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Yes, even ArtPrize affected by potential federal shutdown


The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum's employees have been "busting their tails" to make ArtPrize go smoothly, in the words of one ArtPrize organizer.

It's their big spotlight: last year, some 195,000 visitors trooped through the museum to check out the ArtPrize entries housed in the Ford. Even more visitors are expected this year, according to one museum official.

But now, with a government shutdown just hours away, the Ford museum could go dark at midnight tonight.

And two of Artprize's top 10 finalists are still on display in the museum.

Obviously, that's no good. Presumably you need visitors in order to get votes, so the artists swung into action. 

Anni Crouter of Flint, Michigan saw her piece voted into the top 10 just this past weekend. 

It's three paintings of polar bears, entitled "Polar Expressed." 

Crouter says the museum has been helping her and another top 10 artist come up with a plan B if the Ford shuts down.

Crouter says they're moving the eight-foot-by-four foot piece right outside the museum. 

"There's one other artist in here with me who's also top 10. And her husband and my husband are getting all the equipment together. And we've got big panels to hang, and she's got tents and we've got lights."

One silver lining? Crouter says now, her piece will be on display 'round the clock, rather than viewers having to leave the museum at 8:00 each night.  

The Ford museum would not confirm what the plan is for a possible shutdown. But a source at the Ford says the museum will still be able to provide security, even if it does have to close. 

Kate Wells is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently covering public health. She was a 2023 Pulitzer Prize finalist for her abortion coverage.
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