West Michigan ArtPrize artist sells entry to ‘Ripley’s Believe It or Not!’

Posted at 9:47 PM, Oct 13, 2014

HOWARD CITY, Mich. -- An ArtPrize contestant didn’t make the cut for the top public or jury votes this year, but she is still walking away from the competition feeling extremely lucky.

Kim Froese of Howard City is one of two artists whose work was bought by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! this year.

Last week, the company was in Grand Rapids for the fifth year in a row, scoping out art that they think will be perfect for one of their museums.

Ripley’s could buy another 20 over the next couple of months, said Ripley's Vice President of Exhibits and Archives Edward Meyer.

Froese’s 2014 Artprize entry, "Face It, You Need Us,” will soon be shipped halfway across the world to the Ripley's museum in Amsterdam.

Her piece is made up of paper nests of bald faced hornets and yellow jackets. She said that it is her way of spreading a message of how important hornets are to the ecosystem by killing spiders and mosquitoes.

"It's a spectacular piece period, but pure Ripley in that it's made from something that most people would disregard and not think that you could do anything out of it," said Meyer.

Meyer said that Ripley's has bought about 60 ArtPrize entries over the years. He went so far as to say that ArtPrize is Ripley’s favorite art scouting event of the year. "It's just an opportunity for Ripley's to see what's current, what's hip, what's trending, all at one time," said Meyer.

In true Michigan fashion, Froese told the company that the piece must be picked up before deer hunting season, since the family won't be home.

Meyer said that Ripley's has another “hard list” that consists of about 15 other ArtPrize entries it has already decided to buy, with another five artists they has yet to contact.