Michigan quiltmaker wins top prize at ArtPrize, again

Oct 10, 2015

For the second time, Ann Loveless of Frankfort, Michigan has won the top prize at Grand Rapids' annual ArtPrize competition.

This year, she had some help.


The 7th annual ArtPrize competition wraps up in Grand Rapids this weekend, and tonight the winners will be announced.

At stake are two separate $200,000 grand prizes. 

One winner be selected by a panel of art experts, and the other will be decided by public vote.

Art Prize organizers say there were over 1,550 entries in this year’s competition. 

Part of the Rumsey St. Project, this auto body garage was painted by Los Angeles-based artist Mark Dean Veca

The Next Idea

Collaboration between people of different backgrounds, expertise and points of view is one of the key drivers of innovation.

There’s one entry in this year’s Artprize in Grand Rapids that takes collaboration to another level.

Jeremy Peters

You don't hear a lot of hot, danceable tracks about gentrification.

But Detroit emcee/slam poet/teacher Mic Write writes ear worms about the city’s evolution, his pride in its unsung neighborhoods, and how good it feels to disprove anyone who didn’t expect much of a kid from the D.

DisArt festival

A major art show opens in Grand Rapids on Friday.

The DisArt festival features the work of roughly 50 disabled artists, film makers and others. 

“What the whole festival is doing is flipping our expectations of disability on its head,” says festival director Christopher Smit. 



If you really, really love history – of if you really, really love Ludington – then having a 19-day event called "History Prize" in the Lake Michigan town of 8,000 sounded like a great idea.  

For less ardent fans, however, the concept of three weeks of exhibits, collections, and "living history" tours put on by historians competing for cash prizes may have been less than thrilling. 

Either way, it's not happening now. At least, not in Ludington.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

ArtPrize, the big art competition in Grand Rapids, announced Thursday it’ll debut in Dallas in 2016.

But the real news isn’t Dallas so much. It’s that there’s talk of even more competitions in cities across the country. And it means that ArtPrize in Grand Rapids will make money from licensing the brand to those cities.

In ArtPrize, the public votes for the winner. Juried prizes are awarded too. Those juried prizes have been getting bigger each year. Winners get cash. More than $500,000 was awarded to the winners this fall.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

You may have heard of ArtPrize. It’s an art competition in Grand Rapids where hundreds of thousands of tourists flock every fall to vote for their favorite art.

ArtPrize’s founder wanted to start a public conversation about art. History Prize founder Mara MacKay wants to start a conversation about history.

“History is a social common denominator for all of us,” MacKay said. “Our endeavor is really to help with an artistic expression and provide the opportunities to remember and articulate the past.”


A single artist captivated both the public and art experts at this year’s ArtPrize competition. 

For the first time, a single artist has won both the juried and public grand prizes at ArtPrize in Grand Rapids.

Born in Pakistan, Anila Quayyum Agha teaches art at the Herron School of Art and Design at Indiana University, in Indianapolis.   Her work “intersections” consists of a six-foot cube, illuminated from within, projecting complex designs of light and shadow around a room. The effect envelops the room and all the people in it.

Abir Ali

When you invite the public to carve messages into a giant table you've spent four months crafting by hand, the result is that a LOT of people take you up on it, and the end product looks something like this:

Professional and personal partners Abir Ali and Andre Sandifer are furniture makers based in Detroit. They built a 30-foot table, made from walnut trees from the Midwest. They took inspiration from the biblical story of the Last Supper, and they were especially moved by the story's themes of trust and forgiveness.

Gary Syrba

It's going to be crazy in Grand Rapids this Friday night.

Hundreds, maybe thousands of people will flood downtown for the big announcement: This year’s ArtPrize winners.  

As Michigan Radio's Kate Wells reports, ArtPrize has been going on long enough now that it's having some more subtle effects, from how Grand Rapids museums think about their audiences to even inspiring an ArtPrize marriage proposal. 

Among the thousands of visitors to Grand Rapids for ArtPrize, many are children. This will be the first West Michigan generation of kids to grow up being exposed to thousands of pieces of art.

Time-Based: "Peralux" by NewD Media

After 11 days of public voting, 20 finalists out of 1,536 entries have been selected for the ArtPrize grand prize of $200,000.

So far, over 37,000 people have cast votes in four categories: two dimensional, three-dimensional, time-based and installation artwork.

According to Christian Gaines, ArtPrize executive director, this public involvement is important to giving ArtPrize its societal relevance. 


The annual ArtPrize competition is moving into its final phase in Grand Rapids. 

Organizers have announced the top 20 finalists in the public voting for the $200,000 grand prize. 

Dominic Pangborn of Grosse Pointe is one of the finalists. He says he’s enjoyed meeting with the people visiting ArtPrize this year.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The streets of Grand Rapids are alive today as ArtPrize gets underway.

More than 1,500 works of art are in competition for more than a half-million dollars in prize money.

Christian Gaines is ArtPrize’s executive director. He says they’ve revamped the competition to let the public and art experts pick the top 20 pieces.


Art Prize will once again take over the streets of Grand Rapids starting on Wednesday.

The annual art extravaganza known as Art Prize is in its sixth year.

Nearly two thousand artists have created more than 1500 works of art for the competition. There’s more than a half million dollars in prize money on the line during the 19 day art festival.

By the time Art Prize comes to a close in mid-October about 400,000 people are expected to visit the 174 art venues around town.

Michigan State University College of Arts and Sciences

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - Figures that appear to be holding guns and binoculars stand sentry on a downtown Grand Rapids rooftop.

They are a statement of art, not a call to arms.

The Grand Rapids Press reports  Saturday that crews have been installing "...there's something happening here..." on the roof and terrace of the Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts. The work is Henry Brimmer's fourth entry in Michigan's annual ArtPrize competition, which opens Sept. 24.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

ArtPrize, the annual art competition in Grand Rapids, will still award $560,000 this year, but professional jurors will now have a bigger say in who gets the money.

The people who visit ArtPrize and register to vote have always decided the winner. But this year there will be two top prizes, each worth $200,000. One will go to the top vote-getter. The other winner will be decided by three art jurors.

Dana Friis-Hansen heads the Grand Rapids Arts Museum. He thinks the change will attract more professional artists to ArtPrize.

Update 11:15 p.m.

A giant quilt depicting the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore won the top prize in the Grand Rapids-based ArtPrize competition Friday night.

Ann Loveless, of Frankfort Michigan, made the quilt.

Past ArtPrize winners have included paintings, pencil drawings, and mosaics. This year’s is a super detailed quilt that looks like a photo of a fabulous sunset at the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. It’s 20 feet wide and 5 feet tall.

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

When a veteran comes home from war with an obvious injury, like a missing arm, they know they'll have to talk about it.

Some vets get so used to telling that war wound story, it becomes almost routine.

What’s harder to talk about, and to understand, are the invisible injuries.

That's why a nonprofit called Fashion Has Heart is pairing wounded vets with graphic designers.

Together, they create t-shirts and combat boots that reflect each vet's experience.

And right now they’re on display at ArtPrize, where anybody can buy - and wear - the results.

ArtPrize / ArtPrize

The Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library and Museum's employees have been "busting their tails" to make ArtPrize go smoothly, in the words of one ArtPrize organizer.

It's their big spotlight: last year, some 195,000 visitors trooped through the museum to check out the ArtPrize entries housed in the Ford. Even more visitors are expected this year, according to one museum official.

But now, with a government shutdown just hours away, the Ford museum could go dark at midnight tonight.

And two of Artprize's top 10 finalists are still on display in the museum.


Hundreds of people flooded downtown Grand Rapids over the weekend to hear the top 10 finalists of this year’s ArtPrize announced.

More than 1,500 works of art, with more than 160 venues, and 47 countries represented. Those are just a few statistics of this year's ArtPrize in Grand Rapids opening today with some 400,000 expected visitors to the city. Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith was on the scene, and we spoke to her as well as the new Executive Director of ArtPrize.

And, Congressman Justin Amash has decided not to run for U.S. senate. What does this decision mean for the rest of the candidates?

The University of Michigan announced earlier that they will now offer in-state tuition to undocumented students. We talked with Serena Davila, the executive director for Legislative Affairs for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, about what this means for the students.

Also, how well are health care systems in the U.S. working? A new report by the Commonwealth Fund gave us some answers.

And, the small town of Colon in southwest Michigan has been dubbed the “Magic Capital of the World.” We spoke with one resident to find out why that is.

First on the show, our weekly check-in with Detroit News Business Columnist Daniel Howes. And, on the front-burner? The mediation talks between Detroit's Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr and dozens and dozens of lawyers representing the city's creditors. Howes joined us to tell us more about the mediation.

Today was the opening day for ArtPrize in Grand Rapids. And this year, ArtPrize has a new executive director, Christian Gaines. He was formerly with the American Film Institute and

Christian Gaines joined us today from Grand Rapids to talk about this new position and what the event means for the city.

Listen to the full interview above.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Alright, Michigan art lovers, it is time.

ArtPrize opened today, and for the next 19 days downtown Grand Rapids will be crammed with art from all over the world, and we the public get to decide which artist is going to win the $200,000 top prize.

This is an art show that Time magazine called one of 5 festive events you won’t want to miss in 2013, and as you might expect, Grand Rapids is buzzing.

Michigan Radio’s West Michigan reporter Lindsey Smith joined us today from Grand Rapids to talk about the show. 

Listen to the full interview above.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Art is popping up like mushrooms in downtown Grand Rapids. That’s because ArtPrize kicks off this week.

The big winner of the art competition is decided by the hundreds of thousands of people who visit the event and vote. But there are juried awards too. In all more than $500,000 in prize money is up for grabs.

Norman Wilder has been painting an 18-foot long, 10-foot high mural on the outside wall of a risk management company since last Wednesday.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

The organizers behind the annual international ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan are going to Minnesota to seek pitches from the arts community there.

The person or group with the winning pitch will receive $5,000 to install their work at the Gillett Bridge in Grand Rapids for this year's ArtPrize event, according to the Associated Press.

ArtPrize organizers say they will hold an "ArtPrize Pitch Night" in Minneapolis. They say the process will be modeled on "5x5" events in Grand Rapids in which entrepreneurs have five minutes to pitch their idea to five judges.

Here's more from their website:

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Co-owners of Barfly Ventures Mark and Michele Sellers wanted to thank their employees for working their tails off during ArtPrize. So they designated Tuesday as employee appreciation day; whatever alcohol they sold would be split among the employees.

But before they opened, Mark Sellers got a call from the liquor control commission. Turns out, the state doesn’t like servers having an incentive to sell lots of alcohol, and it’s against the law.

“I can’t really be too mad at them because they gave us a courtesy call in advance and told us ‘hey don’t’ do this or you’re going to get in trouble’. It’d be like if a police officer called you and told you to slow down or he’s going to give you a ticket,” Mark Sellers said.

So instead of alcohol sales the Sellers’ will give their employees the food sales, not for just one day but three. They’ll pool the money from food sales at all three Grand Rapids establishments (HopCat, McFadden’s, and Stella’s Lounge) and split the total among all employees; cooks, servers, busboys, managers, and even HopCat’s official “chief beer geek” I met a couple weeks ago.

'Elephants' by Adonna Khare - 2012 ArtPrize winner.

Adonna Khare won the big $200,000 prize for the 2012 ArtPrize competition in Grand Rapids for her pencil drawing 'Elephants.'

From her ArtPrize profile page:

Raised in a small town in Iowa, I've been drawing my family and animals since I was three. I create using the pencil, the eraser and a sock as my tools. The drawings are not pre-planned rather they evolve through my experiences with people and the absurdities of life.

Michigan Radio's Lindsey Smith reported on the announcement last night.

Here's a video of her installing her entry at the Grand Rapids Art Museum:

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

A part-time art teacher from Burbank, California won ArtPrize in Grand Rapids Friday night.

This was the first time Adonna Khare entered the art competition.

“I’m beyond grateful. I’m excited and completely surprised. But words cannot describe how happy I’m feeling right now,” Khare said.

Start practicing your drum rolls, people. 

It's ArtPrize's big night, with some $560,ooo ready to be handed out to the winners in downtown Grand Rapids this evening.  

With voting closed as of midnight today, let's go over the rules one last time: the public votes for one set of winners, and a jury selects their own favorites. Organizers are hoping there'll be some overlap, as they're trying to keep the more avant-garde artists involved in ArtPrize, and not just the big crowd-pleasers.