GVSU represented in ArtPrize through art, venues and sponsorship

Grand Valley is supporting and providing venues for the ArtPrize 2021 competition, while faculty member work is also part of the event.

The biennial competition and exhibition, delayed in 2020 because of the pandemic, returns to Grand Rapids this year from September 16-October 3.

Grand Valley is again serving as an ArtPrize sponsor, as it has since the beginning in 2009, said Nathan Kemler, director of GVSU Galleries and Collections.

The GVSU Art Gallery is also hosting two venues for outdoor sculptures on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus:

  • "Infinity Cube" by Jason Quigno at the Eberhard Center 
  • "Mayan Stelae Of King K'ak' Tiliw Chan Topaat" by José Marcelino Valdez and Gerson Valdez-Cordòn at the L. William Seidman Center
 Jason Quigno stands next to a maquette of his ArtPrize entry.
Jason Quigno stands next to a maquette of his ArtPrize entry, "Infinity Cube," which is at the Eberhard Center.
Image credit - Courtesy of the GVSU Art Gallery
The sculpture "Mayan Stelae Of King K'ak' Tiliw Chan Topaat" is installed on grass outside the L. William Seidman Center.
"Mayan Stelae Of King K'ak' Tiliw Chan Topaat" by José Marcelino Valdez and Gerson Valdez-Cordòn is at the L. William Seidman Center.
Image credit - Courtesy of the GVSU Art Gallery

In addition, the Art Gallery team is working with the Grand Valley Charter Schools Office to offer an on-demand educational opportunity, which includes hands-on activity and virtual tours of both sculptures, said Amanda Carmer Rainey, user experience and learning manager for the Art Gallery. Students will learn about the pieces, art techniques, history and more; meanwhile, the website allows anyone to learn more about the pieces.

A central part of the lessons is exploring the creative process of Quigno as well as the contributions of indigenious artists to the West Michigan art scene, Rainey said. 

"I also hope students gain insights into how Jason creates pieces," Rainey said. "His pieces look like they’ve been formed by precise erosion and not human hands. And then, through the hands-on activity, I hope they get a sense of the control and precision needed to even carve just a bar of soap."

Additional representation of Grand Valley at ArtPrize includes faculty member work on an animated video poem.

The piece, "Time Passing: Passing Time," involved work from Deanna Morse, GVSU professor emerita of film and video production and Suzanne Zack, affiliate faculty member in the film and video production major, along with animators Jim Middleton and Gretchen Vinnedge.

The animation, which is presented in an aquarium with cichlid fishes watching, was created by the collaborators by using Zoom, according to the ArtPrize entry information. Fittingly, the piece's venue is Water Colors Aquarium Gallery, 435 S. Division Ave.

Also, Nicholas Bromley, associate director of Financial Aid, captured reflections in Grand River flood waters that had spilled into Riverside Park in 2020 for a piece titled "The Flood." The photo metal print entry is at Atwater Brewery, 201 Michigan St. NW.

“I hope to convey here the transformative nature of the river and its ever-changing relationship with people who have inhabited this part of Michigan since time immemorial,” Bromley said of the entry on the ArtPrize.org website.

Another entry connected to GVSU is a piece by Belinda Coronado, veteran education outreach liaison for GVSU's Veterans Upward Bound. Her work, "The BeYOUtiful Journey," is part of a collection of pieces of veterans sharing their healing art at Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Grand Rapids.

Coronado said this piece is a vision for her recovery and wellness after experiencing PTSD, depression and suicide ideation following her tour in Iraq.

“I hope this piece will help those of us who struggle with mental health issues and their families to start talking about the elephant in the room,” Coronado said.

Brian Vernellis of the University Communications staff contributed to this story.


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