Tag Archives: Grand Rapids Ballet Company

ArtPrize Awards 2012




VENUE :: Old GR Press Building/Loading Dock
DATE :: October 5, 2012

ArtPrize IV.

For the fourth year in a row, our city has become an art gallery.

For the fourth year in a row, hundreds of artists have come to Grand Rapids and put their work on display to be the topic of conversation for two and a half weeks.

And for the fourth year in a row, hundreds gathered for the ArtPrize Awards Event that took place on Friday night on the loading dock of the former Grand Rapids Press building, which had been transformed into a fantastic nightclub by Noddea Skidmore and her team. The event was graciously sponsored  by Stella Artois and Haworth. Volunteers served up cocktails and checked out the venue. Our favorite hometown food trucks, What the Truck and The Silver Spork dished up delicious small plates while friends celebrated the culmination of  17 fantastic days in our community.

While this may have seemed like a peculiar place to many, ArtPrize Marketing Director Todd Herring said it best when he commented, “the history of this building and the future of ArtPrize are all part of one red line. One story. About a community open to change.”

Herring played the role of Master of Ceremonies on Friday night. He was joined on stage throughout the evening by the Grand Rapids Ballet Company, performing David Parson’s The Envelope, which was the perfect choice as the audience waited to find out what was in “the envelope.” The winner of ArtPrize IV. The ballet entertained the audience with moments of laughter amidst the moments of anticipation.

The first awards to be given out were the juried awards. There were five this year, each with their own sponsor and expert juror.

Time/Performance Based Art, sponsored by ITC Holdings: Three Phases by Complex Movements, selected by Juror Cathy Edwards.

Urban Space Award, sponsored by Spectrum Health: Flight by Dale Rogers, selected by Juror Susan Szenasy

Three Dimensional Work, sponsored by Haworth: More or Less by ABCD 83, selected by Juror Lisa Freiman

Two-Dimensional Work, sponsored by Varnum: Habitat by Alois Kronschlaeger, selected by Juror Tyler Green

Outstanding Venue Award, sponsored by Grand Valley State University: Site Lab, selected by Juror Tom Eccles

Next up was Darren Kuipers, Interim Executive Director of ArtPrize, who took a moment to thank the artists, venues, sponsors, volunteers, and staff who all worked tirelessly these past few weeks (well, the ArtPrize crew works all year) to make this event possible. (If you are out during ArtPrize these last couple of days, and you see someone with a volunteer shirt or a staff badge, make sure you tell them how much you appreciate all of their efforts to make this event happen for our city. Without them, this would not be possible!)

Then, the man of the hour, Rick DeVos, appeared on stage. He elaborated on Herring’s remarks about our community being “open to change.” He said, “Grand Rapids is emerging as a remarkable place where wild ideas can find an audience.” This year, that audience was made up of an estimated 400,000 people of all ages and backgrounds.

DeVos spoke about the importance of trying new things in order to, “make better things and make things better.” One of the new things ArtPrize tried this year was the Juried Grand Prize. To present that award, David Rosen, President of Kendall College of Art and Design at Ferris State University, joined DeVos on the stage.

Rosen told the audience that he came from Los Angeles to Grand Rapids, “not just for a job, but for life in a community filled with the traditions of art and design. A community driven by the engine of creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship.” He spoke of the courage that ArtPrize celebrates—as well as the “capacity and accomplishments of those who create.”

He also made an announcement of their newly formed five-year partnership with ArtPrize. Kendall College has signed a commitment to be an Exhibition Center and Premier Leadership Sponsor and pledged to fund the $100,000 Juried Grand Prize Award for the next five years. He then announced this year’s Juried Grand Prize, Displacement, by Design 99.

Rick DeVos then announced another partnership, this one with Meijer Corporation, who has pledged $650,000 over the next five years to support the public vote. It is wonderful to see the community coming together to sustain ArtPrize, and maintain the momentum for the foreseeable future.

Finally, the moment we had all been waiting for. Third Place in the ArtPrize IV public vote was given to Frits Hoendervanger, for his piece, Rebirth of Spring. Second Place went to Martijn van Wagtendonk for Song of Lift. And the winner of ArtPrize IV was … Adonna Khare and her piece, Elephants. Khare was rendered speechless but for two words: Thank You. Her reaction was priceless.

After the awards, guests enjoyed a beautiful celebratory after party.

There you have it. ArtPrize IV is a wrap. As Rick DeVos said Friday night, “this does not happen anywhere else in the world and it’s really cool.”

Yes, Rick. And the city is truly grateful to you for your leadership and for sustaining the growth of ArtPrize over the last four years. Our team at Stellafly Social Media are honored to have been a part of this fourth year of ArtPrize.

Looking forward to ArtPrize V!


“Freedom” A Benefit for Our Wounded Heroes Presented by Fashion Has Heart


The Peter Martin Wege Theatre at the Grand Rapids Ballet Company was the perfect setting for an intimate performance by the Grand Rapids Ballet Company, Grand Rapids Symphony, Royal Danish Ballet, and Genesis Percussion on Thursday evening.It was all to benefit those who have risked their lives to protect our freedom, as part of the Fashion Has Heart initiative.

Brian Lennon, attorney with Warner Norcross & Judd LLP and a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, served as Master of Ceremonies for the evening. He welcomed everyone to the theatre, gave a preview of the evening, and introduced Jane DeYoung, who sang the National Anthem. Hearing our country’s anthem brought into focus the reason we were all there last night—to pay tribute to those who risk their lives every single day to ensure that we have the freedom to do things like come together and watch these performers.

Three members of the Grand Rapids Symphony performed first, including two on French Horns and one pianist. They were followed up by two performances from the Grand Rapids Ballet Company (GRBC), who just finished their 40th season. Yuka Oba and Giovanni Yoshida are two talented dancers originally from Japan and who just finished their first season as part of the GR Ballet Company. Their Esmeralda Pas de Deux was beautiful and full of energy and grace. They were followed by Rachael Riley and Nick Schultz who performed the Balcony Pas de Deux from the GR Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet.

Next came two members of the Royal Danish Ballet who are originally from Michigan. Holly Dorger and Bryant Steenstra brought the Black Swan Pas de Deux to the stage, this performance originating from the classic ballet Swan Lake. They are both currently touring with the Royal Danish Ballet in the United States. To finish off the performances, Genesis Percussion took the stage and gave a very powerful performance. This drumline is comprised of students from throughout the state of Michigan.

This collaboration between arts organizations in Grand Rapids (and Denmark) was wonderful, but the real stars of the evening were the individuals representing Fashion Has Heart. Mike Hyacinthe, who started this initiative last year, talked to the audience about how this organization began. Initially they were selling clothing to raise proceeds for wounded veterans. It was not until he met Corporal Josh Hoffman. Corporal Hoffman was left a quadrapalegic from his injuries sustained while in Iraq. He saw the t-shirts that Hyacinthe was selling and wanted to know if there was a way for him to get involved. This sparked an idea that resulted in several t-shirts being designed around Corporal Hoffman’s story, and were sold throughout the United States.

Fashion Has Heart has grown and this week five members of the military—one from each branch—arrived in Grand Rapids and are working with designers from Bates to create five boot designs. The Heroes included Air Force Tech Sergeant Israel Del Toro; Army Specialist Danielle Byrd; Coast Guard Electrician’s Mate Third Class Michael Bell; Marine Corporal Josh Hoffman; and Navy HN Darrell Butler. Corporal Hoffman was unable to attend the event Thursday night but it was very evident that he was there in spirit.

Michael Hyacinthe said his goal is to double the number of Heroes next year and continue to grow the program each year after that. If you would like to follow this journey, check out the Fashion Has Heart Blog at http://fashionhasheart.org/blog/. Consider making a gift to help their cause, too, as a way to thank them for the sacrifices they have made for our freedom.