Civic Artistic Rivalry


At the same time the international event, Art Prize, is taking place in Grand Rapids, a rival event born of years of competition and hard feelings takes place in the beautiful coastal town of Grand Haven. Grand Haven sits at the mouth of the Grand River where it, and all the storm sewage runoff it carries from upriver in Grand Rapids, enters Lake Michigan. I am a relative newbie to the area so I do not know all the reasons for the bad blood but one reason I am aware of was an ad campaign run by GR years ago that tried to steal summer tourists from GH by stating it, GR, too was a beachy coastal town that was only an hour’s drive from GH’s sugar fine sand beaches. That did not go down well in GH. Art Prize has been going 6 years. Art Walk has been going 5 years. The art viewing public is the winner of this rivalry.

IMG_1337GingerCreasy   IMG_1374GingerCreasy

One of the events running in Grand Haven was a show at the Fire Barn Gallery. Grand Haven artists were asked to do their own cover of any piece of work from the Detroit Institute of Art. (Detroit isn’t too fond of Grand Rapids either. Their reasons are justified but that’s a whole other blog entry.) I consume a lot of art during the run of these two art competitions and this absolute delight of a show at the Barn put a lot of the venues and art in ‘that town’ upriver to shame.

Above, Ginger Creasy’s take on the Van Gogh is perfection. That coal tipple by the Pere Marquette train featured in her cover is a much loved land mark in Grand Haven.

IMG_1361 - Version 2ChristaBarnell   IMG_1361aChristaBarnell

Christa Barnell won first place in painting in the public vote and placed high in the juried vote.  I don’t care which one of these works won, above or below, because they are both awesome.

IMG_1356ChristaBarnell  IMG_1357ChristaBarnell

Categories included drawing, painting, mixed media, photography and below is a piece that was entered in their sculpture category.

IMG_1365WayneJohnson   IMG_1366WayneJohnson

A beautifully minimalist entry by Santa Anna:

IMG_1363SantaAnna   IMG_1364SantaAna

The judge could not find enough good things to say about this piece:

IMG_1373Marlan Cotner   IMG_1332MarlanCotner

No photo but there was an installation on the floor that I just ‘didn’t get’.  A couple of days later I met the artist and he wanted to know how I liked the piece. I didn’t know what to say. I had glossed over it because it made no sense to me. Pieces were broken, the floor around it was smeared and what was that bucket about. It turns out that an unsupervised overenthusiastic child had been moved by his work to the point the child disassembled it, took the large chalk pieces out of it, and “added” his own Basquiat touch. This tale says a lot about the art world today. Someone sign that kid to a Gallery.

This truly was an amazing show. I was delighted at the intelligence, wit and skill that went into these ‘covers’ of great art from the Detroit Institute of Art.

Published by dunelight

2 thoughts on “Civic Artistic Rivalry

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: