LowellArts! 26th West Michigan Regional Art Competition | Arts & Culture
The 26th annual West Michigan Regional (art) Competition held its Opening Reception and awards presentation Sunday afternoon, March 25, in LowellArts! King Gallery, 149 S. Hudson, Lowell. The large crowd of artists, friends and other guests listened as Guest Juror Anne Norcross, Assistant Professor and Program Chair of the Art History Program at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, briefly explained her selection process for this year’s five cash award winners and additional Juror’s Recognition Award recipients.
With her background in art history from the seventeenth through the twentieth centuries, and the history and criticism of modern art and culture, Norcross brought a unique perspective to this year’s event. She presented cash awards to the five artists totaling over $2,000 plus six additional Juror’s Recognition Awards to the following artists:
- 1st Place - Sheri Woodard
- 2nd Place - Paul Van Heest
- 3rd Place - Tessa Broek
- 4th Place - Steven Peters
- 5th Place - Dianne Carroll Burdick
Juror's Recognition Awards
- Lisa Ambrose - A Dialogue of Sentimental Dimensions
- Mary Bommarito - Blazing Spring
- Amy Johnson - Mother Earth
- Kimberly Gill - Where There Is Doubt, Faith
- Kathleen Kalinowski - Awaiting Fields
- Oakley Traynor - Future Farms of America
Anne Norcross Juror’s Statement:
“I am honored to have participated in the 26th annual West Michigan Regional (Art) Competition as juror. I would like to thank everyone who submitted works for consideration. Congratulations to those who are in the exhibition and who impressed me with their creativity. Congratulations to the award winners whose vision and mastery of their chosen medium far surpassed my expectations.
It has been an incredible challenge, and an extremely rewarding experience, to be the sole juror of this year’s art competition. The overall quality of the 250 submissions was so high and so professional that I wondered if it would be possible to reduce the selections to just five award winners. Every work that was finally included was included for a very specific reason, and the five winners, along with those who received a juror’s recognition award, were very different from each other and stood out as unique among their competition.
I was asked to select 90-100 works to be included in the exhibition, with the top five receiving awards and first place sponsored by Kendall College of Art & Design of Ferris State University. 250 artists submitted works consisting of a vast array of media including sculpture, painting, metals, drawing, photography, printmaking, ceramics and mixed media. The diversity of the entries made the task of judging the competition a daunting one, and each artist should remember that a different juror would have selected a different group of winners.
I judged works on creativity, solid technical skill, and a personal or unique vision. The works I selected for inclusion displayed a high degree of technical mastery and professional presentation, but my main criterion was to select works I couldn't stop looking at. That generally included works that exhibited an original point of view and whose concept, composition, format and execution came together flawlessly, resulting in a compelling image.
The 1st place award went to Sheri Woodward for her watercolor Enlightened. Ms. Woodward exhibited technical mastery over her chosen medium, in a work that is executed in a detailed and realistic style with a rich depth of shadows and highlights. The work stood out amongst the many entries capturing the feel and the beauty of a small nook of nature. There was no grand narrative, which allowed me to focus my attention on the image with its fidelity to realism and excellence in execution.
Creativity, strong composition, solid technical skill, and unique vision describe the next two selections. Paul Van Heest’s As Ye Sew, a work done in colored pencil was awarded 2nd place, and the watercolor, Maasai I, by Tessa Broek received the 3rd place award. Both works were thought provoking and as an Art Historian I am drawn to images that make statements or stir my emotions. These successful entries were well executed, and intriguing in their subject matter and presentation.
Steven Peters’ ceramic entry, Generational Layers, conveyed a strong connection to history while embracing innovation, and was awarded 4th place. The photograph, Purple Trees, by Dianne Carroll Burdick took the 5th place award. Both works were well crafted and freshly seen, but what set them apart from other works was that they offer more than that. They seemed to emote a sense of awe and wonder which intrigued me, and I was captivated by the uniqueness of each artist’s vision.
Thank you to the many talented artists whose depth of talent and creative vision truly inspired me, and to everyone at the LowellArts! for their hospitality, professionalism and assistance.”