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ArtPrize announces 2021 grand prize winner

Before You Go - Grand Prize winner.JPG
Posted at 7:58 PM, Oct 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-01 22:20:53-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — We have a winner!

ArtPrize made its grand return for the first time since 2018, bring artwork, artists and art lovers to the Grand Rapids area.

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

During an hourlong awards show Friday night, organizers announced the winner of the $50,000 public grand prize and several juried awards.

The $50,000 grand prize winner 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.” Along with the award, Whitfield received $2,000 for the winning piece. The installation was inspired by Psalm 1:3.

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

In addition to winning the $50,000 grand prize, Christian Reichle and Monica Pritchard also took home one of two Asian Art Awards for their entry “Before You Go.” An audio-based installation, “Before You Go” features a series of interviews conducted with people from Grand Rapids and other parts of the country. Installed as a vintage phone booth, visitors are invited to enter and hear excerpts from the interviews. The goal of the project was to spark conversation with people from diverse backgrounds and generations on the topics of life, death, dreams and regrets.

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

Florencia Clement de Grandprey took home one of two Artista Latino Awards for her piece called “Guardians of Sacred Space.” The artist designed the series to inspire and empower people and to “remind us of our inner warrior and to fill our space of calm and positive energy.”

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

John Paul Goncalves won the $10,000 2D Juried Award for his entry titled “Aging Out / 18 years old.” The seven-portrait project features different teens who aged out of the foster care system and is made out of paper squares.

The $2,500 2D Juried Award runner-up was T.J. Lick for "Ask the Animals and They Wil..." The wildlife paintings are extra-large with minute details.

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

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

The Installation Juried Award winner was Hwa-Jeen Na + Yuge Zhou for “Project Unity: Ten Miles of Track in One Day.” The project memorializes Chinese railroad workers in the U.S. who laid 690 miles of tracks but were rarely identified in historical records.

In addition to winning the Contemporary Black Art Award for “Ile Itaja – Shoppinglist,” Olaniyi R. Akindiya Akirash was also named the runner-up for the Installation Juried Award. The entry depicts mini grocery stores built from food box to speak to the unique moments of the past year.

The winner of the $10,000 Time Based Juried Award Winner was Stephen Smith for his entry “Art Pod.” The artist created the piece from an old shipping container.

Eli Kahn, Jordan Hamilton and Eric Friedlander took home the Time Based Juried Award for their entry “(In My Dreams We) Levitate.” The entry is actually a musical composition with immersive audio 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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