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Like ArtPrize? Then you’ll love Ludington’s new "History Prize"

Oct 24, 2014

This ArtPrize 2011 entry depicting former President Gerald R. Ford could double as an entry into History Prize. Art inspired by history is one of three categories in the new contest.
Credit Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

You may have heard of ArtPrize. It’s an art competition in Grand Rapids where hundreds of thousands of tourists flock every fall to vote for their favorite art.

ArtPrize’s founder wanted to start a public conversation about art. History Prize founder Mara MacKay wants to start a conversation about history.

“History is a social common denominator for all of us,” MacKay said. “Our endeavor is really to help with an artistic expression and provide the opportunities to remember and articulate the past.”

MacKay, a Michigan history author from the Hurley, Wisconsin-Ironwood, Michigan area calls it the “world’s largest creative platform for history”.

Entries can be inspired by any history. Collections of dinosaur bones or Victorian furniture, an Elvis impersonator, a civil war re-enactment – they’re all fair game.

Just like ArtPrize, History Prize will give away cash prizes and the public will vote for the winners.

MacKay brought the idea to the 2014 Pure Michigan Governor's Conference on Tourism where she won the Jump Start contest and $5,000 to get started.  More seed money has since been donated, with a fundraising campaign goal of $1 million by December 2015.

“History can be interpreted just like art in several different ways,” said Brandy Henderson, executive director of Ludington Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. Henderson hopes the 19-day event set for June 2016 will attract around 100,000 people.