ArtPrize names 2021 winners

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Virginia Lee Montgomery's Sword in the Sphinx. Courtesy Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

ArtPrize crowned the audio installation of Before You Go by Christian Reichle and Monica Pritchard the grand prize winner of the two-week event.

Reichle and Pritchard took home a grand prize of $50,000. The audio installation is of a phone booth where spectators can go inside and hear excerpts of a series of interviews with members of the public from Grand Rapids and around the country.

ArtPrize also named the artists who received juried awards, independent awards and honorable mentions.

There were four winners for the juried awards and four honorable mentions for four categories, 2D, 3D, installation and time-based. Each winner received $10,000, and the honorable mentions received $2,500.

Juried award winners

  • Aging Out/18 years old by John Paul Goncalves: a 2D art project featuring seven portraits with different teenagers who aged out of the foster care system.
  • Soaked by Holly Ross: 3D ceramic cardboard boxes that have imprints of snow or mud. Ross said it tells a personal history that contradicts its intended or interpreted function.
  • Project Unity: Ten Miles of Track in One Day by Hwa-Jeen Na and Yuge Zhou: an installation of a three-channel video project that memorializes 20,000 Chinese emigrants who were employed by the Central Pacific Railroad between 1863 and 1869 to construct the western half of the Pacific railway, the first transcontinental railroad that bridged the east and west coasts of the U.S. The names of over 100 railway laborers are embedded in the projection.
  • Artpod by Stephen Smith in collaboration with other artists: a time-based micro-gallery and event space created from an old shipping container.

Juried awards honorable mentions

  • Ask the Animals and They Wil… by T.J. Lick: six pieces of 2D wildlife paintings. Each piece is at least five feet.
  • Sword in the Sphinx by Virginia Lee Montgomery: a 3D sculpture that includes a resin-cast copy of a historical French garden sphinx in the likeness of the 18th century court mistress, Madame de Pompadour, impaled with a hand-forged, artist-smithed sword.
  • Ile Itaja — Shoppinglist by Olaniyi R. Akindiya Akirash: an installation of a mixed media packaging boxes sculpture that highlights the problem of hunger.
  • In My Dreams We Levitate by Eli Kahn, Jordan Hamilton and Eric Friedlander: a time-based musical composition written/recorded by composer and guitarist Eli Kahn of Indiana and mixed in audio by Eric Friedlander of California. Jordan Hamilton of Kalamazoo arranged and recorded the string parts. The audio is about achieving freedom through their dreams, aspirations and passions despite being confined due to the pandemic.

The independent award winners received contemporary Black art awards, Asian art awards, Artista Latino awards and $2,000 each. The Honda Design and Drive winner won a two-year lease on a Honda Civic

Contemporary Black art awards

  • Planted by the Sacred Streams of Grace by Brian Whitfield: an installation based on Psalm 1:3, “That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither — whatever they do prospers.” Whitfield used latex and acrylic to paint a prayer of gratitude.
  • Ile Itaja — Shoppinglist by Olaniyi R. Akindiya Akirash

Asian art awards 

  • “Before You Go” by Christian Reichle and Monica Pritchard
  • Paper Cinderella by Michal Overholts: a 3D dress made of over 3,000 paper flowers. Each flower was cut and made by hand from various shades of white, purple and black cardstock.

Artista Latino awards

  • Guardians of Sacred Space by Florencia Clement de Grandprey: a 2D series composed of nine pieces painted in acrylics on rugs. Each rug has a face.
  • The 20ths of January Lunar Eclipse over Grand Rapids by Russell Cooper: a photograph of a composition of the night sky on Jan. 20, 2019 and Jan. 20, 2021 during a lunar eclipse.

Lakeshore Drive by Jimmy Cobb was the winner of Honda Design and Drive award.

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