Art @ the Green winning entries shine

By Curtis Wildfong • Last Updated 10:23 pm on Friday, August 22, 2014

Susan Moss’ painting “Stone Bridge at Baldwin Lake” was the public vote winner in this year’s Art @ the Green Event. — Courtesy photo

“Temporary,” a piece by Montcalm Community College art students in collaboration with instructor Debbie Bell, earned second place in the 3D category of Art @ the Green. Pictured with the art piece are MCC students Cassie Hale, left, and Abby Wood. — Courtesy photo

“Turn Four,” a motorcycle hand-crafted from wire by Federal-Mogul retiree Dennis Russell, won first place in the 3D category. — Daily News/Curtis Wildfong

Stanton resident Laurie Lehman earned second place in the 2D category with her oil painting titled “Strength of the Dune.” — Daily News/Curtis Wildfong

Greenville resident Crystal Gross took home first place in the 2D category for her charcoal drawing titled “Sunshine.” — Daily News/Curtis Wildfong

GREENVILLE — Awards have been announced for the 3rd annual Art @ the Green event for both 3D and 2D art pieces.

With two places for each category decided by art judges and also an award for the top vote getter from the public, the event was highly competitive among the artists, who came from throughout the area to submit 31 entries.

In the 3D category, Greenville resident Dennis Russell earned first place with his piece “Turn Four,” a hand-crafted dirt track motorcycle made from wire. Russell, a Federal-Mogul retiree, has no background in art and has never constructed an art piece of any kind, but has always had an interest in motorcycles.

“I’m a motorcycle enthusiast,” he said. “I’ve had probably 70 or 80 motorcycles.”

When he heard of the Art @ the Green contest, he said he felt compelled to put together something, and he always wanted to use wire to build a motorcycle.

“I had some kind of an idea like this for a while and just did it,” he said.

He bent all of the wire by hand to craft the motorcycle and welded it together. When he heard he had earned first place for 3D pieces, he was surprised.

“You always hope for something like that,” he said, but without any background in art he didn’t feel it was a possibility. “If I can win, everybody should enter something next year to make Art @ the Green much bigger.”

Taking second place in the 3D category was a group of Montcalm Community College students in collaboration with instructor Debbie Bell with their pice “Temporary.”

Taking home the $500 first prize in the 2D category was 21-year-old Greenville resident Crystal Gross with her charcoal drawing titled “Sunshine.” The piece, which took Gross around 12 hours to complete, was drawn from a photograph of her manager’s daughter.

“He asked me to draw this, it’s from his own personal photograph,” Gross said.

Gross has been interested in art since she was young, growing up in what she called “a really artistic family.” When she heard she was given first place by the judges, she said she was thrilled.

“I was super excited. I’m still excited,” she said. “It meant a lot to me because I put so much time and effort into it.”

Second place in the 2D category went to Laurie Lehman of Stanton with her oil painting titled “Strength of the Dune.” Lehman, who has been painting for 15 years and has focused on oil paintings the last two years, said she loves painting landscapes and her Art @ the Green piece portrays one of her favorite spots, the Sleeping Bear Dunes.

Using photographs and notes from her last visit to the dunes, Lehman painted a spot on the dunes that overlooked Lake Michigan. She said she has painted the same spot several times, and best enjoys painting landscapes while at the site.

“It’s especially nice when I’m painting on scene because you’re really in the moment,” she said.

She too was excited to hear she was given second place by judges. She earned second place in the same category last year as well.

Taking home the public vote prize of $500 was Susan Moss of Greenville with her painting “Stone Bridge at Baldwin Lake.”

As for the event itself, organizers said it was a success.

“There were just beautiful pieces of art,” said Ed Koehn, the event’s sponsor. “You don’t appreciate it until you can get out and look at these. It’s such nice artwork. It’s just amazing to see the talent we have surrounding this community.”

All of the winning pieces of art will continue to be displayed at Ed Koehn Ford dealership in Greenville until Aug. 29.

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