Are you wishing you could visit an amazing art show this weekend, but can't get away from the house? Check out the homepage of Artprize, a one-of-a-kind art show put on yearly in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I had never heard of this art show until my friend Sybil mentioned it to me a few weeks ago. She'd been attending for several years and this year a friend of hers was entering a piece.

There are several things that make ArtPrize unique. First, the cash awards (and they total over 500 thousand dollars) are chosen by a combination of popular and juried vote. Unfortunately, this post comes too late to give you a chance to vote, (that ended last night at 11:59) but there's always next year. Voting happens through the website, which has pictures of each piece of art with links to the artist statement as well as some bio information.

Art can be installed anywhere in Grand Rapids; those places which can offer a venue connect up with artists needing a place to display in the months prior to the show's opening. When opening day rolls around the entire city, both indoors and out becomes an art gallery - this year's entries came to a total of 1517!

I spent a little while looking through this year's contributions and here are some that caught my eye. Each is linked to the site for additional information.
Stick-to-it-iveness by Richard Morse
Richard Morse, whose sculpture made it into the Top 10, is a cancer survivor. The horses, rising out of the water symbolize "the struggles and perseverance, the simple grace yet powerful attitude that everybody needs in difficult situations." Each horse is created from fallen branches, bringing "nature back to life."
Friends by Nnamdi Okonkwo (Nigerian)
Nnamdi Okonkwo was born in Nigeria and came to BYU-Hawaii to play basketball, but he was always drawn to art. His chosen medium, sculpture, gives him a way to express the "beauty and nobility that is in humanity." The female figures in this piece were chosen since Okonkwo feels that women best "exemplify the noble virtues such as serenity, love, hope, humility, charity, and inner strength, which enable us to face and transcend the adversities of life."
Small Parts - Comfort from 2000 Cups of Tea by Lynn Johnson
Lynn Johnson collected tea bags from those cups shared with family and friends to create this mixed media piece of art which measures 10.5 feet high by 5.5 feet wide. Johnson feels that "recording and lending significance to individual social interactions," allows her to "celebrate the value of the personal connection that is achieved through our everyday social routines and rituals." I love how the lighting creates warmth through the tea bags, mimicking the comfort we often feel when having a cup of tea or coffee with a friend.

Beautiful Day by Carol Shelkin
Carol Shelkin "works with the constant rhythmic sounds of breaking glass" as she creates her stained glass works of art. Drawn to portraits, she is especially intrigued by eyes, and seeks to capture unique moments. The rich infusion of color and wide variation of tones drew me to this piece.