Tag Archives: ArtPrize

Gerald R. Ford International Airport joins ArtPrize venue lists

For the first time in its history, the Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GFIA) will be a venue for ArtPrize.


GFIA has been a sponsor and welcoming point for artists and visitors for several years, and decided to sign on as a venue for the 9th annual art competition, given the connection to the community. Seven artists will have art displayed at the Airport, which includes both indoor and outdoor work.


“We are thrilled to be a part of ArtPrize in more ways than one, and serving as a venue will not only give visitors a first impression of our city; but it will hopefully bring in those from around West Michigan into the airport to see the art and check out our newest facilities,” said GFIA President & CEO Jim Gill. “The Ford Airport strives to be reflective of the people and events in West Michigan, and what better opportunity is there to do so other than partner with ArtPrize? We look forward to welcoming in both local and international artists, and look forward to seeing their talents on display.”


ArtPrize is an open, independently organized international art competition which takes place for 19 days each fall in Grand Rapids. More than five hundred thousand dollars in prizes are awarded each year, which include a $200,000 prize awarded entirely by public vote and another $200,000 prize awarded by a jury of art experts.


Any artist working in any medium from anywhere in the world can participate. Art is exhibited throughout downtown Grand Rapids—museums, bars, public parks, restaurants, theaters, hotels, bridges, and for the first time – the Airport. Over eight years, 2.9 million visitors have cast 3.2 million votes and artists from around the country and world have received $4.1 million in awards.


“In addition to their stunning renovations, we are excited to expand the ArtPrize boundaries to include The Gerald R. Ford International Airport allowing visitors from all over the world to experience — an vote for — the work of ArtPrize Artist on their first and last stop in West Michigan,” said ArtPrize Executive Director Christian Gaines.

Nine Wyoming area residents to showcase work in 2017 Legacy Trust Award Collection

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This year’s Legacy Trust Award Collection will feature nine Wyoming area residents among the 143 Michigan artists who will showcase their art for a chance to be sponsored in ArtPrize.


For the eighth consecutive year, Legacy Trust is sponsoring a statewide art competition for adult artists with disabilities in an effort to bring their voices and vision to ArtPrize, an international art competition that draws hundredss of thousands of visitors to Grand Rapids each year. Dates for this year’s ArtPrize are Sept. 20 – Oct. 8. Artists from Ada to Zeeland, the Lower Peninsula and into the UP have submitted artwork.


Artists from Wyoming include:

  • David DeBoer, Head Chef, mixed media
  • Adam Reidsma, The Workshop, mixed media
  • Jill Lindgren, Dogs, mixed media
  • Ryan Oosterheart, Fishing at the Cabin, mixed media
  • Mary Helmic, Abstract Geometry, mixed media
  • Jeffery Baar, Spring is in the Air, marker
  • Carole McDonald, Sapphire, mixed media
  • Jerrilynn Anderson, Getaway Place, acrylic
  • Tyler Riley, Bird’s Eye View, acrylic


Four winners will be chosen – one by a panel of celebrity judges, two by public vote and one special juried award – and sponsored in ArtPrize, the world’s largest art competition.


The public will have a chance to view and vote for its favorite entry on Tuesday, May 23, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, located in downtown Grand Rapids. Votes can also be cast online at LTACarts.org.


Along with the nine from Wyoming, there are 51 Grand Rapids residents whose pieces were selected. For a sneak peek at all 143 pieces, visit the Legacy Trust Awards Collection Facebook page.


Winners of LTAC 2017 will be announced on May 30. Along with having their artwork entered into ArtPrize, the winning artists will each receive a cash prize of $500.  All entry fees and promotion expenses for ArtPrize will be paid by Legacy Trust, which, for the fifth year, has secured the high-profile DeVos Place venue for the winning artists during ArtPrize.


Legacy Trust announces eighth annual competition for artists with disabilities

Adult artists with disabilities have a chance to win $500 and have their artwork displayed in the Grand Rapids Art Museum and entered in ArtPrize 2017 – thanks to the Legacy Trust Award Collection.


Back for its eighth year, the Legacy Trust Award Collection is soliciting artwork from Michigan artists with disabilities for its popular mini-competition in advance of ArtPrize. Four winning artists will each receive $500 and sponsorship in ArtPrize, the radically open art competition, scheduled this year Sept. 20 – Oct. 8 in downtown Grand Rapids.


The statewide competition is open to all Michigan artists with disabilities and seeks paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings, collages, mixed media and other works of art. Four winners will be chosen by popular vote, a panel of celebrity judges and the LTAC Advisory Committee.


Artists must register with LTAC by April 24 to be considered for the 2017 competition.


Sponsored by Grand Rapids-based investment advisory and wealth management firm Legacy Trust, LTAC will be held this year in the Grand Rapids Art Museum May 22-23. A private reception for all artists, judges and LTAC supporters will be held on the evening of Monday, May 22.


The public will have a chance to view and vote for its favorite entry May 23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the GRAM, which is located in downtown Grand Rapids.


Winning artists will have their work displayed during ArtPrize at DeVos Place in downtown Grand Rapids. Last year, 101 artists from around the state submitted artwork to LTAC, its seventh straight year of growth.



Winners of LTAC 2017 will be announced May 30. Along with having their artwork entered into ArtPrize, the winning artists will each receive a cash prize of $500. All entry fees and promotion expenses for ArtPrize will be paid by Legacy Trust, which – for the fourth year – has secured DeVos Place venue for the winning artists during ArtPrize.


Artists from all genres are invited to participate in the competition. All artists must submit an artist registration to Legacy Trust by April 24. All artwork must be completed and available for showing in Grand Rapids by 5 p.m. on April 28.


Following is a list of guidelines for submitting artwork:

  • All participating artists must be a resident of Michigan and at least 18 years of age by April 3.
  • All artwork must be original, attributable to the applicant and completed within three years prior to September 21, 2017.
  • All artwork is subject to the “Official Rules for Artists-ArtPrize,” which can be found at www.artprize.org.
  • The top four artists will retain ownership and all rights to their artwork, subject to the rules and restrictions of ArtPrize 2017. The artists agree to make themselves and their artwork available to LTAC and all partnering agencies and sponsors prior to and during ArtPrize for promotions and marketing efforts.
  • The top four artists who receive the award will be entered into ArtPrize 2017 as a Legacy Trust Collection Award winner.
  • LTAC artists agree that if their artwork wins any ArtPrize award, they will donate 25 percent of any award to create a special Legacy Trust Endowment Fund to continue arts programs for adults with disabilities in greater Grand Rapids.
  • Winning artists will be notified by Legacy Trust by May 30 and will be entered into ArtPrize.
  • There are no restrictions on artists who are not part of the Collection from entering ArtPrize on their own.


Artwork may be delivered by mail, UPS, FedEx or in person to Legacy Trust, 99 Monroe, Suite 600, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 49503 by 5 p.m. on April 28. See the registration form for additional rules and details at http://ltacarts.org.


More information on LTAC is available at www.LTACArts.org. Join the conversation on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LegacyTrustAwardCollection and on Twitter with #LTAC.

LocalFirst recognizes business owner for contributions to the Grand Rapids/Kentwood community

Josephine “JoJo” White at her salon JoJo’s House of Beauty.

By Bre Wilson



Josephine “JoJo” White recognizes that when a person makes the decision to leave a destructive relationship, they only have a short time to pack up and the last thing they may consider to grab is personal items such as shampoo and conditioner.


Which is why the owner of JoJo’s House of Beauty, located at 1801 44th St. SE, over the past several years has worked with the YWCA to make sure those items are available when people come to stay there.


“The YWCA has always been a great place to just give, they give so much to domestic violence and we wanted to just be a part of that,” White said. “We donate brushes and combs, hair care, whatever we have or whatever clients give to us.”


It is because of White’s dedication to building a better community that she was recently one of nine recipients of the LocalMotion Award presented by LocalFirst of West Michigan. Given out annual, the LocalMotion Awards are designed to recognize businesses, organizations and individuals leading the way in building vibrant, sustainable communities.  Each nominee was asked to complete a Quick Impact Assessment, which quantifies their positive impact through business practices such as philanthropic efforts, employee satisfaction and responsible waste management. From there, the LocalMotion Award recipients are determined and were announced at a special event earlier this year.


“I was totally shocked,” White said of being a LocalMotion Award recipient. “There were over 60 people who were nominated, so just to be nominated was a good thing.


“It was amazing to be recognized.”


White open JoJo’s House of Beauty three years ago after taking over her current location. Her goal has been to offer a multi-cultural salon designed to serve both men and women of all hair types. “Opening a salon has been a dream of mine since the age of 16, so it’s just a blessing to see my dreams come true,” she said.


Even before achieving her dream, White was committed to giving back to the community. Through the years, she has been very involved in many organizations from giving scholarship money to Omega Si Phi Fraternity Incorporation and Alpha Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporation to volunteering with Beauty of Zion Fashion ArtPrize hair show. White said she enjoys creating a positive presence in her community.


“LocalFirst is proud of all the busiensses in West Michigan who are making a positive impact in our local community,” said LocalFirst President Elissa Hillary. “The businesses recognized at the LocalMotion Awards are excellent examples of what it means to use business as a force for good and we applaud them for their commitment to positive social and environmental change in Grand Rapids and beyond.”


The other LocalMotion Award recipients are, from Grand Rapids, ACTPhotoMedia, LINC UP, Management Business Solutions, Mindful Vinyasa School of Yoga, and Mixed Staffing and Recruiting; from Grand Haven, C2C Galleries; and from Holland, EcoBuns Baby+Co.


2016 was a record year for Grand Rapids Area Convention and Tourism Business

The reopening of the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum with new interactive exhibits is one reason tourism is up in 2016.

Experience Grand Rapids (EXGR), the area’s official destination marketing organization, has announced that 2016 was another record-breaking year for area hotel room revenue. From 2015 to 2016 hotel business increased 8.7 percent exceeding growth for both Michigan’s and the United States’ hotel room revenue gains of 4.8 percent and 6.8 percent respectively.
“For the seventh consecutive year Kent County hotel room revenue has grown over the prior year,” said Doug Small, President and CEO of Experience Grand Rapids. “Hotel room revenue is a key metric for measuring tourism activity because it is affected by leisure tourism, strong convention attendance, the area’s growing business economy, and the increasing number of sports related events.”



Thanks to the efforts of EXGR’s partners at the West Michigan Sports Commission, the Grand Rapids area has grown as a sport destination. Among more than 80 events on the calendar; 2017 brings USA Cycling’s Fat Bike Nationals in January (a first for Michigan), the 2017 International Softball Congress Men’s World Tournament and PDGA Masters World Championships in August (both new to Grand Rapids), and the USA Weightlifting American Open Series in September.



Grand Rapids’ overall growth as a leisure destination is effected by the rise of the music scene, the continuously expanding craft beer scene, and updates to popular attractions. In 2016, Van Andel Arena had one of its strongest lineups to date with Garth Brooks’ record for most tickets sold for a single engagement and Paul McCartney’s record for gross ticket sales for a single event. The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum also re-opened in 2016 with a new interactive exhibit and expansion for education.


“Grand Rapids continues to gain in popularity as a travel destination,” said Janet Korn, Senior Vice President, Experience Grand Rapids. “Allocates like the ‘New York Times: 52 Places to go in 2016’ combined with effective destination marketing led by Experience Grand Rapids focused on the brand assets of art and culture, food and craft beer, family friendly and more recently music and outdoor recreation work in tandem to inspire travel to the area.”


The seven-month exhibit of Ai Weiwei’s at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park is giving 2017 a good start in tourism numbers. (Supplied)

Further growth can be attributed to outstanding arts and culture exhibits like the Iris van Herpen: Transforming Fashion exhibit at Grand Rapids Art Museum which welcomed over 23,000 attendees and ranks it as the sixth most visited exhibit based on average visitors per day, record numbers by the West Michigan Sports Commission, and Gerald R. Ford International Airport set a four-year passenger record in 2016 with a passenger number total of 2,653,630.


Furthermore, the visitor experience remains a focus. The Grand Rapids Certified Tourism Ambassador  (CTA) program, which educates people about the importance of tourism in the community, has trained more than 2,890 individuals and touched more than 540 businesses since it started in August 2013. New marketing programs are also being implemented, such as shuttles to ArtPrize for suburban hotel visitors. Following the first-year success, EXGR will again offer this as a hotel guest service during the weekends throughout ArtPrize.


Looking ahead, Small said that Experience Grand Rapids will be considering the suggestions made in the Destination Asset Study commissioned by Grand Action.
“The forecast for 2017 is “sunny” because of exciting cultural exhibits coming to Kent County including a seven-month exhibition of Ai Weiwei at Frederik Meijer Gardens, sporting events like the National Congress of State Games, and significant conventions such as Grand Aerie Fraternal Order of Eagles, Church of the Brethren and National Environmental Health Association. Combining with our increasing popularity as a cool city due to events such as ArtPrize, GRandJazzFest, and LaughFest and culinary, craft beer, and outdoor activities.”

Grand Valley Artists keep the art discussion going



defaultgva_squareBy Anthony Wilder Puzzuoli



When one thinks about “Grand Rapids” and “art,” it’s impossible not to think about ArtPrize. The event helped put Grand Rapids on the map and into the national art discussion. However, before and after the crowds leave, the art community of Grand Rapids is still here, and has been here for a while. Organizations like the Grand Valley Artists are providing valuable opportunities for area artists of all skill levels to connect, learn, provide critique and improve.


Founded in 1955, Grand Valley Artists is one of the oldest art organizations in Michigan. According to Bob Kraai, it was founded in response to a greater emphasis being placed on modern art in the city. Grand Valley Artists sought to bring more awareness to Realism and traditional art. Members would meet to draw, discuss and share their art with each other.


This volunteer-run organization currently meets in a space north of Leonard on Monroe in the Coopers Landing building. A quick look at the group’s monthly calendar shows a plethora of opportunities for artists of all medias. A photography group meets twice a month and there are recurrent meetings for figure sketching, plein air/still life, still life studio and portrait sketching. Plein air painting, for those curious, is the act of painting outside, in the open air. Be on the lookout for this group out and about town. The organization also offers monthly critique sessions that take place the first Thursday of each month. Artists are encouraged to share their work and thoughts. These are great opportunities to see one’s work through a different lens.  In addition to the meetings, the organization produces a monthly newsletter highlighting artists, showings, and art events around town.


Perhaps the Grand Valley Artist’s most well-known event is the annual Reed’s Lake Art Festival. 2017 marks the 52nd year of the popular festival that takes place along Wealthy Street in East Grand Rapids. Each summer hundreds of people visit the festival to experience and purchase art from fine artists from all over the country. One quick note, if you’re interested in participating this year, you can fill out an application – the deadline is March 1, 2017.


The organization isn’t just for artists. Those with an interest are welcome to attend events and most of the programming is available to non-members for a minor fee. With that in mind, the Grand Valley Artists are hosting a Photography Group Artists Reception this Saturday Nov. 5, from 4 – 8 p.m. Examples of “photographic composites, hand colored black and white silver gelatins, tin types, collodions and metallic prints” will be on display as well as refreshments. The reception will be taking place at the Grand Valley Artists’ space at 1345 Monroe Avenue Suite 140, in the Coopers Landing building.


For more information about the Photography Group Artists Reception and Grand Valley Artists in general, visit www.grandvalleyartists.com.

Meijer Gardens ArtPrize exhibit allows visitors to take their time at ‘Home’


"Ditch Lily Drawing," by Nathan Lareau, is in the ArtPrize 8 Top 20. It is under the installation category.
“Ditch Lily Drawing,” by Nathan Lareau, is in the ArtPrize 8 Top 20. It is under the installation category. (Supplied photo.)

ArtPrize can often seem overwhelming, with 170 venues and almost 1,500 entries, sometimes it seems as though viewers can only run a quick hand over individual works as so many more beckon during the three-week run.


infobox-4-48-38-pmBut the Frederik Meijer Garden & Sculpture Park’s always unique, often astounding, contribution to Grand Rapids’ annual explosion of art is not only a “must see” venue of the event, but it also has a longevity not offered by many of the venues – the show will continue through the end of the year, making it a “must see again, at leisure” opportunity.


Meijer Gardens’ exhibition, “Almost Home: Grand Rapids in Focus,” continues free to the public through the run of ArtPrize 8, Sunday, Oct. 9. It will then continue on display through Dec. 31, available with admission.


In recent years, the Gardens have offered an international snapshot of the modern art world brought home to Grand Rapids. This year’s exhibit still offers a closely curated spectrum – 13 artists and artistic visions – but there is a consistent theme of homemade, homegrown familiarity in the milieu.


“Each artist has a special connection to the city and has offered an original reflection on it,” Joseph Becherer, chief curator and vice president of exhibitions and collections, said in supplied material. “All sculptures and installations were created specifically for this exhibition, reflecting the social and historical, industries and enterprises, the natural and the creative forces that helped shape Grand Rapids.”


The artists in the exhibit include married couples, fathers and sons, longtime local artistic forces and relatively newcomers to Grand Rapids’ artistic home front.


Anna Campbell’s “Chosen Family, Chosen Name, Separatist, Safe Space, Ex-Pat, Invert, Homophile, Homestead”, part of the “Almost Home: Grand Rapids in Focus” ArtPrize 8 exhibit at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. (Supplied Photo.)
Anna Campbell’s “Chosen Family, Chosen Name, Separatist, Safe Space, Ex-Pat, Invert, Homophile, Homestead.” (Supplied photo.)

Two that attracted my attention in my first – all too rushed – sweep through the gallery were Nathan Lareau’s simple yet exquisitely complex “Ditch Lily Drawing” and Anna Campbell’s complex yet exquisitely simple “Chosen Family, Chosen Name, Separatist, Safe Space, Ex-Pat, Invert, Homophile, Homestead”.


For “Ditch Lily Drawing,” Lareau uses the clean, simple lines of dried daylily stalks in all-white mosaic that, when carefully illuminated by shadow-inducing spotlights, ceases to be individual objects from nature and becomes a single, textured objets d’art which somehow reminds one of both Michigan’s cornfields in winter and some distant, cold, almost barren, otherworld.


Lareau, born and raised in rural Michigan where the lifecycle of daylilies are familiar, studied and now teaches at Aquinas College. In his artist’s statement he says: “My background in percussion has cultivated a fascination for rhythm and pattern and leads me to seek out examples of such in the physical world. The daylily possesses these elements not only through its time-measuring name, but also the visual rhythm of its growth.”


Campbell’s mixed media installation “Chosen Family, Chosen Name, Separatist, Safe Space, Ex-Pat, Invert, Homophile, Homestead,” in contrast, uses a variety of seemingly incongruent if not conflicting objects – a polished tabletop with a seemingly random spread of small glasses, a piece of children’s clothing hanging lifeless, roped gateways usually associated with entry or rejection at a nightclub.


Campbell, who is new to Grand Rapids and teaches art and design at Grand Valley State University, says in her artist’s statement that “this work is an assemblage of diverse strategies and terms that LGBT and other marginalized people have used over generations to mark the labor of making and naming home.”


My first impression, at first glance, sees the focal point as the glasses: most are grouped together or at least in some pattern (a family, or group, at home?), while several are separate, either seeking entry to the whole or willingly accepting a different path.


I look forward to spending more time with the work, at leisure, after ArtPrize’s run and finding other nuances.


— K.D. Norris


What’s Next:

Artist in Conversation talks on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 6 p.m. with Ron Pederson and Campbell; Sunday, Oct. 23, at 2 p.m. with Darlene Kaczmarczyk and Lareau; and Sunday, Oct. 30 at p.m. with Norwood Viviano and Joyce Recker. There will be a gallery walk and talk Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. with Becherer.


ArtPrize entry comprising 7.3 million dots makes Top 100 list


Pennsylvania-based pointillism artist Brian Delozier made the Top 100 for his 2-D ArtPrize Eight entry “Dot Nation” — a 3-by-17-foot banner that consists of 7.3 million colorful dots. The piece took 1,600 hours over the course of eight months to complete. You can see the piece at 99 Monroe Ave. NW.

More than 180,000 votes were cast in the first seven days of ArtPrize Eight.

“I am thrilled to be competing in ArtPrize this year and overjoyed to make the Top 100,” said Delozier. “Dot Nation is an ode to the unexpected events that shape our lives. This piece is my biggest accomplishment to date and no words or pictures can describe how challenging yet rewarding a process it was creating Dot Nation.”


Delozier has limited mobility due to a serious accident that left him paralyzed in 2002. Several years after Delozier’s accident, he went to Hawaii where he discovered pointillism and his passion for creating dots. Since then, Delozier has created dot art that consists of hundreds of thousands of dots, with some of his pictures having more than 600,000 individual dots.



“Instead of allowing my injury to become a barrier between me and pursuing art, I have used it to fuel my passion,” said Delozier. “I’ve met so many amazing people this first week of ArtPrize, and I hope that people who see Dot Nation will become inspired to follow their passions and become excited about art.”


“We are truly honored to have Brian’s work on display at 99 Monroe for this year’s competition,” said Jessica Geerling, Director of Marketing for Vision Real Estate Investment. “Brian has a unique story that I think a lot of people can connect with, and we encourage everyone to stop by 99 Monroe to view this incredible piece and learn about Brian’s story.”brians-dots
“Dot Nation” will be displayed at 99 Monroe Ave. NW through Oct. 9. Voting ends Saturday, Oct. 1 and his ArtPrize vote code is 62794. Delozier’s work has appeared in art competitions across the country. For more information about Delozier and his work, visit briansdots.com or facebook.com/briansdots


About Brian’s Dots

Brian Delozier, owner and founder of Brian’s Dots, is dedicated to spreading his love for art throughout the world. Brian discovered his passion for pointillism after a serious ski accident in 2002 that left him with limited mobility. Today, Brian’s Dots has appeared in art festivals across the country including the Parallax Art Fair in Manhattan, the Uptown Art Fair in Minneapolis and the Northern Tampa Art Festival. To learn more about Brian’s journey, visit briansdots.com.



The Weekend Edition: Things to do for Sept. 29 – Oct. 2

logosCommunity Finds

South Kent Community Expo takes place from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1, at the East Kentwood High School, 6230 Kalamazoo Ave. SE. More than 80 vendors are expected to be at featuring an array of services and products available in Kentwood, Wyoming, Gaines Township and Cutlerville. There will be fire and rescue demonstrations along with cultural events hosted by the Kentwood Public Schools. The event is free to the public. For more information, click here.


ArtPrize 2016


The Round 1 voting for Artprize ends at 11:59 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, with the top five entries in each of the four categories – two-dimensional, three-dimensional, time-based, and installation – moving on to the Round 2 voting which starts at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2, which is the day the top twenty will be announced.  Those interested in learning more about the juror’s selections can do so through the Critical Discourse program at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, at the ArtPrize HUB, 41 Sheldon Blvd. SE. The ArtPrize Eight Grand Prize Jurors—including Michelle Grabner, artist and professor at School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Paul Ha, director at the MIT List Visual Arts Center; and Eric Shiner, senior vice president at Sotheby’s—also will discus the current and future state of contemporary art exhibitions.


29f15603-eaa1-4d98-be9808744781ce84_featureimageThe Burns Edition

Actor’s Theatre gets its season underway with Ann Washubrn’s play “Mr. Burns, A Post Electric Play.” After the collapse of civilization, a group of survivors share a campfire and being to piece together the plot of The Simpsons’ episode “Cape Feare.” Explore how pop culture becomes the myths and legends from which new forms of performance are created. The show runs this weekend and next at Grand Rapids Community College’s Spectrum Theater, 160 Fountain St. NE. All shows are 8 p.m. Thursday – Saturday. Tickets are $22 – $28. For more information, visit actorstheatregrandrapids.org.


16974807-standardThe Greatest Show on Earth

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus returns to the Van Andel Arena with a show that promises to be “extreme.” Performances includes the Human Cannoball, high wire act The Daring Danguir Troupe, Taba and his Exotic Big Cats, The Mighty Ibarra and the Wheel of Steel and amazing trampoline and bicycle feats from The Incredible Concrete Jungle. Oh, and of course there will be plenty of clowns. Shows are 7 p.m. Thursday – Saturday, Sept. 29 – Oct. 1; 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1; and 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2. Tickets start at $12. For more information, visit, vanandelarena.com.


cinderella6602If the shoe fits

Broadway Grand Rapids currently presents Rogers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella” through Sunday at DeVos Performance Hall. The timeless classic features some of the most recognizable Broadway tunes such as “In My Own Little Corner,” “Impossible/It’s Possible” and “Ten Minutes Ago.” Show times are 7:30 p.m. Thursday – Saturday, Sept. 29 – Oct. 1; 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1; and 1 and 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2. For more information, visit broadwaygrandrapids.com.


Is ArtPrize the New Christmas?

Jess McDonald at Rockwell Republic says ArtPrize is now the busiest season of the year. (Photo reprinted by permission from Engine and Matt Gryczan. All copyrights reserved.)
Jess McDonald at Rockwell Republic says ArtPrize is now the busiest season of the year.

By Matt Gryczan


Downtown Grand Rapids restauranteurs say that ArtPrize has eclipsed Christmas as the busiest season for walk-in traffic — and that can be a double-edged sword for a restaurant that isn’t prepared for the people crush.


But the boost in patronage is a welcomed problem, particularly since it smooths out the sometimes feast-or-famine nature of serving food downtown. Another interesting note: the number of new faces entering your door can depend on if there’s a hot entry nearby.


“This is the biggest three weeks of the year for us, hands down,” said Jess McDonald, day manager of the Rockwell half of Rockwell Republic at 45 S. Division Ave. “ArtPrize helps to bring in all sorts of new clients.”


The colorful chalkboard on the sidewalk at Rockwell Republic said it all: “ArtPrize 2016 — Stop in for food & Art.” There was a steady flow of patrons for the arts and dining on Thursday morning, some who lingered to savor Corrine Hudson’s entry in oils, “Abstract Landscape.”


“Do you have any more art?” one visitor asked. There was, on the Republic side of the business that was closed for serving lunch, but open for people to saunter through its temporary gallery of 6 other artworks.


“In all honesty, the traffic of new people can depend on where the pieces are located,” Jess said. “Popular pieces obviously bring in more people.”


San Chez Bistro around the corner from Rockwell Republic on Fulton Street steels its waitstaff for the three-week event where “you work your bones to the core,” said proprietor Cindy Schneider. “ArtPrize can make or break a restaurant for the year, especially if you’re not ready for waves of people. The food has to be tasty, hot and on-time to the table.”


During the 8-year run of ArtPrize, she’s seen two restaurants struggle near her location at 38 W. Fulton St. as they tried to ride the event’s wave. They both opened shortly before ArtPrize and closed only a few weeks later.


“They didn’t show well,” Cindy said. “They were slammed by the crowds, and people didn’t have the type of experience you need to bring them back again. The time to open is just after ArtPrize, and take the year to get ready.”


Like Rockwell Republic, San Chez sees more walk-in traffic during ArtPrize than Christmas or any other season of the year now.


It’s uncertain if ArtPrize trumps Christmas as the busiest season, depending on how you define the season and include outside events such as holiday parties, said Hillary Smith, general manager of Bistro Bella Vita at 44 Grandville Ave. SW, “but it’s 100% certain that ArtPrize is a very important time for us.”


She said the restaurant starts to organize its waitstaff starting in July to make sure everything is up to snuff when ArtPrize starts. “We don’t necessarily need to add staff, because we have a big staff here anyway, but we do need to be organized.”


Story and photo printed with permission from Engine and Matthew Gryczan. All copyrights reserved.



The Weekend Edition: Things to do for Sept. 22 – 25

Joanne Bailey-Boorsma



It might be a little cloudy this weekend, but that should not stop  anyone from venturing out. And there is plenty to do with ArtPrize rolling in this week.


So to help fill your weekend calendar, here are just a few things we spotted that we thought you might enjoy:


ARTPRIZECP15Thursday, Sept. 22: ArtPrize kicked off on Wednesday and you have until Oct. 9 to see it all. The radically open international art competition is mostly located in downtown Grand Rapids and is walkable. New are eight ArtPrize Hubs serving as welcoming centers and voter registration. The hubs are Center City Hub @ GRAM, 101 Monroe Center NW; Heartside Hub @ UICA, 2 W. Fulton St.; Hillside Hub @ Women’s City Club, 254 E. Fulton St.; Rumsey Street Hub @SiTE:LAB, 333 Rumsey St. SW; Monroe North Hub @ DeVos Place, 303 Monroe Ave. NW; Westside Hub @ the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, 303 Pearl St. NW; Meijer Gardens Hub, 1000 E. Beltline NE; and the ArtPrize Hub/Headquarters at 41 Sheldon Blvd SE.

Round one voting ends Oct 1 with the final 20 announced Oct. 2. (Note only two entries per venue will be allowed to advance to the top 20.) Round 2 voting ends Oct. 6 with the winners announced Oct. 7. For more information, visit artprize.org.



Friday, Sept. 23: The Grand Rapids Symphony kicks off its Pops season with the concert “The Piano Men,” featuring pianist Jim Witter. The concert, which is at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at DeVos Performance Hall, 303 Monroe Ave. NW, will feature some of the most popular hits of Billy Joel and Elton John accompanied by a multi-media musical journey. Tickets are $90 – $15. For more information, visit grsymphony.org.


Courtesy of @grcivictheatre instagram
Courtesy of @grcivictheatre instagram

Saturday, Sept. 24: David Lindsay-Abairee’s play “Good People,” about the struggles of the lower middle class, wraps up its run at Grand Rapids Civic Theatre this weekend. Showtime for tonight is at 7:30 p.m. at Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, 30 N. Division Ave. The last show is Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $28 – $16. For more, check out the review by Susanne Ablaitis or visit grtc.org.


Of you can head over to Caledonia for the Harvest Festival from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Hosted by the Caledonia Area Chamber of Commerce, this family-friendly event includes a hayride, pumpkin decorating, a hay maze, face painting, games, music, an antique tractor display, food samples from area restaurants and a baked goods sale by the Caledonia Women’s Club.  There is also a Scarecrow Contest. For more information, visit www.caledoniachamber.com/harvestfestival.


Sunday, Sept. 25: Loren Barrigar and Mark Mazengarb bring their “One to One” tour to Grand Rapids Wealthy Theater, 1110 Wealthy St. SE. Barrigar and Mazengarb share a musical chemistry and stage presence seldom found around musicians. The duo’s repertoire constants of original and arranged music of guitar instrumentals and vocal duets. They have been influenced by Americana, Jazz, Country Western, and Classical music. The two perform at 7:30 p.m. For more information, visit Wealthy Theatre’s website.


BONUS EVENT: Dorr’s New Salem Corn Maze will be hosting its annual Wusrt Festival Ever this weekend with lots of music and fun. This Friday is the country/southern bands No One’s Home, Double Barrel and Dani Jamerson. Saturday, gates open at 11 a.m. with a host of activities such as the Human Hamster Ball Race and live music starting at 4 p.m. The Outer Vibe caps off the two-day event with a performance from 9:30 p.m. to dusk. Tickets are $5/Friday and $10/Saturday. Also all the haunted attractions start that weekend as well. For more information, visit www.newsalemcornmaze.com.

UICA expands its ArtPrize offerings to the Grand Rapids Ballet

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Louise “Quizi” Chen creates an ArtPrize entry at Grand Rapids Ballet’s Ellsworth building.

The Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts’ (UICA) ArtPrize Eight exhibition extends beyond the gallery walls. This year, UICA’s exhibition features a satellite site, located on the exterior walls of the Grand Rapids Ballet Company building at 341 Ellsworth Ave. SW.


This summer, UICA commissioned the Detroit-based artist Louise “Ouizi” Chen to create a sprawling public mural as part of its ongoing public art initiative, the Exit Space Project. This mural is an official ArtPrize Eight entry (Vote Code: 63983), and a permanent addition to Grand Rapids’ public art collection. ArtPrize goers can watch Chen work at the mural site as she finishes the final touches on her recent public work. Chen will be working at the site during ArtPrize, Sept. 27 – Oct. 3.


UICA, Michigan’s largest contemporary arts center, is host to the Exit Space Project, a dynamic series of art installations investigating ideas, images, and conversation that are conveyed by contemporary artists working in public spaces. The first volume of the Exit Space Project featured public works and street artists from the Midwest who installed work in a public-facing but protected space in UICA’s building facing Fulton St. The second wave of the Exit Space Project highlights and continues to support local and regional artists on buildings and structures throughout the city.


This UICA initiative aims to increase Grand Rapids’ vibrancy, build the sense of creative place for our residents and visitors, and advance the city’s identity as a growing collaborative ecosystem that nurtures business, technology, art, and design. The Exit Space Project was first introduced to Grand Rapids by local artists Erwin Erkfitz and Brandon Alman, who continue to work with UICA to implement public artworks.

Legacy Trust Award Collection artists showcase their work at DeVos Place during ArtPrize

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The 2016 winners of the Legacy Trust Award Collection will showcase their artwork at DeVos Place during ArtPrize 2016.


Installation has begun for Josh Andrus, Paula Clark, Debra Dieppe and Hope Network Neuro Rehabilitation, who received top honors in the seventh annual LTAC competition for adult artists with disabilities. Sponsored each year by Legacy Trust, LTAC is a mini-art competition that supports four adult artists with disabilities by providing a cash prize, along with venue and marketing support to display their art in ArtPrize.


This year, 101 artists from Ada to Zeeland and the Upper Peninsula submitted artwork to the LTAC competition. In addition to two days of public voting at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, LTAC held online voting, which drew votes from throughout Michigan, across the U.S. and from other countries. Prizes and sponsorships were awarded to the two top vote-getters as well as one winner chosen by a panel of celebrity judges and one winner selected to receive the Lillian Perry Walker award.


This year’s Legacy Trust Award Collection will feature:

  • Andrus’s piece, “Cattails and Irises,” is an impressionistic acrylic painting inspired by nature walks and the flora found in his backyard. Andrus often turns to nature to unleash his creative spirit, which is apparent in many of his works. Andrus won one of the public votes.
  • Clark’s “Autumn Hues” is an abstract piece that utilizes acrylic paints in a sculptural and expressionistic way to form a fall landscape. Inspired by the rich hues found in the fall season, Clark expressed her love of nature through the piece. Clark received the celebrity judge award.
  • Dieppe’s “She Was Made of Magic That Only I Could See” is a mixed-media piece that expresses the importance of love in finding self-peace. Dieppe drew on personal traumas that have shaped her life to develop the hidden, but significant, imagery found throughout the piece. Dieppe won the Lillian Perry Walker Award, which is chosen by the LTAC steering committee.
  • is a 3-D exhibition of 28 paper masks, each created by a unique artist, that expresses how brain injury affected each artist or how they triumphed over brain injury. The piece is part of a national project to spread the word on the prevalence of brain injury. Hope Network also won the public vote.


“We continue to be inspired by the creativity each artist in the LTAC competition brings,” said Mary Ann Sabo, board chair of LTAC Arts, the nonprofit that supports the Legacy Trust Awards Collection. “The four winners truly encompass the spirit of LTAC and are wonderful representatives for the larger disabled community.”


This year’s celebrity judges included Richard App, owner of Richard App Gallery, Rosalynn Bliss, Grand Rapids mayor, Meegan Holland, special projects manager for Gov. Rick Snyder, Chris Smit, executive director of DisArt and David Thinger, artist and LTAC 2015 winner.


Legacy Trust will work with each of the four artists to market their entries, secure media coverage prior to and during ArtPrize 2016 and support their entries into the world’s largest art competition.  ArtPrize is slated for Sept. 21 through Oct. 19.

“Art at the Market” will showcase local artists and WMCAT art activities

Saugatuck Center for the Arts Artist in Residence Sofia Ramirez Hernandez is the featured artist in the Creativity Revealed program this month.
Saugatuck Center for the Arts Artist in Residence Sofia Ramirez Hernandez is one of the artist.

The Southeast Area Farmers’ Market hosts “Art at the Market” during market hours, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17 at Martin Luther King Jr. Park, 900 Fuller Ave. SE.  The date was chosen to coincide with ArtPrize as this event is not always accessible to artists from the Market’s neighborhoods or neighbors living nearby. Also, the neighborhood has many accomplished artists in its midst. Art at The Market will provide them an opportunity to showcase their talents, inspire their neighbors and share any messages that their art expresses. Market managers, Our Kitchen Table (OKT) has engaged artist and former director of Heartside Art Gallery, Sarah Scott, to organize the event.


WMCAT mobile printmaking! The Bandit Zine button-maker!


The market’s community partner in the event, The West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology, will set up its mobile printmaking station. Professor George Eberhard designed a pro-community image that can be printed on fabric. Market patrons can bring their own blank shirt or fabric to be printed-on or buy a blank shirt on-site. They can also make their own buttons, courtesy of The Bandit Zine, a local zine accepting works of all different mediums from across the world focusing on social-justice issues. Bandit Zine will also vend local body-positive zines and wears.


Featured artists include:


Derrick “Vito” Hollowell has had work on exhibit at Hopcat, Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, Richard App Gallery, his gallery, the L Loft and New York City’s MOMA. Vito will display original paintings and prints.


Sofia Ramirez-Hernandez, Saugatuck Center for the Arts 2016 Artist in Residence, will show framed drawings from her #SofiaDrawsEveryDay project that documents her will to fight her own tendencies and the good times, too.


Magnus Anyanwu, a Heartside Gallery artist, will display his Third-eye paintings. Anyanwu’s influences include Japanese anime, Sailor Jerry tattoos and his industrial design studies at Kendall Collage of Art and Design.


art-at-the-market-8x5Chasity Khanyi Moore, doula and healing arts practitioner of Love and Light Healing, will vend her wrapped crystals and healing body salves and oils.


Rokhaya Ndao, Motherland Beauties, will showcase handmade jewelry and bags. Motherland Beauties offers African art and accessories, promotes African art and culture and funds women’s projects in Senegal, West Africa.


Claire Fisher, artist/musician, will show her vibrant, whimsical folk art that comments on icons of modern life and spirituality.


Eddie Killowatts, musician/artist, will show his pencil drawings and shadow boxes – and play a couple sets on guitar for the event. Killowatts currently plays bass for local Latin-rock band, Cabildo.


The Southeast Area Farmers’ Market welcomes patrons using Bridge cards (SNAP), WIC Project Fresh, Cash Value Benefits, Summer EBT, Double Up Food Bucks and debit card.

ArtPrize sees an increase in artists, venues for 2016 event

More than 2,100 artists have registered for ArtPrize Eight.
More than 2,100 artists have registered for ArtPrize Eight.

With artist registration officially closed, ArtPrize has announced a huge increase in both artists and venues for the upcoming event set for Sept. 21 – Oct. 9.


About 2,124 artists or artist teams have registered about 2,008 entries in hopes of competing for a combination of public vote and juried awards totaling $500,000 this fall. That is about 475 more than last year’s number of artists, which totaled around 1,649.


Also the number of venues have increased by 20 over last year coming in at 182 venues for the 2016 event. Last year, there was a 162 venues that participated. The 182 number includes 38 new spaces within the three-square-mile jurisdiction of downtown Grand Rapids. Venue registration closed April 7.


The numbers for 2016 do not reflect the final tally as registered artists and venues have until June 23 to connect.


We took a quick look at those that have been matched noting there are several from the Kentwood and Wyoming areas such as dancer Morgan Fraiser of Wyoming, who will be presenting a time-based piece at the newly reopened Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, 303 Pearl St. NW; and James Schneider, of Kentwood, who will have his piece “Systems of Reception” at DeVos Place Convention Center, 33 Monroe Ave. NW.


To a view a continuously updated list of connected entries, visit artprize.org/entries.


ArtPrize is one of the largest art competitions in the world. More than $500,000 are awarded out with the largest prizes being for the grand prize winner in the public vote, which receives $200,000 and the juried grand prize winner which receives $200,000. Cash awards are also given in the categories of two-dimensional, three-dimensional, installation and time-based. For more information about ArtPrize, visit www.artprize.org.

2015 Year In Review – City of Wyoming

Pinery Park Sign WyomingAnother year has come and gone. Here at Wyoming-Kentwood NOW, we take a look back at the year that was with some of our favorite, and most memorable, stories from here in Wyoming.

Wyoming Deputy Manager Receives Heartfelt Farewell – January

After almost 15 years on the job, former Wyoming Deputy City Manager Barbara Van Duren retired. Her retirement was celebrated at the Wyoming Public Library to make room for all the people in attendance! 28th West, the re-development of 28th street, was a project close to Barbara’s heart. In the words of Barbara Van Duren, “28th streets needs a facelift.”

One Wyoming 1 on 1 mentors make a difference – January

One Wyoming 1 on 1 offers mentors the opportunity to make a difference in children’s lives. Not only that, but the children will make just as big–if not bigger–of an impact on you! Deb Havens shares her story on mentoring Amber and the bond they’ve created.

Wyoming Public Safety Honors Top Employees – February

The Wyoming Department of Public Safety recognized their top employees. Among those honored was Jason Caster for Officer of the year, Brian Illbrink as Firefighter of the Year, Terra Wesseldyk as Civilian of the Year, and Lt. Kirt Zuiderveen received the Chief’s Award of Professional Excellence.

High School March Madness
Wyoming and Kentwood Area Basketball Teams Feel the Magic of March – March
Survive and Advance: Two Wyoming-Kentwood Area Teams Still Left – March

March is a special time for basketball lovers of all ages! The MHSAA playoffs kicked into full gear with multiple schools from the Wyoming area vying for a State Championship.

Wyoming’s Landscape Sees Positive Changes – May

Harriet Sturim, a proud Wyoming homeowner since 1977, highlights some new and positive building in the city. From the new Veterans Clinic in Metro Village to the new businesses on 28th and 36th street, the City of Wyoming is continuing the city’s growth of vision and progress.

Wyoming’s Oldest Home, ‘Rogers Mansion,’ Up for Sale – June

Wyoming’s, and most like Kent County’s, oldest home was put up for sale in 2015. For the first time in 179 years, the ‘Rogers Mansion’ was put on the market for someone outside the Rogers family. The house comes with the original skeleton key to unlock the front door. History is all around us.

GM Bringing New Jobs
General Motors announces 300 new jobs and a $119 million dollar expansion at Wyoming Plant – June
GM Set to Invest 43 Million into Wyoming Plant – December

General Motors used 2015 to invest in their Burton location with capital and full-time job opportunities. $119 million and 300 jobs were announced in June and another $43 million 55 new jobs were announced later in December! A reinvestment in West Michigan manufacturing is sometime to get excited about.

Wyoming Memorial Day Ceremony in Pictures – June

Citizen Journalist Harriet Sturim took pictures to capture Wyoming’s Memorial Day celebration at its core.

New Business Construction in Wyoming – September

Wyoming continues to add new businesses to the area. Three new businesses found a home at the corner of Clyde Park and 44th Street. A four-story WoodSpring Hotel, a Fox Powersports, and a J&H Mobil Station with a Tim Horton’s right next-door broke in the dirt.

Wyoming Residents in ArtPrize
Wyoming, Michigan Artist’s ArtPrize Entry Shines Light on Peers – September
Wyoming, Mich. ArtPrize Artist Explores Interpretation of Structures – October
ArtPrize Entry by Wyoming, Mich. Artist Makes the Final 20 – October

Artist’s from right here in Wyoming, Michigan entered their work into ArtPrize 7. One of the artists found themselves in the top 20!

Pinery Park Little League
Time is Running Out on Pinery Park Little League – September
Pinery Park Little League on the Right Track – October

The Pinery Park Little League was in troubled water as they risked losing their contract to the fields at Pinery Park with the Wyoming City Council due to a lack of transparency and losing their 501(c)(3) status with the IRS. Fortunately, the league was able to get it together but will need to run more efficiently going forward.

Wyoming’s New ‘Sinking Fund’ Will Keep School Infrastructure Afloat – November

Wyoming Public Schools found themselves on the winning side after election day with the passing of a sinking fund to help the school. The sinking fund works a little differently from a bond issue and will end up raising over $400,000 per year with little, if any, increase to Wyoming tax payers.

The Great Candy Cane Hunt – December

The Great Candy Cane Hunt had another successful season with Santa being delivered by the fire department and then leading the children on a candy cane hunt throughout Pinery Park. The event continued at the Wyoming Senior Center with “life-size” jenga and connect four that families could enjoy!

Interview With An ArtPrize Finalist: Ann and Steve Loveless

Northwood Awakening by Ann and Steve Loveless
Northwood Awakening by Ann and Steve Loveless
Steve Loveless took time to talk about 'Northwood Awakening'
Steve Loveless took time to talk about ‘Northwood Awakening’

Round 1 of the ArtPrize Seven popular vote is out and there are 20 finalists hoping their piece snags the top prize!

Steve Loveless and his wife Ann took some time to talk to Wyoming Now Kentwood Now about their piece Northwood Awakening and the idea on photography as realism.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your piece you have here at ArtPrize.

I’m Steve Loveless from Frankfurt, Michigan. I’m here with my wife Ann Loveless at the Gerald R. Ford Museum with our entry entitled Northwood Awakening. It is a photofiber combination piece. It’s a photograph at one end of the composition and a textile at the opposite end.

What was the inspiration for your piece?

It’s a scene depicting the springtime woods, trillium, and flowers in Benzie County along M22. We like to have people look at our piece and feel like they could be there. It gives them a sense of placement and a sense of belonging in a specific location.

Ann utilizes textiles to complete the piece
Ann utilizes textiles to complete the piece

Your piece starts as a photograph on one end. Talk a little bit about that.

Our piece also is communicating the concept of the realism of photography – the perceived realism of photography versus the interpretation of textile. So, as you view the quilt from one end to the other, it gradually transforms. Most people can’t even really tell the difference from the photography into the textile because it’s such a gradual transformation. The transformation is such that you question where does one end and where does one begin?

For myself, I ask the question, is there a difference? A difference where one ends and one begins? Because, photography arguably is a very interpretive medium in the first place, but we’re all taught to think of photography as realism.

I think you must be a little proud of your wife as she handles the crowd while you talk to us, talk a little bit about her.

I’m very proud of her. This is actually Ann’s fourth year exhibiting at ArtPrize. Two years ago, in 2013, she was the first place public vote recipient with her textile ‘Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore.’ We’re a great team and we enjoy sharing our work with the ArtPrize community!

Editor’s Note – The interview was held with Steve Loveless as his wife Ann talked to the ArtPrize crowd about their work.

Northwood Awakening can be seen at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. You can vote for Northwood Awakening here.

ArtPrize Entry by Wyoming, Mich. Artist Makes the Final 20

035504-000005Inspired by nature, people and the relationships that they share, Craig Merchant creates art in multiple mediums, expressionistic color and juxtaposition of scale.

Located in a shallow pond on the west bank of the Grand River, Merchant’s time-based ArtPrize entry, “Movement” comprises several “hands” fashioned of plastic gloves that are installed floating on the water. Inside each hand is a small mechanism that allows it to move and turn freely through space. Each hand is illuminated from within, providing another interesting element.

“The rhythmic motion of the hands can be heard as they move, creating a mesmerizing and hypnotic sound,” said Merchant. “It makes each viewer’s experience unique.”

Although the piece may take on a variety of interpretations, Merchant said that it was designed to represent a movement: A group of people working together to advance their shared political, social or artistic ideas. His artist statement includes a quote by Helen Keller: “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”

“I hope the viewer is inspired to translate the artwork into their own life and current events in our society,” Merchant said.

The 28-year-old artist grew up in a secluded wooded environment and learned early on that all creatures play an important role. These early encounters may be seen in his artwork through large-scale depictions of insects, frogs and fish.

“I continued to expand on this idea by representing the relationships that are shared between man and the environment,” Merchant’s artist statement continued. “I often use subjective colors and distortion of scale to present an ordinary object in a unique way. It is my goal to connect with the viewer and create a kind of internal disturbance so that they are no longer viewing the art, they are experiencing the art.”035504-000001

This is Merchant’s fourth year participating in ArtPrize and every year has been rewarding in its own way, he said. “I have had the opportunity to meet some great people and have had many constructive conversations about art. ArtPrize provides a unique platform to display artwork that would not normally be presented to the public on such a large scale.”

A graduate of the University of Michigan with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree, Merchant currently lives in Grand Rapids. He studied printmaking and drawing, however his recent works include paintings, sculptures and installations. Merchant primarily exhibits in galleries throughout the state of Michigan and also has work on display in California as well as the United States Embassy in Botswana, Africa.


Wyoming, Mich. ArtPrize Artist Explores Interpretation of Structures

Karin Nelson’s 2015 ArtPrize Entry, ‘Red Awnings, McKay Tower’

Full-time artist, Karin Nelson, paints in acrylics. For the last couple of years, Nelson’s self-taught path has steered her to explore the interpretation of structures. It’s an addiction, she said.

Whether it’s stately city buildings or aged and weathered barns, Nelson is drawn to the masculine lines of manmade landmarks, which symbolize strength and protection. Her 2015 ArtPrize entry, ‘Red Awnings, McKay Tower,’ may be seen at the Women’s City Club, 254 East Fulton.

“This piece began with a wash of burnt umber, which I purposely allowed to show through in various areas, depicting the golden effects of sunlight,” Nelson said. “The contrasting edge where the shaded side of the building meets the sunlit side of the building is an oft-repeated theme in my paintings of both urban and rural structures.”

The acrylic-on-gallery-wrapped-canvas painting measures 40″H x 30″W.

Over 200 of Nelson’s paintings reside in public, corporate and private collections. She has received multiple awards, been accepted into many juried exhibitions, and has had multiple appearances on television, radio and press. She won Tulip Time’s 2014 Poster Contest. The owner of Lake Effect Gallery, Holland, Mich. described her winning piece, ‘Resilience,’ as “quite a departure from the posters of the past – very dramatic, no bright rainbow colors.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 11.38.47 PMNelson lives in Wyoming, Mich. with her husband of 38 years. They have three grown children, a son-in-law and two granddaughters.

See more of her work here. Nelson welcomes visitors to her home gallery/studio by appointment. Call 616.723.6600.

Wyoming, Michigan Artist’s ArtPrize Entry Shines Light on Peers

996027_249415478538872_1008400190_nBorn with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), 25-year-old Ty Dykema uses an electric wheelchair to get around. His activities may be restricted, but that doesn’t stop him from creating bold, colorful portraits. Physically unable to use a paintbrush, Dykema uses a Wacom tablet and ArtRage Studios painting and drawing software to create his works of art.

“Art is my purpose in life, and I have been actively creating for as long as I can remember,” Dykema said.

Dykema’s ArtPrize entry, “We Can’t Walk; So What!?” comprises three portraits printed on high-quality photo paper from ProLab Express and custom-framed for ArtPrize by Merizon Studios. Each framed piece measures 16″W x 20″H.

Born and raised in Wyoming, Michigan, Dykema thought the most appropriate project to enter would be a series of stylized portrait paintings of some of his peers.

“Each subject of the paintings uses a wheelchair in everyday life because they have SMA,” Dykema said. “They are important members of their communities and are exceptional in their respective crafts.”

Adam Davis is a hip-hop DJ from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Tess Hazenberg is 1509307_505310736282677_6639163039909796673_nan MSU graduate currently doing social work in North Carolina. And Shane Burcaw is the CEO of the non-profit organization, Laughing At My Nightmare based out of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

“The theme of this project is simple—pay respects to and shine some much-deserved light on my people while showing the world what we CAN do, not just what we’re limited to,” said Dykema.

See Dykema’s ArtPrize entry at The B.O.B.  Here are the links to his ArtPrize page and Facebook page.

ArtPrize Releases Mobile App for its Seventh Edition

ArtPrize SevenArtPrize, the radically open international art competition decided by public vote and expert jury, today launched the ArtPrize Seven mobile app, developed in partnership with Atomic Object for both iOS and Android. Combined with a streamlined and newly updated website, the ArtPrize suite of technology-based audience engagement tools will deliver a seamless user experience, with the voting module as its centerpiece. The ArtPrize Seven mobile app is now available for download via the Apple and Google Play stores, allowing visitors to begin planning their experience for the 19-day event.

The intersection of art and technology is central to the way that ArtPrize was founded and continues to run to this day, powering the public vote and the artist-venue connections process, as well as influencing the way that artists make and share their work. Since the close of the 2014 event, ArtPrize has worked to refine both the mobile app and website, ushering in a sleeker, leaner design and surfacing the most sought-after content, features and functionality on both platforms.

ArtPrize APPArtPrize APP2“This year we really focused on presenting our app and website users with a more streamlined experience, not only in terms of aesthetics but in functionality,” noted Jonathan Hunsberger, ArtPrize Director of Technology. “Our hope is that these tools will become a focal point for visitors throughout the event, enhancing and informing their ArtPrize journey.”

The popular List feature returns to the ArtPrize mobile app and artprize.org, allowing everyone to browse the 1,550 artist entries competing in ArtPrize Seven and create unlimited lists of the artwork that they most want to see. Lists are easily shared via social media, text message and email, and ArtPrize-goers can browse and follow Lists that have been made available to the public. The mobile app easily generates detailed walking directions between venues, encouraging visitors to explore more of the event and form their own experiences off the beaten path.

Also returning to the mobile app are the ArtPrize event and blog integrations, keeping visitors in the know about what’s happening around the event. The continuation of the interactive map feature at artprize.org and within the mobile app gives greater context to the location of venues, events, restaurants and brewpubs that are in their vicinity. The mobile app will be continuously updated throughout the 19-day event, providing users with real-time useful information to plan their visit.

And of course the public will cast their votes, and ultimately decide the winners of $250,000 in prizes, via the mobile app, at artprize.org, and by text message (SMS). Voters will be able to register while downtown via the mobile app, skipping the lines at designated voting sites — and then cast their votes either from within the event boundaries or wherever their day may lead them.

ArtPrize Seven will take place from September 23 to October 11, 2015 when three square miles of downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan will become an open playing field where everyone can join the conversation about art, and where the public decides the winners’ circle.

New Founders Beer sends Proceeds to ArtPrize

Founders 2Founders Brewing Co. today announced it would introduce Spectra Trifecta, brewed in the traditional Kolsch style, this September. Proceeds from the sale of this new beer will benefit ArtPrize, the world’s largest art competition that takes place annually in Grand Rapids, Mich. Spectra Trifecta will be sold in 12 oz. bottles in Michigan, Wisconsin, greater New York City and greater Chicago with a suggested retail price of $9.99 per 6-pack. Drafts will be sent throughout Founders’ distribution footprint.

In April 2013 the two organizations inked a deal that made Founders the official brewery of ArtPrize for the next five years. Last year’s release was Mosaic Promise, and the 2013 release was Inspired Artist Black IPA.

“I love coming up with the recipe for the ArtPrize beer every year,” said Founders Brewmaster Jeremy Kosmicki. “For the past two years, I’ve worked on our pilot system to develop an approachable, lower alcohol beer with tons of flavor. This year’s beer is brewed using a different fermentation process than what we usually use, and is made with some fun, nontraditional ingredients.”

Brewed in the traditional Kolsch style, which requires fermenting ale yeast at a colder temperature and gives the beer a clean finish without fruity yeast esters. This bright, golden beer is brewed with a trifecta of natural ingredients: earthy, floral and slightly sweet chamomile; a touch of citrusy lemongrass; and a hint of spicy fresh ginger. At 5.9% ABV and 20 IBUs, it’s delightfully refreshing.

Founders Family members were given the opportunity to submit their portfolios to find an artistic match for the Spectra Trifecta label, without knowing anything about the beer.

Alexis Brooke’s nature-inspired pen and ink drawings fit well with the character of this beer, so she was selected to create the label, with a focus on illustrating the beer’s special ingredients. Alexis is a Grand Rapids native and has been a Founders employee since fall 2014, working in the deli and on the catering team. She created this mixed media piece with markers, ink and watercolors.

Proceeds from the sale of Spectra Trifecta will support the future programming of the ArtPrize organization. ArtPrize is an international art competition, open to any artist and decided by public vote. Its mission is to promote critical dialogue and collaboration through new, creative ideas among a large and diverse population of people.

As an innovator in redefining what beer can be, Founders believes that experimentation is central to the human experience—whether one experiments with grains and hops or markers and watercolors—and that sharing one’s creation with the public is a brave act worth celebrating.

“Founders is now undoubtedly one of the finest craft brewers not only in Michigan but in the entire United States,” said Christian Gaines, executive director of ArtPrize. “We’re immeasurably proud to call Founders the official ArtPrize Brewery and share in the excitement of their new special release, Spectra Trifecta—a culmination of our partnership, built upon a mutual passion for our community and the creativity that resides within it.”

More than 400,000 people are expected to attend ArtPrize Seven this fall.

Spectra Trifecta will be available for a limited time starting on Sunday, September 13, in Michigan, Wisconsin, metro NYC and Chicagoland in bottles and across Founders’ entire distribution footprint on draft. It will be released in the brewery’s taproom on draft and in bottles starting on Monday, September 14. Spectra Trifecta will be featured at official ArtPrize events.

This year marks the seventh edition of ArtPrize, which will take place Sept. 23–Oct. 11, 2015. The Founders taproom will be a venue for the seventh year running.