Artists from the Upper Peninsula will have their art displayed at the world’s largest art competition – ArtPrize 10, which runs from Sept. 19 through Oct. 7 in Grand Rapids.
A special preview exhibit and Meet the Artists Opening Reception event, organized by the Mackinac Arts Council and the Bonifas Arts Center, was held on Sunday, Aug. 12 and featured ArtPrize-bound artwork from U.P. artists at the Center for the Arts at Mackinac Island’s Mission Point Resort. This exhibit, entitled “Crossing the Straits,” featuring art from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, will be on display through Sept. 7, just prior to ArtPrize viewing in Grand Rapids.
Selected artwork is also featured in stores, businesses, and tourist sites throughout Mackinac Island through Sept. 7. Artwork from over 40 artists from across the U.P. is on display in the “Crossing the Straits” exhibit. One of the artists, Rose Peltier of Escanaba, whose ArtPrize entry, “Marley”, a large quilted lion sculpture that took Peltier over nine months to create, said, “As an artist, it’s an honor to be accepted into ArtPrize.”
“Marley” is being featured in the lobby area of the Pink Pony Restaurant (voted “One of America’s 10 Best Restaurants for Outdoor Dining” by The Daily Meal) on Main Street, Mackinac Island.
Another Escanaba artist displaying for the fourth year at ArtPrize, Carol Irving, commented on the exhibit of U.P. artists: “Just look at the quality of the work! I think it’s amazing.”
AttenDees at the Opening Reception agreed. The artwork created by Upper Peninsula artists has proven to be both educational and inspirational for viewers. One art viewer at the event commented, “It’s amazing the talent in the U.P.!”
Upper Peninsula legislators in both the House and Senate are also supportive of “Crossing the Straits.” In a letter initiated by State Senator Tom Casperson’s office, and signed by U.P. legislators, they said the following: “Upper Peninsula arts organizations realize they must work together on a regional level for mutual goals and shared benefits… We enthusiastically endorse the inclusion of “Crossing the Straits,” and we support this endeavor.”
Bonifas Gallery and Regional Projects Director Pasqua Warstler explained the impetus behind the “Crossing the Straits” exhibit:
“By presenting some of our strongest, most creative artists and showcasing the contemporary artwork being created here in the region, we are presenting the U.P. as a must-see destination. The U.P. has a vibrant art scene that attracts artists from throughout the country for its natural beauty and isolation, but the region’s vastness also makes it difficult to gain recognition. ArtPrize is a great opportunity for those artists to be seen and get connected to others.”
ArtPrize is an open international art competition decided by public vote and expert jury that takes place in a number of venues throughout Grand Rapids. Two $200,000 grand prizes and eight category awards – more than $500,000 in total – is awarded, half decided by public vote and half decided by a jury of art experts. Art entries from all over the world cover three square miles of downtown Grand Rapids – and it’s all free and open to the public. The art will be viewed by approximately 400,000 visitors, giving the message that the U.P. is a unique arts and culture destination.
This year, the official U.P. artists’ venue at ArtPrize in Grand Rapids is The Venue Tower Building. “We are happy for the enthusiasm from our official U.P. ArtPrize venue,” Warstler added. “The Venue Tower Building is in the hub of the ArtPrize district and it’s a great location for us.”
To check in on the latest on the U.P. artists exhibiting at ArtPrize, visit http://www.bonifasarts.org. For more information on ArtPrize 10, visit www.artprize.org.