GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Top 25 vote-getters of ArtPrize 2023 were announced Friday. One of them will take home the $125,000 grand prize.
The pieces represent the top performers at 25 different venues. They emerged as visitors’ favorites among hundreds of entries after 31,566 votes were cast in the first round of Grand Rapids’ annual art competition, which started Sept. 14.
The Top 25, listed alphabetically by artist’s last name:
- “Elevated Serenity: A Paper Symphony of Blooms & Balloons” by Michele Boudreaux at Oh, Hello Paper & Gifts.
- “The Heart of our Nation” by John Brummel at Has Heart at Veterans Memorial Park.
- Time at Stonehenge by BC ClayArt at DeVos Place Convention Center.
- “Raining Wisdom” by Abdoulaye Conde at 45 Ottawa NW.
- “Light in the Dark – Photography of MPYH (Ukraine)” by CultureVerse presents MYPH.
- “Black History Series” by Bryce Culverhouse at the Grand Rapids African American Museum and Archives.
- Perfectly Imperfect 2.0 by Karen Dixon at McKay Tower.
- “Evolve” by Jesse Douglas and Sotir Davidhi at Vicinity.
- MI Light by Tom Gifford at Biggby Coffee.
- Tale of Ten Dresses by Rebecca Humes at the JW Marriott.
- The ‘Burbs by Brandon Johnson at Brush Studio.
- “Guidance” by Chenel Joseph at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.
- Egg Prize by David Kail at Van Andel Arena.
- Count on Me by Ryan McCallister at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.
- A Love Story by John Niewiek at The Waters Center/Homewood Suites by Hilton.
- What’s Not Cool About a Dragon? by Michael Quandt at the Monroe North Business Association at Sixth Street Park.
- The Michigan Smiles Project by Sarah Seaberg at Webster’s Market Inc.
- “Technophobia” by Christopher Shields at The Morton.
- “Yemenite Reflections” by Michelle Sider at The Atrium at Uccello’s Downtown.
- Exploring the Infinite by David Stricklen at The B.O.B.
- “Cosmic Depths: A Triptych Exploration” by Abram Sudan at Beacon Corner Bar.
- “Novucubism” by Gregory Urbin at Beacon Corner Bar.
- Lift the Sky by Julie Weaverling at Fountain Street Church.
- “Dancing Sky” by Gina Wolfrum at Courtyard Downtown Grand Rapids.
- “Paint the Calder” by Howard Wright at Hyatt Place Grand Rapids.
ArtPrize marketing manager Pedro Camargo noted that one of the finalists, Bryce Culverhouse of “Black History Series,” recently died.
“One of our longtime supporters and friendly artists, and really just a great person overall, from what I’ve heard,” Camargo said. “We wanted to take a minute to pay mind to him and all that he did throughout his life.”
George Bayard III, director and curator of the Grand Rapids African American and Archives, said “Black History Series” was the first piece that GRAAMA chose.
“We figured we could build an exhibit around his exhibit,” Bayard said. “It’s a series of five images, portraits of famous African-Americans. And what Bryce does that’s so unusual is that he put type over the images, like speeches, sayings or biographical information about the person.”
Bayard said Culverhouse saw the Top 25 as an elite group. “For him, that’s all he really wanted.”
Also this year, ArtPrize made an additional 25 pieces — five from each of the competition’s five categories, selected based on public votes — eligible to win the second- or third-place prizes of $50,000 and $25,000, respectively.
“Our intention with this is to recognize the overwhelming response to these quality entries and to engage more artists, venues and participants over the coming week,” ArtPrize Executive Director Catlin Whitington explained.
- “Great Lakes Embroidery Series” by Jess Blauwkamp at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.
- “Falling in Michigan” by Brett Farmer at DeVos Place Convention Center.
- “Selfie on the Wall” by Diego Perez at DeVos Place Convention Center.
- “An Iris Collection of 5” by Peggy Slattery at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.
- “Twelve Drummers Drumming” by Paul Van Heest at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.
- FinTanium by Joel Gittrich at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.
- Tracy’s Garden by Brent Knoth at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.
- The Lost Monarch Angel by Teri Mazzola at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.
- MI-eden by Pasha Ruggles at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.
- Fly Again by Andy Sacksteder at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.
- “Boison” by Ian Deatrick at ArtRat Gallery.
- “Rock your beauty” by Tatiana Ilina at Fountain Street Church
- “String Theory Series Part 2” by Gary Mesa-Gaido at the Grand Raids Community College Collins Art Gallery.
- “Mictlantecuhtl – Facism Killed the Old Gods” by Matthew Schenk at the GRCC Collins Art Gallery.
- “Body-oddy-oddy-oddy: Destabilizing the Surveilling of Queer Bodies” by Eric Souther and Benjamin Rosenthal.
- Reclaiming the “Orient” – Gereh-Chini by Mahsa Alafar and Michael Powell at SILVA.
- After Party Guests by Harminder Boparai at DeVos Place Convention Center.
- Final Stand by Scott Eickman at Action Institute.
- Journey With the Messengers by Vivian Nan Grady at Silva.
- Two Faced by Rainer Wolter at The Morton.
- “Andylachia” by Andrew Caldwell at DeVos Place Convention Center.
- International Living Statues by International Living Statues Champions by Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.
- I am Krista Kameleon by Krista Krautner at Periwinkle Fog
- We Are All In This Together by Bradley Tucker at the ArtPrize Clubhouse.
- “Memory Room 302” by Sara Walsh, Derek VanHeel and Michael Rau (SRAU) at SILVA.
Though it was delayed slightly by rain, the Top 25 announcement was made Friday evening at the ArtPrize Oasis on Monroe Avenue north of I-196.
Also announced at the event were the winners of two independent awards, each worth $4,000. The Artista Latina Award went to Johnny Camacho for “Identity,” displayed at The B.O.B. The Asian Art Award went to Harminder Boparai for After Party Guests at DeVos Place — he’s also among the additional finalists in the installation category.
The second round of voting was scheduled to open at 8 p.m. Friday. It ends at 11:50 p.m. Sept. 28. Winners will be announced during the Awards Ceremony at Rosa Parks Circle starting at 6 p.m. Sept. 29.
In addition to the public vote winners, there will be $20,000 juried award winners in each of the five categories, along with $5,000 honorable mentions.
“Collectively, (ArtPrize) is a culmination of tens of thousands of artists and lifetimes of passion as these artists share their vision with us. And for this, we’re grateful,” Whitington said.
Some artists in the Top 25 are new competitors, like Abdoulaye Conde, who created a large-scale mural called “Raining Wisdom.”
Conde told News 8 it was his first year competing in ArtPrize and “Raining Wisdom” was his first big mural.
“It’s the elephant and people together in water,” Conde said of the mural. “My style of painting is many, many colors.”
Other finalists are in their fifth year, like 3D painter David Stricklen.
“As you walk by, the painting tends to change shape and move as you move,” Stricklen said of “Exploring the Infinite.”
He told News 8 he wanted people to be “dazzled” by his art.
“And when they walk by and see a painting that moves, that’s a little bit of magic,” Stricklen said. “And I want to show them that there’s real magic in the world.”
Finalist Karen Dixon, who created an installation titled Perfectly Imperfect 2.0, told News 8 the pandemic gave her time to follow her passion.
“I’m so passionate about what I do,” she said. “And having the people love my work and vote for me is everything.”
All entries — regardless of whether they are in the Top 25 — will remain on display through the end of ArtPrize on Oct. 1.
— News 8’s Meghan Bunchman contributed to this report.