13 local artists to compete in Grand Rapids’ ArtPrize

By Elisabeth Waldon • Last Updated 12:41 pm on Monday, September 17, 2012

GRAND RAPIDS — Thirteen local artists will be competing in the fourth annual ArtPrize, which gets under way Wednesday in Grand Rapids.
ArtPrize is a unique event which allows the public to vote and choose the winners. Ten cash prizes will be awarded, including a first prize of $200,000. The event ends Oct. 7.

Here’s a look at local artists and their projects:

Ken Crouse of Carson City

Title: “Father, Son, Spirit”

Displayed at: First Congregational Church, 10 E. Park Place NE

Medium: Styrofoam and plaster.

Description: “Father, Son, Spirit is a large sculpture, which I did for my church, Trinity Church in Stanton. Since the name of our church is Trinity, I decided to make a piece about the Trinity, a mysterious teaching from the Bible that there is one God, but he is three beings, each one separate, yet unified, unique, yet the same.”

Background: “I’ve been making art since I was a kid. I like to work in a variety of mediums. I’ve been drawing caricatures at weekend arts and crafts shows for the past 20 years. Recently, I’ve been interested in creating 3D works, trying to combine realism with abstraction.”

Catherine Behnke of Greenville

Title: “Guitar Hero”
Displayed at: St. Cecilia Music Center, 24 Ransom Ave. NE

Medium: Photograph.

Description: “This photograph was taken when this little girl was less than a week old. The guitar and case belongs to her great-grandmother. It was shot with available light.”

Background: “I’ve been in the photography field for 12 years. I see things in pictures. I have a studio in downtown Greenville and it is my dream come true. I love the feeling of capturing priceless moments for people to cherish forever.”


Lyle Fales of Greenville

Title: “Put On A Happy Face”

Displayed at: West Coast Coffee, 55 Monroe Center NW

Medium: Ink and colored pencil.

Description: “OK, you’re smiling, but really?”

Background: “I’m an artist, musician, writer and actor, but I still have a day job. I’m a cartoonist at heart, but I practice several types of art disciplines. I am inspired by the Civil War, pre-Elvis R&B and 1960s TV. I find it difficult to draw without Miles Davis, Tom Waites, The Beatles or Dylan playing in the background.”

Angie Ruff of Greenville

Title: “The Well-Conditioned Middle Weight Athlete of Dogdom.”

Displayed at: Monarchs Club Corner Tap & Grill, 646 Stocking NW

Medium: Oil on board.

Description: None given.

Background: “I am a self-taught painter and my concentration is in portraits. I love to paint pets, as well as people and, yes, even Barbie dolls. I prefer a modern, funky style as opposed to anything too traditional. I have competed in local competitions including ArtPrize 2010 and 2011.”

Judy Rogers of Gowen

Title: “Love Is …”

Displayed at: YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids, 475 Lake Michigan Drive NW

Medium: Mixed media.

Description: “This will be a rotating globe of the world created with children’s drawings. The children attend Lincoln Heights and Cedar Crest Elementary School in Greenville. Melted crayons for the water and painted stones, also by the children. There is also a whiteboard with drawings, with a chalkboard that people may write on. The globe will play music by the school choir, which will be motion activated.”

Background: “I enjoy drawing, painting and doing art projects. I recently retired from Greenville Public Schools as a teacher assistant. Now I have more time to paint. This is my third time entering ArtPrize. I graduated in 2000 from Kendall College of Art and Design with a bachelor in fine arts degree.”

Kaitlynn Geers of Howard City

Title: “Innocence Corrupted”

Displayed at: St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 134 N. Division Ave.

Medium: Watercolor, peroxide and India ink.

Description: None given.

Background: “Growing up, the walls of my room were my canvas. Since then, I have enjoyed using a variety of mediums, including charcoal, watercolor painting, acrylic painting and ink. I have been creating art for as long as I can remember. This past year, I have really grown a desire to re-canvas chairs and paint them with my own flair.”

Darryl Love of Howard City

Title: “Deep Within”

Displayed at: West Coast Coffee, 55 Monroe Center NW

Medium: Oils on board.

Description: “The Earth is a massive insane asylum with endless space for miles. Everything imaginable happens here. The human body is a padded cell that padlocks and snuggles our soul deep within. This painting is a skeleton key which impales the heart of it all and, click, unlocks important answers you may have been searching for your entire life.”

Background: “My original style is molded from watching horror movies, Salvador Dali, Bosch, Joel Peter Witkin, surrealism, comics, graffiti art and a general interest in all things strange and bizarre, listening to White Zombie/Rob Zombie’s music. I’ve been drawing since I was a child. In high school, I was mentored by a tattoo artist. In 2005, I went to the Art Institute of Chicago and had some schooling at Kendall College of Art and Design to enhance my painting skills.”

Amita Modzewlewski of Sand Lake

Title: “Geschichte: The Meaning of History”

Displayed at: Bethlehem Lutheran Church, 250 Commerce Ave. SW

Medium: Steel, reflective glass and aromatic cedar.

Description: “Inspired by my mission trip to the Waodani tribe of the Amazon jungle. Gechichte is a room divider screen that draws awareness of the transformation from steward to consumer. There are tree forms that are reflected in the mirrors on the inside. The mirrors have a translucent quality that entices in a playful way to go around to view a second time. The steel side represents the effects technology of the consumer can have.”

Background: “I draw inspiration from nature. I design and build one-off furniture. My sculptural designs encourage interaction, similar to the way a child learns through play. I am currently furthering my education at Kendall College of Art & Design.”

Michelle Pittman of Sand Lake

Title: “Off The Grid”

Displayed at: Huntington/50 Monroe Place, 50 Monroe Ave. NW

Medium: Pen and marker.

Description: “I enjoy using line and shape in my work and giving a 2D piece of paper a sense of depth and movement. Off The Grid is a departure from my usual medium, photography. Both my photography and drawings use line and shape to convey movement, depth and feeling in an abstract way.”

Background: “I am a native of Grand Rapids. I have lived in the city for many years, work and attend college here. I love the fantastic architecture we have downtown and the history it holds. There are so many fantastic opportunities for the arts downtown. I often incorporate elements of downtown in my work. I believe that you should never stop learning and the best way to do that is to experience everything.”

Sarah Goller and Doris Vinton of Sand Lake

Title: “The Wall Project”

Displayed at: Downtown Courtyard by Marriott, 11 Monroe Ave.

Medium: Pen and ink line drawing with wash.

Description: “It is a bird’s-eye view of downtown Grand Rapids during the ArtPrize festival. It illustrates a wide variety of art, activities and art-lovers. We’ve included art from past festivals, along with a variety of viewers to create a loose, fun-filled festive experience.”


Sarah Goller: “When I was a young girl, my mother studied fine arts at Kendall College of Art and Design. On occasion, I was allowed to attend with her. It’s through this exposure that I found love for the arts. I enjoy writing, rendering and photography.”

Doris Vinton: “I have been creative since childhood. After having my only child, Sarah, I fell in love with photography. With growing interest in writing and illustrating children’s books, I attended Kendall College of Art and Design to earn my bachelor of fine arts. I enjoy working with watercolors.”

LeAnne Sowa of Spencer Township

Title: “Moose Bath II”

Displayed at: Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, 187 Monroe Ave. NW

Medium: Watercolor.

Description: “I use a pouring technique in my art today, so this picture will have a look all of its own. The small painting Moose Bath has been one of my most popular paintings. I’ve sold quite a few prints and I’ve gotten lots of smiles and laughs from people who see it. That is why I’ve been inspired to create a larger than life painting similar to it.”

Background: “The collection of fine art watercolors depicts some of what Michigan has to offer. Her unique watercolor style, with colorful washes and bold detail, show off the beauty to be admired. Her natural talent has been enhanced through her career by attending various professional workshops and college classes.”

Jesse VanderBand of Stanton

Title: “Two Lamps”

Displayed at: St. Cecilia Music Center, 24 Ransom Ave. NE

Medium: Earthenware and hardware.

Description: “Jesse is a ceramics artist and a Michigan native. A visual arts education student at Central Michigan University, Jesse’s work is focused on the human imagination. He enjoys creating ceramic pieces that are not only functional, but decorated with elaborate surface design. He enjoys the stories that people share and that carries through in the narratives in his carvings.”

Background: “Ever since I was young, I have had a very active imagination. I would doodle on everything and that love for imagination and doodling has brought me to the artist I am right now. My ceramics work has become focused on surface design and all of my surface work is based off of doodles in my notebook.”

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