ArtPrize announces the winner of the 2021 grand prize

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GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan – We have a winner!

ArtPrize has made a comeback for the first time since 2018, bringing works of art, artists and art lovers to the Grand Rapids area.

This year’s competition saw 958 entries with 144 venues showcasing artwork and on Friday night one artist walked away with the grand prize of $ 50,000.

During an hour-long awards ceremony on Friday night, organizers announced the winner of the grand public prize of $ 50,000 and several jury prizes.

The big winner of $ 50,000 is “Before You Go” by Christian Reichle and Monica Pritchard.

Brian Whitfield received the Contemporary Black Art Award for his entry “Planted by the Sacred Streams of Grace”. In addition to the prize, Whitfield received $ 2,000 for the winning piece. The installation is inspired by Psalm 1: 3.

Olaniyi R. Akindiya Akirash also won the Contemporary Black Art Award for his work entitled “Ile Itaja – Shoppinglist”.

In addition to winning the grand prize of $ 50,000, Christian Reichle and Monica Pritchard also won one of two Asian Art Awards for their “Before You Go” entry. An audio installation, “Before You Go” features a series of interviews with residents of Grand Rapids and other parts of the country. Set up like a period phone booth, visitors are invited to enter and hear excerpts from the interviews. The aim of the project was to spark a conversation with people of various origins and generations on the themes of life, death, dreams and regrets.

The other winner of the Asian Art Award was Michal Overholts for “Paper Cinderella”. The dress is made up of over 3,000 paper flowers, each cut and made by hand. The artist spent over 450 hours creating it.

Florencia Clement de Grandprey won one of two Artista Latino awards for her play entitled “Guardians of Sacred Space”. The artist designed the series to inspire and empower people and to “remind us of our inner warrior and fill our space with calm and positive energy”.

Russell Cooper received the other Artista Latino Award for “The 20th of January (Lunar Eclipse over Grand Rapids)”. The piece was made from photos taken on January 20, 2019 and January 20, 2021 and shows the progression of a lunar eclipse over the Grand Rapids skyline.

John Paul Gonçalves won the 2D Jury Prize of $ 10,000 for his entry titled “Aging Out / 18”. The project of seven portraits presents different adolescents who have aged outside the foster care system and is composed of squares of paper.

The finalist for the $ 2,500 2D Juried Award was TJ Lick for “Ask the Animals and They Wil …” The wildlife paintings are extra large with meticulous detail.

Holly Ross walked away with the 3D Jury Prize of $ 10,000 for her entry titled “Soaked.” The artist says she takes mundane objects like manufactured boxes or crumpled newspapers and imitates them in clay, emphasizing and exaggerating their formal characteristics.

The finalist for the $ 2,500 3D Juried Award was Virginia Lee Montgomery for “Sword in the Sphinx”. The sculpture features a cast resin copy of a historic French garden sphinx impaled by a sword hand forged by an artist.

The winner of the Installation Jury Prize was Hwa-Jeen Na + Yuge Zhou for “Project Unity: Ten Miles of Track in One Day”. The project commemorates Chinese railway workers in the United States who laid 690 miles of track but have rarely been identified in historical documents.

In addition to winning the Contemporary Black Art Award for “Itaja Island – Shoppinglist”, Olaniyi R. Akindiya Akirash was also named a finalist for the Installation Juried Award. The entrance represents mini-grocery stores built from boxes of food to talk about the unique moments of the past year.

The winner of the $ 10,000 time-based jury prize was Stephen Smith for his “Art Pod” entry. The artist created the piece from an old shipping container.

Eli Kahn, Jordan Hamilton and Eric Friedlander won the Time Based Juried Award for their entry “(In My Dreams We) Levitate”. The entrance is actually a musical composition with immersive sound created during the COVID-19 pandemic with the idea that everyone is able to achieve freedom through dreams.

The Design & Drive winner was Jimmy Cobb for “Lakeshore Drive”. His entry earned him a two-year Honda lease!


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