By Kayla Tucker – Managing Editor
This year’s ArtPrize Awards gave $500,000 to a select group of artists out of the 1,550 that competed this year.
“Northwood Awakening” by photographer and fiber artist duo Steven and Ann Loveless took home the public vote grand prize of $200,000. The Loveless pair won the same prize in 2013 with the quilt “Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore.”
“I’m humbled, I’m grateful,” Ann Loveless said after receiving the award with her husband.
Ann said she’s still in shock from winning two years ago.
“So many people would comment that ‘Oh, I feel like I could just walk into this. I feel like I could be there,’” Steven said about the piece displayed at Gerald R. Ford Museum. “That’s something that I, myself, have always liked to communicate with a piece of work.”
Ann said a new studio is in process and they might use the money for a trip to England.
As for juried grand prize, another $200,000 went to New York artist Kate Gilmore for her time-based piece “Higher Ground,” located at the SiTE:LAB venue.
“It’s kind of a crazy thing for an artist,” Gilmore laughed at the podium. “This isn’t like an everyday thing, these kinds of award ceremonies and experiences and cash money…It’s nice to be supported in that way.”
Gilmore attributed her positive experience in Grand Rapids to ArtPrize and the directors of the SiTE:LAB venue.
“What ArtPrize is doing is kind of fantastic,” Gilmore said. “It’s the kind of thing you can’t just read about. You really do need to come and experience it and get to know the people.”
In addition, eight category awards were given, each totalling $12,500.
Photographer and videographer Monroe O’Bryant won the 2D Juried Category with his series of thought-provoking photos titled “A Fearless Brother Project Presents: Realistic Neglects – A Graphic Series By Akibang.” The piece, a recreation of violent scenes in Grand Rapids, is located at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.
When asked why he decided to do this type of piece, O’Bryant said he “was pissed off.”
“I wanted to change the dynamics of the community,” O’Bryant said, reflecting on the violence and pain he was seeing in his own community in Grand Rapids.
“Shout out to the GRAM for taking a chance on me,” O’Bryant said, who has another piece in the works, this time in video production.
“Guryong Village in Seoul” by Soohyun Kim, whose work is shown in the Collins Gallery at Grand Rapids Community College, placed as a finalist for the 2D Juried Category Award.
As for the 2D Public Vote Category Award, “Northwood Awakening,” by Loveless PhotoFiber won the 2D Public Vote Category Award along with the grand prize.
“The Last Supper,” a collection of painted plates reflecting death row inmates’ last meals, took the 3D Juried Category Award. This piece is located at the Fed Galleries of Kendall College of Art and Design.
Artist Julie Green could not make it to the awards ceremony.
For the 3D Public Vote Category Award, Fred Cogelow of Minnesota placed with his piece at the Gerald R. Ford Museum titled “Greatest Generation/Beta Team/November.”
Cogelow’s piece is a portrait carved into butternut wood, described as the most laborious and technically difficult work of his career on his entry description on the ArtPrize website.
Residents of Minnesota, Cogelow and his wife spent nearly every day, all day, by their piece during the 19 days of ArtPrize. He doesn’t think the results would be the same if they hadn’t invested that much time.
Cogelow was in ArtPrize last year, but in a smaller venue with less traffic.
“The thing that struck me then, and now, is just the overwhelming appreciation that you’re shown by the community,” Cogelow said.
This year’s Installation Public Vote Category Award winner was “REACH and SPLASH” by Andy Sacksteder of Ohio. This piece can be found at the Gerald R. Ford Museum.
Sacksteder had “career ending injury” and saw a bronze statue at the clinic he went to, and his inspiration began there.
He plans to enter a piece again next year.
“Where I make them, no one sees them, a few family members, maybe 50 people see them,” Sacksteder said. “That’s what makes ArtPrize for me and most artists, an opportunity for thousands of people to see (their works).”
“In Our Element” by Ruben Ubiera was chosen for the Installation Juried Category Award, located under the US-131 overpass on Front Ave.
Ubiera could not make it to the awards ceremony.
For the Time-Based Public Vote Category Award, “Whisper” came in first, the interactive piece on sound as an object by Emily Kennerk, of Indiana. This piece can be seen at 250 Monroe.
“I brought a book list of reading,” Kennerk said. “I thought no one would come see this piece.”
Kennerk said her art has had a “Grand Rapids effect” in the ways it changed over time and her experience at ArtPrize was better than she expected.
“It’s restored a little bit of my understanding of art, that I think can only happen here at ArtPrize,” Kennerk said.
“That Was Then” by Prince Thomas took home the Time-Based Juried Category Award.Thomas’ piece was a 1080p audio reporting of the first hours of Operation Desert Storm set to a screen of fireworks.
“When they called my name, it was shock, it was awe…and incredibly humbling,” Thomas said.
SiTE:LAB/The Rumsey Street Project was given this year’s juried award for Outstanding Venue.
ArtPrize is a 19-day event only found in Grand Rapids, where artists from all over the world participate freely showcase their work.