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ArtPrize is back

Local artists among the 1,517 entries for ArtPrize 2012

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Posted: Sunday, September 23, 2012 6:00 am

GRAND RAPIDS — It’s ArtPrize time again.

The public art competition in Grand Rapids that first captivated the art world three years ago opened again Wednesday and continues through Oct. 7.

Founded by Rick DeVos, this year’s ArtPrize features 1,517 artists from 56 countries and 45 states displaying work at 161 venues throughout a 3-square-mile area of downtown Grand Rapids.

The top prize winners are picked not by a typical jury of experts but by popular vote, with a combined $560,000 in total prize money at stake. Voters have to register in person, and ballots are cast via text message and social media.

As in years past, several Southwest Michigan artists have entered into the fray.

Here’s a sampling of local artists who are competing at this year’s event, and where you can see their work.

Harry Ahn

FROM: Berrien Springs

ABOUT: Ahn, who was a teen when the Korean War left his fam ily home less, escaped to Canada and eventually the United States. He has been an art instructor at Andrews University and resident of Berrien Springs since 1990, and his lifelong study of his craft has led to international acclaim, including the William F. Draper Grand Prize winner in the Portrait Society of America’s 2010 International Competition for his painting of Benton Harbor sculptor Richard Hunt.

ENTRY: “One Mind One Purpose”

DESCRIPTION: Ahn’s 71-by-105 inch oil painting features 20 individual snapshots of individuals in the process of talking a photograph on devices from a cellphone to professional equipment.

LOCATION: First (Park) Congregational Church, 10 East Park Place NE, Grand Rapids

William Anderson

FROM: Sawyer

ABOUT: Anderson, who grew up in Stevensville and now lives in Sawyer, has an associate’s degree in art from Lake Michigan College and a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

ENTRY: “Wheel In The Sky Kaleidoscope”

DESCRIPTION: This interactive mixed alloy sculpture is a kinetic industrial rendition of a working kaleidoscope designed to be hand turned.

LOCATION: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, 303 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids

Harry Borgman

FROM: Sawyer

ABOUT: Borgman, represented by the Craig Smith Gallery in Union Pier, works in painting, digital art and sculpture. He was a graphic designer and illustrator, and lead art director on the Chevrolet account at the Campbell-Ewald advertising agency in Detroit. In addition to Detroit, he has lived and exhibited his works in New York City and Paris, France. He has written several art technique books published by Watson-Guptill Publication.

ENTRY: “The Dream”

DESCRIPTION: This 48-by-96-inch acrylic on canvas diptych is part of a new series of paintings from the Sawyer artist that uses abstract figures based on computer generated studies.

LOCATION: The B.O.B., 20 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids

Martha Carés

FROM: Sawyer

ABOUT: Better known as a singer than a sculptor, Carés spent three years playing Confidante in the Broadway production of “Phantom of the Opera” before taking a break to work with husband, sculptor Fritz Olson, at their Olson Gallery in Sawyer. She’s most recently starred in “La Vie En Rose: Martha Carés sings Édith Piaf” at The Acorn Theater in Three Oaks.

ENTRY: “My Rescue”

DESCRIPTION: There’s a deeper message behind the whimsical 4-foot tall red, orange, yellow, blue and green steel sculptures of dogs. Carés created the work to spark awareness of the animals taken in by rescue organizations and shelters each year.

LOCATION: Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, 303 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids

Greg Constantine

FROM: Berrien Center

ABOUT: Originally from Windsor, Canada, Constantine became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1976. He received his BA from Andrews University and taught drawing and art history there for 43 years. He retired from teaching in 2006. He’s had numerous one-man shows with 22 in New York.

ENTRY: “USA Poetic Licenses”

DESCRIPTION: Oil and acrylic on styrene and wood featuring the shape of the United States of America with license plates of the 50 states with the lyrics of the national anthem.

LOCATION: Waters Building, 161 Ottawa Ave. NW, Grand Rapids

Scott Covert

FROM: New Buffalo

ABOUT: Covert, who uses grave rubbings to create art, first began the practice in 1985 when he made a pilgrimage to the Detroit cemetery where Florence Ballard Chapman (1943-1976) of The Supremes is buried. A forgotten camera that day has led to a career making complex paintings that have been shown in galleries in Michigan, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles.

ENTRY: “Compilation CSG No 105”

DESCRIPTION: Traveling to cemeteries and mausoleums all over Europe and the U.S. Covert uses loose canvases and an oil crayon to create paintings with the names or inscriptions of various grave markers. “Compilation CSG No. 5,” which took 10 years to complete, has more than 100 names, including Nikita Khrushchev, Harriet Tubman and “The Wizard of Oz” cast.

LOCATION: Fifth Third Bank/Warner Norcross & Judd LLP, 111 Lyon NW, Grand Rapids

Tom Fuller

FROM: St. Joseph

ABOUT: Fuller, a native of Wichita, Kan., was given his first pair of cowboy boots by a grandfather. He’s been consumed by the tools, legends and cowboys of the American West ever since.

ENTRY: “Hand Tooled”

DESCRIPTION: Like most of his work, “Hand Tooled” features a distinctly cowboy theme. The oil painting depicts an intricate hand-crafted horse saddle that is so realistic it can be mistaken for a photograph.

LOCATION: Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., 250 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids

Zan Knecht

FROM: St. Joseph

ABOUT: By day, Knecht may be a health care provider, but she says she’s “always an artist.” The St. Joseph resident has shown her work at the Chartreuse Art Co-op, the Box Factory for the Arts and participated in the annual members’ show at the Krasl Art Center for the past four years.

ENTRY: “Caged Heart”

DESCRIPTION: The 4-by-5-foot wire heart sculpture features black paper and pencils next to it with the invitation to add any thoughts one would like to get rid of. Once it fills up, the caged heart will be moved to an outdoor location, mounted on a pole and burned to let those “bad feelings” be released in the fire.

LOCATION: Blue Bridge, 65 Front St. NW, Grand Rapids

Fritz Olsen

FROM: Sawyer

ABOUT: The well-known sculptor and gallery owner has his work featured in four permanent museum collections, including the Krast Art Center and the Fernwood Botanical Garden & Nature Preserve. His public commissions include “Lake Michigan Bench” and “Phoenix” at Lakeland Hospitals.

ENTRY: “Ring”

DESCRIPTION: This circular, 16-by-18-inch marble sculpture is designed to represent the transition and coexistence of linear time and the circular cycle of life.

LOCATION: Cathedral Square, 360 Division Ave. S, Grand Rapids

Charles Spreitzer

FROM: South Haven

ABOUT: Spreitzer studied art and sculpture at Illinois Wesleyan University and Illinois State University, where he received his master’s degree. He says his work often explores his interest “in machine art that performs a real or imagined function.”

ENTRY: “Wind Power”

DESCRIPTION: The mixed media sculpture features a full-sized motorcycle on a metal frame bolted to the ground. Positioned in front of the bike is a blower motor, which can create a wind stream of 50 mph. When a viewer sits on the stationary bike and turns the throttle it activates the motor, creating the impression of motion.

OCATION: The B.O.B., 20 Monroe Ave. NW, Grand Rapids,

Lynne Tan

FROM: Stevensville

ABOUT: Tan, who grew up in Singapore and received a doctorate in experimental psychology at the University of Oxford, England, discovered clay while teaching psychology. She is now a potter and clay artist with a studio in the Box Factory for the Arts in St. Joseph.

ENTRY: “Offering in Celebration of Mostly Grey”

DESCRIPTION: An installation of 88 wheel-thrown stoneware bowls arranged on the gallery floor in a 8-by-11 foot grid. Each bowl contains uncooked rice. White rice in the first row, black rice in the last row, and a combination of white and black rice in the other bowls so that the grid is a graduated white-to-black.

LOCATION: High Five, Riverfront Plaza Building, 55 Campau, Grand Rapids

Adam Thomas

FROM: Buchanan

ABOUT: Thomas, a Battle Creek native, attended the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit. He transitioned from pastel pet drawings to painting nature scenes in oil, including animals with whimsical themes. He has shown in more than 20 venues from California to North Carolina.

ENTRY: “Bye Bye, Blackbird”

DESCRIPTION: This 48-feet-by-60-feet oil on canvas depicts a lone blackbird in flight.

LOCATION: City Art Gallery, 1168 Ionia NW Grand Rapids, MI 49503

James Wilcox

FROM: Dowagiac

ABOUT: Wilcox, who received his MFA in sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, has built a coral reef reproduction for the United Technology’s Seas Pavilion Tank at Epcot Center; worked in exhibit design and construction at the Brookfield Zoo in Illinois, and has designed sculptures of gargoyles for the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

ENTRY: “Julie Grooves On Her Spartan Life-style”; “Dad’s In Heaven Now”; “Herbert As Dr. Gachet”;  “Breakfast Ballerinas - Morning Class with the Joffrey Ballet”; “Slice of the Spice”; and “Barge Nocturne”

DESCRIPTION: Wilcox’s series of relief sculptures in polymerized Gypsum vary in size from 11-by-13 inches to 4-by-2 feet, each depicting a slice of life scene.

LOCATION: The B.O.B., 20 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids


WHAT: ArtPrize 2012

WHEN: Minimum venue hours are 5-8 p.m.

Monday-Thursday, noon-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, and noon-6 p.m. Sunday through Oct. 7; some venues may be open additional hours

WHERE: 161 venues, includ ing Grand Rapids Art Museum, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Cathedral Square, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Public Museum, Van Andel Arena and St. Cecilia Music Center, downtown Grand Rapids



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