Local Art Contest Goes International
Tue, 09/22/2020 - 1:15pm caleb
Second Annual Great Northern Art Explosion awards $8,500 in prizes for public voters’ choice and three juried choices
Kinzie Nena | Staff Writer
The 2nd annual Great Northern Art Explosion competition and voting began on September 4 and completed on September 19 with an outdoor awards ceremony at the Paddle Hard Container Yard on Sunday. Four talented artists were awarded with cash prizes and recognition.
Hosted by the AuSable Artisan Village and the River Valley Building, in partnership with Kirtland Community College and the Grayling Promotional Association, the AAV named three $1,000 winners with the aid of Juror Jef Bourgeau, the founder of Museum of New Art: BreeAnn Veenstra of Grand Rapids with “Lost & Found,” Kim Froese of Howard City with “Crazy Paper,” and Adenuga John Opeyemi of Ibadan, Nigeria with “Confidential Secret.”
The $5,000 People’s Choice Award sponsored by Kirtland Community College was awarded to Daniel Kaminski of Mio with his three wooden contructions and lifesized models called “Some Gave All.”
“It was like comparing apples and oranges and was very difficult,” said Bourgeau about judging all the different media of fine art.
The Northern Art Explosion was intended to be a statewide competition but the submission of an international piece from Nigerian artist Opeyemi made this year’s Art Explosion the first Grayling International Fine Arts competition according to Terry Dickinson, Director of the AuSable Artisan Village. With the photorealistic charcoal piece “Confidential Secret” Opeyemi was selected for Best in Show and recieved an additional $500.
The public was invited and encouraged to vote on the 135 competing artists with art ranging from painting, photography, charcoal, pastels, pencil, 3D design, sculpture, and digital art where voting was done via mobile or computer through a system designed by Anthony Neal.
“It has been a blessing to be a part of,” said Neal, the Marketing Director for AuSable Artisan Village.
“There were a few pieces that people couldn’t walk away from without mentioning as they left,” said Dickinson, who was pleased with the artistic effort and public appreciation and turn-out for the awards ceremony.
Dickinson also expressed his appreciation to local businesses like Paddle Hard and Ron’s Fly Shop which were involved with offering space and promoting the competition to help the Northern Art Explosion 2020 to be successful.