Monday, October 7, 2013

ArtPrize 2013

ArtPrize 2013 officially ended last night. For any readers who may not know, ArtPrize is a 3-week art competition held each fall in various venues in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. It began in 2009 and has been growing bigger every year since.

According to, "Every year, ArtPrize distributes $560,000 in total cash prizes—$360,000 awarded by public vote and $200,000 awarded by jury." That's a lot of money! 

This year, there were 1,524 art entries and 446,850 public votes cast. Wow! Here are the top 3 by public vote this year:
3rd place:
Uplifting by Andy Sacksteder
This bronze sculpture depicts a Native American man lifting up a Native American woman. Water trickles down, like the man really did just lift her up out of water. I think the artist did a great job capturing movement, and the figures are quite lifelike. So, I suppose I can see why it did so well in the art competition. At first glance, it is rather impressive.

However, these figures are scantily clad, which makes me  a bit uncomfortable. I know, the human body is beautiful, but I like certain things to be left to the imagination. The sculpture lost most of its appeal to me when Mom informed me where exactly the trickling-down water is trickling down from. One water source is her belly button. The other two are... erm, the two highest points on the sculpture, if you catch my drift. XD I wonder how many of the voters realized this when they cast their votes...

I would definitely not put this in my top 3, nor even in my top 25.

2nd place:

Polar Expressed by Anni Crouter
This 3-panelled acrylic painting of polar bears was well-done. The bears were beautifully painted, and the panels were so big that they seemed almost life size. Each bear had a subtle twinkle in its eye, which added to their appeal. My favorite bear is the one on the far right. 

I don't really mind that the bears took home 2nd place, though they didn't make it nearly this high on my own list.

1st place:

Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore by Ann Loveless
This piece of artwork consists of 4 panels of quilts that together depict a panoramic beach scene. The artist was definitely playing to her audience in choosing a well-known travel destination in Michigan as her subject. XD I am amazed at how detailed this scene is, right down to individual blades of grass, leaves, and the reflection of the sun in the water. The beautiful hodge-podge of different colors, patterns, and textures of fabrics make this just as fun to look at up close as far away.

I am pleased that this entry took home the popular vote's grand prize. It isn't what I would've voted for, but it's definitely one of my favorites from this year.

Unfortunately, none of my top 3 made it into the public vote's top 3. Here they are:

3rd place:

Tired Pandas by Nick Jakubiak
How cool is it that these cute pandas are made out of old tires? These guys are just as cute in person as they are in photos, according to Mom. I think creating them was an excellent way to give new life to old materials. By the end of ArtPrize when Mom went to see them, the little panda was missing a chunk of its right ear. I sure hope the artist fixes that now that ArtPrize is over!

2nd place:

Daniel by John Katerburg
I really do love this piece, and Mom says it is even more impressive in person. It's a beautiful painting that depicts Daniel in the lion's den. This painting reminded me of the Bible story that inspired it and helped me picture the scene in my mind more vividly than I have in a long time.

1st place:

Myth-or-Logic by Robin Protz
My favorite art entry this year is this majestic griffin sculpture. It is 18 feet long, 12 feet wide, and 8 feet high, and it is made of tons of little chunks of bamboo suspended from strings. Mom reports that any faint stirring in the air at all causes the little golden pieces to move slightly and glint in the light. This artist has submitted similar creations for the last two ArtPrizes. In 2012 it was a dragon made from golden buttons, and in 2011 it was my all-time favorite, a winged mare and foal made from little silvery pieces. This griffin is breathtaking in his own right. I am so glad the artist has continued on with the mythical creature theme, since there is something almost magical about the media she uses.

There you have it: the public top 3 and my own top 3. I'm not going to bother to list all the juried award winners, because most of them didn't impress me much. I guess my taste in art isn't super sophisticated. So be it.

To conclude, here is a link to an album of my own top 25 pieces from this year's ArtPrize. [Link]
 Feel free to take a quick look through it. I had real trouble narrowing it down to just 25 this year. ;)

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