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(Via New York Times) When it comes to art competitions, there are high-profile contests with big prizes and then, well, there are other ones.

The Essex Street Market on the Lower East Side will be among the sites displaying winning artwork.

Competitors on the Bravo reality show “Work of Art: The Next Great Artist” got to be on television, and the winner received $100,000 and a solo exhibition currently on view at the Brooklyn Museum.


In New York City’s new contest for emerging artists, 150 winners will have their images printed on 5-inch-by-6-inch postcards and displayed at the Rush Arts Gallery in Chelsea or at three city-owned spaces on the Lower East Side, in Harlem and on Staten Island for 10 days. The city is spending $40,000 on the competition.

Though the contest does not provide the grandest of platforms, the city still hopes it will help boost the fortunes of fledgling artists, whose vitality will in turn fuel the economy.

Danny Simmons, who is helping run the contest, known as Curate NYC, for the city’s Economic Development Corporation, said he and his collaborator, Brian Tate, proposed using the postcards instead of actual works of art because of space limitations.

“We figured if we did it this way, so many more artists would get exposure,” he said.

“There’s an economic reason” for helping the arts, said Teresa Vazquez, who directs arts and nonprofit development at the corporation. “There are jobs associated with it and tourism associated with it, and an attraction for other industries to be here because there are creative thinkers here.”

The development corporation estimates that the arts employ roughly 40,000 people in the city and contribute billions of dollars annually in tourism.

Artists who want to enter the contest have until Oct. 6 to upload an image onto the competition’s Web site, A panel of nine curators will choose the winners. As of Tuesday afternoon, 20 artists had submitted images.

Not everyone sees the utility of the contest.

“The winner doesn’t have their art actually physically exhibited anywhere?” asked the artist William Powhida of Brooklyn, who is known for his satirical illustrations of art-world power structures. “I don’t think anyone would go just to see a wall of postcards.”

But for artists who have no opportunity to show their work, something is better than nothing, Mr. Powhida acknowledged. And there was a time not too long ago when few people in city government worried about how to help artists gain recognition.


The contest is one of several recent initiatives the city has undertaken to help emerging artists. One program taught artists business skills, and another provides free outdoor performance spaces.

Because the city is still recovering from the recession, the programs have had to be financed modestly. Initially, no money was set aside for Curate NYC. The idea was to offer free space in city-owned properties and find organizations or individuals to run art exhibitions. But no one volunteered to help with that idea, so the development corporation retooled the concept, attaching the idea of a competition and offering the $40,000 to attract an outside organizer.

The contract was awarded to Full Spectrum Experience, a nonprofit group founded by Mr. Tate and Mr. Simmons, and largely financed by Con Edison.

In addition to the postcard shows, which will take place next month, the artists’ work is being displayed on the contest’s Web site, which Mr. Tate said was partly modeled on Charles Saatc