Friday, October 16, 2015


As promised, I will reflect and write about our visit to the world's largest art competition. This was our second experience and ArtPrize's seventh year.

Last year we were there on the day the 2014 winners were announced and got to see the two previous winners at the HUB: 2013 Grand Prize WinnerReflections on Grand Prize 2012.

This time we walked into the large display room at the HUB and saw last year's winner of both public and juried vote, Intersections

This time we were there on the day after the the winners were anounced. The lines to get into the venues where the winners were displayed were impossibly long. I read about them online on the way home. Northwood Awakening won the 2D category, interestingly the same artist that won the public vote in 2013.

You can peruse all the 1500 entries  on the website. I just did and counted some 60 I remembered. I'm sure there were others, non-memorable ones.

I found the charcoal drawing that had Mike mesmerized it was so incredibly detailed, more like a photograph.

"Portrait of Kayla" by Brian Duey
I was fascinated by the meaningful message of the layered heart and the many words pointing to the process and possibility of finding true freedom from bondage.

"Breaking Free" by Jake Smit

My own photos are very random. I like this one because some of our friends are in it.

"Twins" stoneware by Naoto Nakata (dogs made up of multiple stacked dogs)

"Dark Eagle" digital art by Jennie Bethel
This one drew my attention because of the artist's statement.

I thought Son Stephan would like to see this next one.

"Lady of the Woods" a wood carving by Billy Meinke

Once again the artists' statement drew me in and the words throughout. (Guess I'm a word lover.)
The Shoemaker family created this 3-D piece to represent the family they became when they took in five siblings from Africa and a Russian exchange student.

"Grafted In" by The Shoecrew
Obviously, not everyone who enters expect to win. Many do so to share a message or simply because they enjoy creating.

"Blue Giraffe" by Jim Neal
This large free-standing 3-D piece was right across from one of the  murals that appear each year somewhere in the city. Last year we watched the lone artist at work in his lift-bucket putting the final touches to his enormous painting. This one, however, was created entirely with tape.

"The Grand Rapid Tape Drawing" by The Tape Art Crew

Sharing the day with friends definitely enhanced the experience. It would be great fun to make this an annual event, though I would try to plan our route more carefully and  NOT go on the last weekend. I've read since that the best time to go is on the first day to avoid the crowds and find parking. However, we would miss out on the many transformations of projects that are ongoing throughout the 21 days.

The last exhibit before we said goodbye to the delightful girls and their parents, was an interactive musical event, another one of those artistic forms subject to constant change.


The Bug said...

Looks like a great time!

Kimberly Hoyt said...

I really, REALLY want to go one of these years! But it sounds like one of those things best done over several days.

It was fun to see your glimpse into ArtPrize. Did you have a favorite piece this year?

"Breaking Free" -- wow! I guess it is so impactful because of all the reading we've done recently on this very topic. Was it painted? Pen and ink? Chalk? Pastels? Just wondered about the medium used. It looks like it might be on a piece of wood?

I thought the "Grafted In" was very powerful. And the story behind "Dark Eagle" enhanced my understanding of the piece. Thanks so much for sharing!

Kirsten said...

It was great to experience ArtPrize with you! I love hearing your perspective. Come again!