U.P. entrants featured at
Grand Rapids ArtPrize 2010
By RENEE PRUSI
Clockwise from top right, Ritch Branstrom is in the top 75 overall for his work, “Engulfed,” a great blue heron constructed of petroleum-related materials and inspired by the environmental disasters of 2010. Northern Michigan University sophomore Courtney Brown takes a “up close and personal” photo of Michael Letts’ acrylic. Mavis Farr-Smentkowski’s work is mixed media quilted structure in fabric, trim, applique and spraypaint. Carol Papaleo’s contribution, “I’m Different,” are paintings in honor of children with special needs, especially her grandchildren. (Photos courtesy of Nikke Nason) Luke Barabe’s work is pencil drawings of Arnold Schwarzenegger. (Photo courtesy of Luke Barabee)
Journal Staff Writer
MARQUETTE - Nikke Nason didn't attend last year, but there was no way she was going to miss ArtPrize 2010.
So Nason, arts administration director for the City of Marquette Arts and Culture Center, visited the Grand Rapids event last weekend.
Art from the 906:
Here is a list of the ArtPrize participants who are from the Upper Peninsula:
n Clare Benson, Drummond Island, showing at West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology
n Joan Game, Iron Mountain, showing at Huntington/50 Monroe Place
n Luke Barabe, Marquette, showing at Vertigo Music
n Donna DeLoughary, Marquette, showing at DeVos Place Convention Center
n Mavis Farr-Smentkowski, Marquette, showing at Kent County Courthouse
n Emily Lanctot, Marquette, showing at Ah-Nab-Awen Park
n Russell Prather, Marquette, showing at Riverview Center
n Dale Wedig, Marquette, showing at Kent County Courthouse
n Carol Papaleo, Marquette, showing at Open Concept Gallery
n Michael Letts, Negaunee, showing at DeVos Place Convention Center
n Ritch Branstrom, Rapid River, showing at Grand Rapids Public Museum, Exhibition Center
n Larry Gilbert, Sault Ste. Marie, showing at CompuCraft Inc.
And she was impressed.
"I was unable to attend last year but decided that I had to not only witness this event firsthand myself, but also had to see the many Marquette-area artists who were represented," Nason said. "Overall the event went beyond my expectations. Not only was the entire city transformed into a gallery but the dialogue that was taking place was amazing.
"I've visited art galleries around the U.S. and world and never witnessed such excitement nor personal conversations with artists."
Nason's not the only one impressed: ArtPrize is an event that's garnering attention from all over the world including some notice for the 12 Upper Peninsula artists who are part of it.
ArtPrize 2010 in Grand Rapids is a competition/exhibit on an enormous scale. Not only are 1,713 artists taking part at 192 venues, nearly 23,000 people are registered voters.
At stake is $449,000 in prize money with $250,000 going to the first-place entry. That entry is chosen by the public's votes.
Several U.P. artists are getting special attention at the event. Ritch Branstrom of Rapid River is in the top 75 overall for his work, "Engulfed," an enormous great blue heron constructed of petroleum-related materials and inspired by the environmental disasters of 2010.
The Grand Rapids Press did a story on Carol Papaleo of Marquette. Her contribution, "I'm Different," are paintings in honor of children with special needs, especially her grandchildren.
For Nason, who serves on the ArtServe Michigan Board of Directors, attending the ArtPrize event was exhilarating.
"Many artists stood by their pieces not only to answer questions about the work... but to encourage people to vote for their piece," she said. "Many pieces on the street and in galleries or other venues were interactive and encouraged you to walk through, interact with, feel or be a part of the art itself."
For example, Nason walked through a T-shirt structure and experienced a room full of plastic tubes with light and sound.
"Many pieces were meant to be shown at night and lit themselves up," Nason said. "Everywhere you looked including the sky, where there was a balloon art installation flying in the air, and the river had art pieces in them.
"What impressed me was how the city embraced the event and became more than just a venue, but became part of it."
Nason's Yooper Pride was touched.
"I was also impressed at the representation of work from our area and the quality we were able to demonstrate," she said. "ArtPrize is a great and unique event to have right here in Michigan. I hope to see more artists from our area compete again next year."
Nason said ArtPrize found Rick DeVos was honored with the ArtServe Michigan's 2010 Art Legacy Award for his contribution to arts and culture in Michigan, recognizing the impact the 2009 ArtPrize event had on the state last year.
To view a video about ArtPrize 2009 and DeVos's award, visit www.youtube.com/user/ArtServeMI
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.