Was Squire reporter the lucky charm? by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Anyway you look at it the last calendar year was very, very good for Mia Tavonatti, the California artist who was born and raised in Michigan’s U. P. In the course of 51 weeks Tavonatti took home the $100,000 second place 2010 ArtPrize award for her stained glass mosaic titled, “Svelata”. To top it all off, last Thursday night the talented artist was awarded the $250,000 first place award in this year’s 2011 Grand Rapids ArtPrize competition for another stained glass mosaic titled, “Crucifixion”. Both pieces were on display at DeVos Place and attracted thousands of admirers. Enriched to the tune of $350,000, Tavonatti must think that the hand of God was on her shoulder as she created these two beautiful and breathtaking mosaics, each painstakingly fitted with thousands of individually cut stained glass pieces. To top it all off, Tavonatti was able to sell her winning 2010-second place entry to a private party for an undisclosed sum. As per contest rules, her winning 2011 first place entry now becomes the property of ArtPrize. Tavonatti will not be allowed to win a back-to-back award in next year’s 2012 competition. A new rule established this year disqualifies all of this year’s ten finalists from participating in the next year’s ArtPrize. All ten, however, are allowed to enter again in subsequent years. One can only wonder if Squire reporter Nancy Hill wasn’t a lucky charm for Tavonatti. In the two pictures accompanying this article, one taken prior to the close of the 2010 ArtPrize competition and another prior to the close of this year’s competition, Tavonatti can be seen gleefully embracing an equally effusive Nancy. Since Tavonatti can’t repeat her winning performance next year, perhaps another artist would like to “rub shoulders” with the Squire’s lucky charm. Any takers out there? Call Kate at the Squire (866-4465) to arrange a photo-op during next year’s 2012 ArtPrize competition!
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 […]