Grand Rapids ArtPrize

ArtPrize entrant steams to GR from across country

September 15, 2011 // 0 Comments

Artist and gallery owner shoots for $250,000 prize  Rockford resident Carol Black couldn’t be more proud of her son Stephano Sutherlin, who, despite living in Little Rock, Ark., couldn’t pass up the change to compete in ArtPrize. Sutherlin, who owns his own art gallery, Little Rock 17, has submitted “Steam to Diesel” as his ArtPrize entry. The three-piece work is a painted history of Michigan’s locomotives. Sutherlin began his career by joining a traveling circus, then explored the world in the Navy, and is a professional courtroom sketch artist. He grew up the son of a train conductor. His unique background and lifelong interest in trains compelled him to create “Steam to Diesel.” Sutherland’s wife, Ashley Polk Sutherland, said the process of creating the work led to long interaction with Sutherland and his father. “It was a great bonding experience,” she described. She said she believes the work will speak to a great many people. “There is a fascination with trains by people of all ages,” she said. Her father in law, especially, is one to admit he doesn’t understand or appreciate abstract art. This he loves. Polk-Sutherland said she and her husband were thrilled to hear about the first ArtPrize last year and would have loved to participate then. Unfortunately they were unable due to deaths in their respective families. This year they look forward to coming home to Grand Rapids to see it all first hand. “ArtPrize is unique because it is juried by the public in venues throughout the city,” said Polk-Sutherlin. “Some people call it American Idol for artists.” Last year the contest brought 250,000 visitors to Grand Rapids to view pieces created by artists from over 40 states and 20 countries. “It’s a huge honor for me to participate in one of the largest art contests in the world,” said Stephano. “The ArtPrize experience so far has been amazing. I have met incredible people and organizations through my research, including C&O Historical Museum in Virginia and CSX Railways, who bought C&O in the 1980s.” The three-canvas piece “Steam to Diesel” was inspired by Stephano’s love of trains and travel. His hope is the tryptich will invoke a sense of nostalgia in combination with the history of early train life in […]

Purple Heart recipients to be honored at Ultimate Sport Show

March 17, 2011 // 0 Comments

Honor Guard to carry flag made by Rockford woman by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL An annual harbinger of spring returns to DeVos Place this Thursday through Sunday, March 17-20. The Showspan-produced Ultimate Sport Show is eagerly awaited every year at this time by winter weary West Michiganders. Michigan sportsmen never miss this show and readers may recall how, last year, we hooked up with “Walleye Wayne” Stevenson for a guided walleye fishing charter out of Monroe, Michigan on Lake Erie. Reporter Nancy became a bona fide walleye “aFISHionado” on the morning of the early June outing as we quickly limited out with keepers all exceeding 18 inches. At this year’s Ultimate Sport Show, we are looking forward to a special ceremony, scheduled for 6 p.m. during opening night on Thursday, March 17, honoring a group of war veterans, all of whom have been awarded the Purple Heart for combat wounds. An Honor Guard representing U.S. military branches will officially thank the veterans for their sacrifices. A 3×5-foot American flag containing 1, 021 thumbprints taken primarily from veterans in West Michigan will be presented as part of this very special ceremony. Rockford resident Sherrie Coke collected the thumbprints and designed the flag entitled “Freedom” using as a model antique 48-star flag predating 1958. “Freedom” was entered in last summer’s Grand Rapids ArtPrize competition. “There’s a story behind each and every one of those thumbprints,” Coke said. “They belong to servicemen and women whose rank runs from Private through Colonel.” Coke’s father and brother are both veterans and were a motivating force in the creation of the flag. Additionally, Coke taught art classes in oil painting at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans during 2005-2006. We were fortunate enough to see “Freedom” proudly displayed in the Waters Building during ArtPrize 2010. Ironically, it was housed in the same venue as “Pandora,” the stained glass lamp creation of Rockford’s Eric Brown. “Freedom” was a heartfelt creation celebrating the bravery and sacrifice of American heroes in recognition of those who have given of themselves to protect our freedom. “Lest we not forget.” Every red stripe in the flag was composed of hundreds of veterans’ thumbprints along with blue thumbprints creating the field around the stars. It was beautiful and […]

Grand Rapids ArtPrize revisited

October 14, 2010 // 0 Comments

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL  Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. What one person may love, another person may thoroughly dislike. Add 1,713 artists from around the world displaying individual works of art into the mix and the result is the amazing Grand Rapids ArtPrize competition. Building upon last year’s initial launch of the world’s largest art competition, this year’s version was even more amazing and spectacular. ArtPrize dominated the greater Grand Rapids area news for most of September and on into early October in addition to causing a lot of buzz in the national and worldwide news media. Chosen by 38,501 active voters casting a total of 465,538 votes in two rounds over 15 days, the rankings of the top ten pieces of the 2010 ArtPrize competition were announced last Thursday evening. Picking up where we left off last year, your reporters spent the prior week seeking out the artists at their respective venues to attempt to get an inside perspective of their individual works of art. Focusing on the top three winners, here’s what we gleaned. We found the third-place ($50,000) winner Beili Liu, creator of “Lure/Wave,” street-side just as dark was falling one evening outside her ground floor venue in the new still-under-construction UICA on Fulton Street. ArtPrize attendees were separated from Liu’s creation and could only view the ethereal work through the street-side windows because of ongoing construction to the building. Even though the installation was meant to be walked through, it visually struck a cord in enough voters to place third in the prestigious competition. Liu’s spellbinding work was beautiful. “It is meant to depict the ancient Chinese legend that tells when children are born, invisible red threads connect them to the ones whom they [we] are fated to be with. Over the years of their lives, they come closer and eventually they find each other, overcoming the distance between, and cultural and social divides,” explained Liu. Ten to twelve miles of red thread were required to create three to four thousand hand-spiraled coils of red thread discs, each connected one to another by a single thread. Every coil disc is pierced in the center by a sewing needle, which enables the suspension of the discs […]