of mission for 2022, wanting to leverage public art as a way to get people out of their cars and into downtown Pontiac. Efforts to make Canvas Pontiac more pedestrian-friendly today will lay the groundwork for tomorrow, they say, when downtown Pontiac becomes more pedestrian-friendly with the demolition of the “Woodward Loop,” slated to begin in 2025.

What they say : “We plan to install the winning works in public spaces and at eye level. Other features of the program include youth art, scholarships, traveling outdoor exhibits and galleries,” said Steven Childs, Vice President of Main Street Pontiac and Chair of the Promotions Committee of the organization. “Our new programs will demonstrate that the arts are alive and will thrive in the Pontiac for decades.

How to enter: Early bird registration is open until Friday, July 15 and costs $35 to participate. After the early bird registration window, the submission fee is $50 until the final deadline on Wednesday, August 31. There are four categories: photography, crafts – which includes drawings, paintings, etc., as well as digital art and NFTs – automotive-themed works and murals. Winners in each category will receive a grand prize of $3,000. Scholarships of $2,500 are available in the photography and craft categories. A full breakdown of submission rules, prices, scholarships, etc. can be found online.

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