A mother-son team filled with love and humble happiness after winning the 2021 ArtPrize top prize
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – After winning the ArtPrize grand prize, mother and son team Christian Reichle and Monica Pritchard said on Friday night that they were filled with “humbling love and happiness.”
“You pour your heart into something… and you don’t know how it’s going to turn out,” said Reichle, whose entrance, “Before You Go,” is a redeveloped phone booth on the Blue Bridge where users can listen. tips and thoughts. on the life recorded by residents of Grand Rapids and beyond.
“To have the reception that we had, then to win, it’s huge.”
They win a prize of $ 50,000.
The idea for Before You Go had “germinated for two years,” before the two began working to make the concept a reality after receiving a conservation grant from ArtPrize to help fund the project.
At the time, Pritchard, who lives in Grand Rapids, was working as the COO of a law firm, and his mother was helping senior clients with estate planning. She befriended a lot of those clients and ‘She was like, how do we tell their stories,’ ”recalls Reichle, a graphic designer who moved from Cincinnati to Grand Rapids in April to work on the project. .
This idea of sharing the stories of ordinary people finally blossomed in Before You Go.
ArtPrize attendees entering the exhibit can pick up a phone and choose, with the press of a button on the phone, to listen to recordings of people offering advice and discussing their legacy, helping others, wishes and regrets, family , travels, beliefs, their relationship to death and more. The telephone line on which these messages are recorded can be accessed remotely by dialing 1 (888) 665-2036.
“I just had a passion for telling stories to people in business terms, and I’m sharing that with my son,” said Pritchard, who now works as an executive sales coach. “Christian helped me bring him to life.”
Before You Go features excerpts from more than 100 interviews Reichle and Pritchard conducted with residents “from all walks of life” from all over the United States, but primarily West Michigan.
Participants were between 35 and 103 years old and included homeless people as well as residents of an assisted living facility in Rockford, Reichle said.
The questions included: “What would you like to share with a future generation before you go?” And “What would you like more people to know about you now?” “
“I think people crave community and need people and need to have conversations with people before it’s too late,” says Pritchard in a recording describing his exhibition, which can be played in his ArtPrize entry . “I think listening to a few of these stories that we have collected will perhaps inspire them to start having conversations that they might have been hesitant to have.”
Looking ahead, the two were hoping that there would be life for Before You Go Beyond ArtPrize 2021, which ends on Sunday, October 3.
“There is a phone line that people can call and hear selections, so I think for now we’re going to go on and see what life it brings,” Reichle said. “I think winning the Art Prize certainly adds references to the project and some attention to it.”
They were grateful for having had the opportunity to bring their vision to ArtPrize and to see residents from across the region engage in their art.
“We didn’t go into this competition initially to win it or win anything,” said Pritchard. “We just wanted to share a story.”
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