By Kaia Zimmerman
Grand Rapids Community College professor and head of the Visual Arts Department, Nick Antonakis is a judge in this year’s SmartArt competition for aspiring artists.
The Consumers Energy SmartArt is an art competition through Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS), featuring energy-themed work.
Antonakis is joined on the judge’s panel along with Ferris State University’s Kendall College of Art and Design Illustration professor, Patricia Constantine, and Virginia Jenkins, a Visual Media and Arts professor at Grand Valley State University.
The top 10 finalists were recently announced by GRPS, Consumers Energy, and ArtPrize and will have the opportunity for their work to be displayed at ArtPrize. The winner will be announced on Sept. 19, receiving a $1,000 scholarship.
The judges picked the finalists whose work they found most unique, while also displaying solutions toward embracing renewable energy.
“All demonstrated excellent creativity and application of the elements and principles of art and design,” they wrote in a jurors statement. “All also revealed compelling conceptualization in their artwork and statements about potential solutions to move us to a sustainable future.”
Antonakis joined the GRCC staff in 1990 after teaching at Kendall, where he taught drawing and painting classes.
He said he likes teaching because it helps him connect with aspiring artists and guide them through their work.
“I enjoy teaching because it affords me the opportunity to work with aspiring artists from all types of backgrounds,” Antonakis stated in a press release. “I find it very enriching to see these individuals achieve high levels and to find success in the art field.
“Together, we try to tailor their education to apply toward their goals and aspirations,” Antonakis stated. “I made a very similar journey when I was a student, and I remember the mentors I had along the way. I find it extremely rewarding when I hear from our students that my colleagues and I have contributed to their success.”