Arts & Entertainment

Three Rockford artists impact Grand Rapids ArtPrize

October 4, 2012 // 0 Comments

by Cindy M. Cranmer Rockford watercolor artist showcases moose print Bright colors and larger sizes often attract people to ArtPrize entries. A Rockford watercolor artist has both going for her in her 2012 entry. LeAnne Mawby Sowa uses her unique watercolor style, which uses colorful washes and bold details to show off her artwork. “The small painting Moose Bath has been one of my most popular paintings. I’ve sold quite a few prints and I’ve gotten lots of smiles and laughs from people who see it,” Sowa said. “This inspired me to create a larger than life painting similar to it.” Moose Bath II consists of nine panels, which are stretched watercolor paper on foam board and attached to each other to make a seven foot by nine and a half foot painting. This is the fourth year that Sowa has had an entry in ArtPrize. Sowa is a self-taught artist but has enhanced her natural talent through attending various professional workshops and college classes. One opportunity she enjoyed was studying in England while residing there with her family. After pursuing a degree in mechanical drafting and several years of drafting, Sowa wanted to “get back to my creative roots and become a fine artist.” Sowa, a member of the Rogue River Artist Association of Rockford and the Pentwater Art Club, is now a full-time artist with artwork displayed at Our Gallery of Pentwater, the Frame and Mat Shop in Rockford, E3 in Rockford, the Eclectic Gallery in Ionia and the Saugatuck Artists Collective. “This has been such a popular print that I decided to go big for ArtPrize,” Sowa said. “This is the biggest thing I have ever done.” Sowa, who has been working on the piece since May, hopes that someone will purchase Moose Bath II for display somewhere that children could appreciate it such as at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. “That will make me feel good,” she said. “ArtPrize is so much fun. I love being a part of it. It gets you a lot of exposure as an artist,” Sowa said. The size and bright colors of her 2012 entry are definitely drawing attention to Moose Bath II. The approximately 30-foot by 40-foot oil painting by Linda Bassford, appropriately titled Dog […]

ArtPrize a statement about faith and abortion

October 4, 2012 // 0 Comments

Rockford resident Patrick Keeley said he doesn’t care how his Artprize piece scores with judges or where it ends up in the final vote—he just wants to send a message. The image he has installed at 300 Fulton is a life-death image that represents his pro-life beliefs. “The reason we made the art is to defend the rights of the unborn who are being selected to be aborted,” he stated. “Our piece is about the Creator and how the ‘creation’ is connected.  In our piece, all creation is hanging from a cross that is nailed to a nine-foot tall Jewish “Shin” which symbolizes God the Creator.” The piece, titled “all creation” is symbolized by a colorful heart with a mom holding a baby inside.  This piece is on display outdoors 24/7 at 300 Fulton (at the intersection of LaFayette).

Rockford photographer captures unique image for ArtPrize entry

October 4, 2012 // 0 Comments

By Cindy M. Cranmer A Rockford artist and participant at ArtPrize is among those giving hands-on demonstrations at the venue where her work is displayed. Stacy Niedzwiecki, a graphic designer and photographer, enjoys photographing nature. Niedzwiecki has earned numerous awards for her work and has been published. Niedzwiecki’s third and current entry focuses on her From the Shores collection. The photography collection features “unique, new images captured not only from the Great Lakes but from streams, rivers, inland lakes and may include important flora and fauna naturally found in these locations.” Her ArtPrize entry was taken on Sept. 1 at Ludington State Park. “The unusual cloud formations were a result of the remnants of Hurricane Isaac as the northern edge of the weather system passed over the Great Lakes,” she said. While Niedzwiecki spent an art residency and the summer months concentrating on “seeking unique perspectives and objects discovered literally ‘from the water’s edge’,” she could not resist the image taken in early September as her entry. “The sky was just amazing. I knew it was a short time, but that had to be my entry,” she said of her ArtPrize choice. Niedzwiecki’s work can be purchased at her ArtPrize venue, which is Peaches Bed and Breakfast at 29 Gay Ave. SE, or through her website. The website is Niedzwiecki has spent 25 years in graphic design. She has been a photographer for about eight years focusing on travel, nature and event photography. Her work has been featured in the MI Blue magazine and for such projects as hospital design work. There were 64 of her photographs used at the Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion. “That was really a life changing experience for me,” Niedzwiecki said. A book was produced based on that work, which was titled Healing Images – A Selection from the Lemmen-Holton Cancer Pavilion. She also was one of 10 artists selected as part of a book that was developed for Pure Michigan. Niedzwiecki was an artist selected for the residency program at ISLAND, which stands for the Institute for Sustainable Living and Natural Design. As part of her time in Bellaire, Niedzwiecki was able to stay in a beautiful log cabin for almost two weeks taking nature photographs. Niedzwiecki said she loves […]

Rockford to host 30th marching band invitational

September 20, 2012 // 0 Comments

The Rockford High School Marching Band is proud to host its 30th annual Marching Band Invitational on Saturday, September 22, 2012. This year’s event is slated to be one of the most exciting ever, with 17 bands performing in competition and the Rockford Marching Band providing the finale with their exhibition performance of this year’s show entitled Calls from the Masai Mara. For those who may not be familiar with what a Marching Invitational involves, each band performs their 2012 show and are scored by professional judges on how they look, sound, and move. It is a great event for those who enjoy watching marching bands with other patrons who share their enthusiasm. Rockford’s band is expansive this year, with 262 dedicated members who are multitalented, and is under the exceptional leadership of director Brian Phillips. The Rockford Invitational begins at 3:25 p.m. with the playing of our National Anthem, continues throughout the afternoon with Rockford’s performance at 8:35 p.m. signaling the end of the event. The order of performances of the visiting bands will be posted on the Rockford Marching Band’s website, The cost for admission to the Invitational is $7.00 for adults, $5.00 for seniors 60+ and students. Children 4 and under are free! You can purchase a Family Pass for a family of 4 or more for $20. Visitors will receive one Invitational program with each paid admission (Family Pass counting as 1). Extra programs can be purchased for $2.00. No Golden Age passes will be honored at this event as it is a fundraiser for the Rockford Marching Band. Gates open at 1:45 and the Concession Stand will be open all day! The students and parents of the Rockford High School Marching Band hope to see you there!

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