Over the last few weeks we’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about ArtPrize, billed as part arts festival, part social experiment. It’s giving away the world’s largest art prize—$250,000—and a 1995 Cedar Springs High School grad has the chance to win it.
Lisa Spielmaker, now of Lakeview, is a bookkeeper by day at White Creek Lumber in Cedar Springs, but she loves art and paints in her spare time. She took her first art class between 5th and 6th grade, and while in high school, two of her pieces were chosen for a show at Calvin College, for which she received an award. She earned a degree in 1998 from Grand Rapids Community College, where she focused on art and art history. Two of her pieces are still in GRCC’s collection.
When she heard about ArtPrize, she was intrigued.
“It’s exciting. I think it’s cool to be part of something that brings people together,” said Lisa.
ArtPrize is a radical new art contest based in Grand Rapids. Over 1,260 artists will display their work in 159 different venues in Grand Rapids. The boundaries are Leonard to the north, Wealthy to the south, College Ave. to the east, and Straight/Alpine Ave. to the west. The international contest will be decided solely on a public vote.
For her entry, Lisa created a piece of art titled “Essence” that is being displayed at the Ledyard building, 125 Ottawa, in Grand Rapids. According to her work statement about the painting, ESSENCE is “the inward nature, the true substance, or constitution of anything, as opposed to what is accidental, phenomenal, illusory. To me nature is one of the greatest inspirations. It brings us an inner peace. It is the essence of everything.”
Lisa said that to her, the greatest pleasure in being an artist is to have a meaningful effect on other people. “Art is something that should inspire others. Art is the perfect way to communicate with people. I want people to see my work and take it for what it is. I don’t create to be picked apart or critiqued. I create to create. I believe that is what art is, the love of creating something and no matter what it is, it is beautiful. Out of that blank white canvas, or board, or paper was nothing, and it became something.”
Voting began yesterday for artist’s works. Those who want to vote can pre-register online at www.artprize.org, then go to one of the various locations in Grand Rapids to register in person, and then start to vote. During the first week, artists will check out and vote on individual works of art, giving them a thumbs up or thumbs down. Voting can be done online at home, through texting on your cell phone, through your mobile browser, or iPhone app. Live results can be viewed online, and the first week of voting ends September 30. The top ten finalists will be announced the evening of October 1, and then you can only vote once, for one of the top ten pieces of art. Voting then ends Oct. 7. Winners will be announced in a celebration at Rosa Parks Circle, October 8, at 7 p.m.
For more info please visit www.artprize.org.