Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Art Prize

*I pulled this out of the archives, for this linkup. Art Prize is one of the biggest reasons I love my hometown. Art Prize is a populace judged art contest that takes place for about 2-1/2 weeks straddling the end of September and beginning of October. There is art of all genres and mediums. The 10 entries that receive the most votes get monetary prizes. The entries are inside and out, throughout buildings in a 3 mile square in downtown GR. It is a very energizing community experience that we enjoy being a part of. The streets are swarming with people, and it is about the only time I ever take the time to wander around downtown. We eat in local restaurants (that seem too inconvenient during other parts of the year), we go down as a family several times to enjoy the art. We get to experience our awesome city architecture, much of which has only been built the past 10 years. Enjoy a look at some of the entries in last year's Art Prize. And maybe plan to attend this year's.*

If you live in Grand Rapids, and don't know that Art Prize is going on, I think you could be compared to an ostrich with its head buried in the sand. There are orange and white signs all over the 3 mile square area declaring "Art Prize Venue" ("menu" in LC terms). There are orange arrows, and orange conversation bubbles, to say nothing of random bits of art visible all over the city.
And I love it! One thing that I am NOT is artsy. My artistic talent in nil. I still draw stick people. My four year old draws better than I do. I can't draw animals, the only painting I do is on big walls where I'm just covering it with one color-no lines, faux finishes, etc.. Having been married to a rather artistic Mr. Hippie, some things have rubbed off. Like colors. I get the color wheel better now. And you can put a lot together that I never would have imagined. But I digress...
Though I lack artistic skill, I'd like to imagine that I have some art appreciation. And I want to instill that into my kids. So we go down to Art Prize several times each year. Now, this might not mean much to any real artists, but most of my favorites have been in the top 10 the past 2 years. According to a rather scathing article in the GR Press, that means that my artistic tastes are rather immature, bohemian, and common. Definitely plebeian and unsophisticated. Oh well. I guess I'm not on the artist band wagon, though I must be on the public opinion one.=)
Though I appreciate the top 10, I don't think they all are of the same quality or belong on the same playing field. Take the mosaic, "The Crucifixion". What an amazing piece! It took over 3000 hours to put it together. The light seems to flow from it. The artist made it for a church in CA, and entered it here. Church art has a long history. There has been works of art since the time people began meeting in church buildings. But, do the living statues, "under construction" require the same talent? Is it even comparable? The public seems to think so.

the crucifixion

a tea kettle

my kids get a kick out of acting like wild animal sculptures are biting them. Go figure.

The Monkeys on the Bridge. It is just fun.

Top 10 Praying Mantis. Actually pretty neat.

My good friend Miriam's husband's face was the model for Touch Me.
Dan is aka the artist's, Anna Donahue, son

Touch Me...okay we will.

the states made out of cast iron pans.

I really like the bears in the fountain. But its not the skill of the artist that captures me about them. Its the whimsical-ness. And the placement in the fountain. I mean, it wouldn't have the same effect in your backyard.

bride on a bench

Rain is cool. Rather similar to the red disk and string thing last year. Btw, this picture is not of Rain. It was just a random something.
Tempest, the paper cut out thing, is amazing. Again, the time it took, and the skill blows me away. You can talk about technique and disparage her efforts, but really, it is something I could never do. And probably not you either.
I also liked Gerald R. Ford. The expression with which the statue is looking at the bust, the way he is holding his pipe-its ironic, and very cool. I liked it.=)

I also liked several paintings, drawings, and photographs.
There is a series of 4 photographs of a girl in a blue dress in the rain, and then in a pool, on the outside wall of Kitchen 25. I just really liked it. Also the memorial to the fallen soldiers at the Ford Museum. It made me cry. I liked the huge bronze of the warrior at the Ford, though my personal opinion was that it would have been improved without the chains. But then then artist's message would have had to be different. I liked the disc and lens piece at the Art Museum. It was unique.
At the Independent Bank on Monroe Center there are 5 photographs by a local photographer of her daughters. They are very sweet photos. And there is a pencil drawing of a little boy called "wonder" that is in the lobby. My friend, D. Joseph Aho, also drew a picture of a baby and the cross that is displayed at City View church. His message really speaks to your heart. There is a photograph in a restaurant, called "bride on a bench" that is very cool. I liked the flag things that hang the height of the J.W. Marriot and are illuminated at night. Or the huge flag of the flags of all nation hanging out front of that hotel. "Every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord." I liked the huge tyvek cut out piece hanging in the Devos Place. The leaves, fish and natural stuff that he incorporated into the piece are amazing. And why he did it. He displayed at the same place last year during Art Prize last year. As he watched the river flow by and the seasons change from summer to fall, he got his inspiration. And how about Anna's "touch me"? I saw many people doing just that. They totally got her message.  All these pieces are ones I'd display in my house. See, my common opinion is that art is like wine, "the right one to go with  your dish is the one that you like."=) Maybe that makes me unsophisticated, but I don't care. And the if the visual impact isn't enough for some of the entries, surely some of the "artist statements"make you want to applaud. I especially like the ten commandments/US Constitution statement out side of the Devos. This artist's point was that it is very hard to teach your children right and wrong in this culture that thinks of right and wrong as a very fluid idea. Yet here are two very definite standards. And that is the weakness and strength of Art Prize. It is why its so popular. Everyone and anyone can enter whatever they feel is "art". They can make their "art"for whatever reason. And everyone can find something that fits into their idea of what art is. There is no real standard, but opinion. (similar to the French revolution=)) There is no "right or wrong". But frankly, I am impressed the most by the people who give glory to God, the Creator of everything, for their skill and in their art. 
That, to me, is the best art.