PHOTOS: BRYAN ESLER, ERIC TANK, JEREMY KUHN, JEFF WILKINSON
Have you ever been in a room where everyone else is just as excited or more to be right where you are? That’s what the ArtPrize awards party felt like!
Before the awards started the crowd was treated to the energy driven sound of Vox Vidorra (according to their website, the band’s name is a multilingual neologism and alliteration meaning ‘the voice of the life you’re meant to live’). Vox Vidorra played a funky blend of soul music that made us jump out of our seats and bust a move (the wine in my hand didn’t hurt either). The Civic Theatre was such a gorgeous setting for the award ceremony, the atmosphere was electric as the crowd buzzed while waiting for the ceremony to begin.
Rick DeVos made a grand entrance and stunned the crowd with a mind blowing fact — kids that were 6th graders for the first Artprize were now seniors in high school. Rick let audience think about that for a minute as he reflected on how each and every participant, artist, volunteer, and community member played a part in impacting those kids’ outlook on the community and art in general. He expressed how he has enjoyed how ArtPrize makes conversations happen – the buzz that happens around the “must see” pieces, what people like and don’t like. He mentioned that finding a way to include all members of the community in artistic discourse is what Artprize is all about, and that they truly succeeded this year.
Despite chilly temps and overcast sky, hundreds of visitors filled Rosa Parks Circle in downtown Grand Rapids Sunday asArtPrize Founder, Rick DeVos and Executive Director, Christian Gaines revealed the public’s top picks.
Consumers Energy kicked the event off with the announcement of the winner of the Consumers Energy SmartArt student ArtPrize Competion. The competition, in its third year, is a collaboration between Consumers Energy and Grand Rapids Public Schools. SmartArt stands for “Students Making Art with a Renewable Theme.” Students were asked to use renewable energy and energy efficiency as themes in their entries. Zoe Bultman received Best in Show from three judges. She received an Apple laptop computer and a $1,000 college scholarship from Consumers Energy.The first round of ArtPrize public voting came to an end at 11:59 PM, October 3rd. 30,994 visitors had cast 377,302 votes for art, elevating five artist entries from each category — 2-D, 3-D, Installation and Time-Based. These 20 ArtPrize Seven entries will now move on to the second round of voting, with the chance of winning over $200,000 in cash awards.
Gains and Rick DeVos took the stage to introduce the twenty artist entries selected from among 1,550 eligible works.Many of the artists and their supporters were present, and as the advancing artists were announced, spots of the crowd would burst into cheers and excited shouts of congratulations! The excitement was palpable, so much so that it was hard not to cheer even if you didn’t personally know any of the artists. Continue reading Go Forth and ArtPrize!→
ArtPrize welcomed its ArtFans to a special private reception on Monday night, held at Start Garden. This event was sponsored by Warner Norcross & Judd with delicious cuisine provided by The Catering Co. ArtFans represent the spirit of ArtPrize, where artists are celebrated, spectators are challenged, and curiosity is rewarded.
The ArtFan program was designed with the most passionate ArtPrize fans in mind, and over the past seven years it has grown into a group of forward-thinking philanthropists, art enthusiasts, and community leaders who value art and take action to ensure it continues to have a presence in the community.
ArtFans become personal stakeholders and ambassador for ArtPrize. They enjoy exclusive benefits with behind-the-scenes access and invitations to special events and programming—all designed to bring people closer to the creative participants and producers of ArtPrize. So much good going on with this group.
ArtPrize Seven kicked off its seventh year this week, with a beautiful day, a promising first weekend and record breaking numbers. When it’s ArtPrize season, Grand Rapids shines in all of her glory.
Our television friends have set up camp in their downtown venues, broadcasting live for our big little city. The city is alive with people. Restaurants are full. Streets are busy. There are food trucks. Live music. Familiar faces.
Parking is atrocious. Many are hitting The Rapid. Way to go, Grand Rapids!
Even the locals who seem “anti-ArtPrize” are quieter this year. Why? My observation is, strictly made through monitoring social media feeds, this year is presenting some seriously substantial art. There are noticeably less dragons and giant like creatures. There aren’t controversial pieces. It’s even rumored that even the BOB’s parking lot is devoid of it too — and the locals are missing it.
Has this new ArtPrize occurred because of the implementation of the Juried Grand Prize? Is this now two competitions now that both the Public Vote and the Juried Grand Prize award $200,000? or is it that the public voters’ view of “what’s considered art” has changed? It’s hard to say so early in to the competition, but it’s super fun to watch ArtPrize grow up.
SF photographers, Dianne Carroll Burdick was out and about on opening day. Here are some shots she captured and shared with us.
PHOTOS: DIANNE CAROLL BURDICK The party kicked into full swing quickly as the corporate sponsors gathered to celebrate the start of ArtPrize’s seventh year (#ArtPrize7). The HUB facility was a beehive of activity with music, laughter, and of course… ART! The evening was generously sponsored by Adtegrity and Comerica Bank.
From the parklet out front of the building that was installed in just four days to the “Double Crown” winner of both critic and viewer’s choice, Intersections, in its new semi-permanent home (actually a steel replica of the original, but who cares it’s still amazing/awe inspiring #steelcase) one thing is clear- the art is back in town!
Last Saturday, Stellafly hit Live Coverage, UICA‘s largest fundraiser of the year. Live Coverage presented some of the regions most talented artists creating live on site, performances by AOK and We Draw Together, and a terrace dance party thanks to Silent Disco.
Each year Live Coverage celebrates UICA’s role as a leader and supporter of contemporary arts, and features dozens of artists creating works for sale in both live and silent auctions. The event is the organizations’ centerpiece fundraising event. Each artist donates 70% of art sales to UICA, and 100% of all other proceeds go toward the programs and exhibitions of UICA year-round. Guests also had the opportunity to bid on completed art pieces, all while getting to know the artists behind the work, and enjoying food, drink, and entertainment. This year’s event brought in 350 attendees.
SF had a unique opportunity to sit chat with a couple of the participants, to learn more about their lives as working artists and the pieces they were creating for this year’s Live Coverage.
Michael Peoples, a conceptual artist who creates text-based work, likes playing with material like lemon juice and beer to write secret messages in his pieces. Michael finds Grand Rapids to be an art-focused community and it is because of this support that he got back to working on his art again. He had stopped showing his work in the early 90s but 5 years ago, starting with ArtPrize, he re-entered the scene. He loves Live Coverage because it brings all the artists together and you have the opportunity to meet people you haven’t met before.
Loralee Grace created a small watercolor and gouache painting for the event, a mountainous landscape with patterns hovering in the sky. She creates oil paintings as well, but decided on a gouache and watercolor piece for the event. It’s a faster working process and she was able to progress the piece from an earlier stage live at the event.
Her inspiration for her piece came from recent travels to Wadi Rum, Jordan. Loralee’s husband is a filmmaker and photographer, the photo reference for this piece is a photo-stitch he made while we were walking through Wadi Rum desert one day. The patterns in the painting are local to Wadi Rum and represent otherworldly and spiritual forces which she feels are all around us.
She has been an artist since she was a child. She believes all children are artists, but she never stopped creating. She knew she would be some sort of artist when she grew up. She is a 2010 graduate of Kendall College and has been growing her art career since.
“The art scene in Grand Rapids is vibrant, I thoroughly enjoy how many artists are busy creating in this little city! I only wish there were more, reliable art collectors,” she said.
Loralee decided to participate in Live Coverage for a variety of reasons, primarily the exposure, but also the energy. She spends most of her days alone in her painting studio, so she enjoys the energy at the event with many so artists creating live, and art lovers swarming around.
PARTICIPATING ARTISTS Lisa Ambrose Cindi Ford Kelly Allen Ann Cole Deborah Mankoff Jeff Kraus Stephanie Wooster Rachael Van Dyke Rick Beerhorst Garrett Brooks Michael Peoples Monica Lloyd Meridith Ridl Nicholas Szymanski Missy Marrow Dianne Carroll Burdick Michele Bosak Jamie Miller Meghan Shimek Daniel Elisevich Darryl Love Lisa Walcott Chris Gray Ryan Wyrick Bob Marsh Alynn Guerra Brett Haberkorn & Robyn Kane Loralee Grace Matthew Schenk Damian Goidich Rosemary Mifsud Sarah Knill Trevor Stone & Natalie Berry (We Draw Together) Dana Freeman Bill Hosterman Jacob Zars Steven Vinson Mandy Cano Sheryl Budnik Tommy Allen Elizabeth Hawkins Casey Huizenga Catherine Richards & Anh Tran Matt Ruiter Steven Rainey Maggie Bandstra AOK Silent Disco Channing & Quinn Marissa Voytenko Toni Michael Miller
‘The Boatwright. Only two actors and the entire story takes place in the garage around a boat. A really good story.” — Robert Wilcox, while photographing dress rehearsal.
With over 38 plays under his belt, professional award winning playwright, Bo Wilson, is no novice to the stage. His current play, The Boatwright, is making its premier debut for the first time on any stage in Grand Rapids at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre. Starting this evening, Sept. 12, 2014, this new play arrives in our community just in time for the ArtPrize kick off. Although this play is not considered an ArtPrize entry, it’s another wonderful new addition to the art world and will be showcased on the Civic Theatre’s stage.
The Boatwright is a 2 person, 3 character play about a widowed retired police officer, Ben, his neighbor’s son, Jaime, and a boat that they set out to build together. All three characters create an unexpected bond all while discovering the trials and tribulations of building a boat fit to sail across the Atlantic Ocean.
“At some point in everyone’s life we all want a boat, we all are looking for a way to get away,” according to Wilson. “At the middle point of many people’s lives they feel compelled to push themselves, some run and some take up boating.” says Bo.
Although I don’t consider myself quite middle aged yet, I can certainly relate to reaching a point in my life and asking, is this all that I am ever going to do? Is this the life I want to be leading? About two years ago I took up running. Like the main character, Ben, in the play, I felt the need to push myself, look at the world from another vantage point.
Wilson purposefully made his characters generationally different instead of portraying them as peers because he felt they’d be more interesting to the audience. He wanted to create the dynamic between an older, middle class personality and a younger, technology driven young man for an interesting contrast. Wilson says,“ The play is funny but not a comedy.” The audience is sure to see many humorous nods at technology and how its effect shows up in these two characters from different generations.
The third character of the play is a boat. Five different boats were designed and created for Civics’ production of The Boatwright. Nancy Brozek, Civic Theatre’sDirector of Development and Community Relations said’ “The boat is an interesting anchoring point between the two men.”
While Wilson’s own experiences with boating does not go much beyond tooling around once on a 10ft sea snark of his own and reading Treasure Island. He too can relate well to the character relationship dynamic because his own son Zack James, was 15 when Wilson wrote the play.
Civic Theater is known for amazing 60 plus person casts staring in larger than life exuberant musicals and Bruce Tinker, the executive and artistic director, hopes to bring another flavor to the stage with this two person cast play. The same amount of researching went into their decision to bring Mary Poppins and South Pacific to the stage. This year’s dedication to a terrific season,
“Grand Rapids has been wowed with many well-known musicals and plays and the Civic Theatre hopes that its community continues to trust us to bring less known, but just as talented art to the stage that will entertain them.”, says Tinker. Wilson’s goal is to have his audience enjoy the characters, Ben and Jamie, because he wrote them to characters that might be a guy you know.
For upcoming performances: The Boatwright runs now through September 25th. For tickets: http://www.grct.org/memberoptions.html
ArtPrize is entering its second weekend (already!) and in just one week, the ArtPrize Awards will be handed out to the winners of the public vote as well as the juried prizes. On Thursday evening in an ArtPrize event being held for the first time ever in five years, the Juried Grand Prize Committee held a panel discussion to discuss their feelings on the question, Can Art Save Cities?
This year’s Grand Juried Prize jurors are:
Anne Pasternak, President and Artistic Director of Creative Time, NYC. Creative Time is a 40-year-old nonprofit organization that commissions artists to create art that pushes the envelope, art that is truly an experiment. As she says, they believe that, “there is no door that an artist shouldn’t kick open.”
Mel Chin, Artist. Chin is a conceptual artist and an activist. His work includes everything from clay pottery to video games. He has reclaimed abandoned houses and helped a neighborhood feel safer.
Manon Slome, Co-founder and Chief Curator, No Longer Empty. No Longer Empty is an organization in NYC that creates very site-specific exhibits in very nontraditional (empty) spaces. From banks to fishing tackle shops, Slome’s organization has created 14 exhibitions since it began in 2009.
Sam Cummings, managing partner at CWD Real Estate, kicked off the evening with a few comments about his perspectives on ArtPrize and public art. Cummings talked of his firm’s work on the restoration of more than 30 buildings in Grand Rapids and the huge sense of pride he feels about our city during ArtPrize. He said the art competition, “challenges the perception that art is exclusive to a few select cities.”
ArtPrize Exhibitions Director Kevin Buist then introduced the jurors who each had seven minutes to talk about what they do, their organizations, and their art. They shared their personal experiences with public art and the impact it has had on their lives and their careers. After their brief presentations, all three sat down with Buist to discuss the question of the evening: can art save cities?
Chin’s response to the question was, “obviously no” but he then suggested that “maybe art can be saved by the city.” He did say that maybe ArtPrize would change the city, eventually, and he believes that cities should nurture creativity. Chin has enjoyed his time at ArtPrize so far, saying it really inspired him and as he appreciated the opportunities it brought to artists and the community.
Slome posed the question—is the art really engaging with the city? —and she said that while ArtPrize is a great contributor to the economy, whether or not art is saving the city depends on what the art is doing. Pasternak noted the class and racial divide with art that exists in cities and said that it was true of art everywhere. She said it was important that we look at who we are engaging, but more importantly—who are not engaging. (Interesting statistic from Pasternak—97.8 percent of curators identify themselves as Caucasian)
As they talked about their personal strategies for encouraging art in public places, the impact art can have on a community, and their experiences here in Grand Rapids, the three jurors had a great synergy. It was easy to see why these three were selected as this year’s jurors. Be sure and get your ticket to the ArtPrize Awards event that takes place next Friday, October 4 so you can see who they select for the $100,000 Grand Jury Award!
ArtPrize V started less than a week ago and already there have been almost 200,000 votes cast by the public. Amongst the thousands of visitors to downtown Grand Rapids there have been five art experts who are this year’s jurors for the Juried Awards. Last night those five jurors came together in front of a live studio audience for The Short List, which aired on WOOD TV Monday evening from the ArtPrize HUB in downtown Grand Rapids.
The five jurors came from throughout the United States, each judging a different category and awarding one of their top 5 an award of $20,000 on October 4 at the ArtPrize Awards Celebration.
John Yau, editor of Hyperallergic Weekend, has been looking at the 2-D works, or as he put it, the art that is “flat and on a wall.” To him, the pieces that stand out are those that are, “unfamiliar in an interesting way.” His five selections were (venues in parentheses):
Tropical Migrants, by Alexis Rockman (Grand Rapids Art Museum)
Europa & the Flying Fish, Kyle Staver (Grand Rapids Brewing Company)
Three and Four: Red, Yellow, and Black, Peter Crow (Cathedral Square)
Series 28 Untitled #1, Mary Rousseaux (DeVos Place)
Rick Beerhorst Painting, Rick Beerhorst (DeVos Place)
The 3-D pieces are being judged by Hesse McGraw from the San Francisco Art Institute. McGraw commented on how incredible ArtPrize is as he was, “walking through the city with thousands who are invested in art.” He stated that he wants to have his “brain broken a little bit” when he is looking at the pieces of art. His top five in the 3-D category are:
Watching, Daniel Arsham (Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park)
Ecosystem, Carlos Bunga (Site:Lab @ 54 Jefferson)
Through the Skies for You, Kevin Cooley/Phillip Andrew Lewis (Kendall College of Art and Design)
The world’s an untranslatable language II (for Charles Wright), Charles Matson Lumes (Kendall College of Art and Design)
The Unfounded Future of the Untitled, Julie Schenkelberg (Site:Lab @ 54 Jefferson)
Rashida Bumbray from New York City has been looking at the entries for the Time and Performance Based category and she also commented how impressed she was by ArtPrize and how it was “really inspiring to see people of all ages, all walks of life engaging with art.” She described her top five pieces:
Angle of Repose, Dance in the Annex (Site:Lab @ 54 Jefferson)
Sonnet 27, Arthur Liou (Site:Lab @ 54 Jefferson)
The Last Post, Shahzia Sikander (Grand Rapids Art Museum)
Whispers of the Prairie, Deanna Morse (Grand Rapids Art Museum)
Facing Al Aqaba, Maurice Jacobsen (Ab-Nab-Awen Park)
Executive Director and Curator at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in NYC, Eva Franch Gilabert, had the task of judging the Best Use of Urban Space category. She said she looks for pieces that “will transform the way we view cities.” Her top five included:
Egg Prize, David Kail (Van Andel Arena)
Facing Al Aqaba, Maurice Jacobsen (Ab-Nab-Awen Park)
united.states: an everyday people project, JD Urban (Calder Plaza)
Temporary’s Pursuit of Permanence, Hanson and Feinburg (Gillett Bridge)
I want to be different… (Ladder), Henry Brimmer (First Community Bank)
The final category for the Juried ArtPrize is Most Outstanding Venue. Alice Gray Stites, chief curator of 21c museum has been looking over all of the venues and selected her top five:
The jurors wrapped up the evening by discussing their process and how they all worked together throughout the last week. As they talked they discovered pieces and venues they had not visited and found that they all experienced the city in their own way. That is one of the great things about ArtPrize. Whether you travel from far away or even if you live here, during these 19 days we all experience Grand Rapids “in our own way.”
Happy ArtPrizing everyone!
You can download a map of all the pieces selected on Monday evening by going to woodtv.com.