“It Gets Better”

City Councilman, Joel Burns, of Fort Worth, Texas, tells his story for our gay youth and other kids who are bullied because they are different.  “Give yourself a chance to see how much better life gets.”  It is a moving message that has been viewed by over 1.8 million people.  

ArtPrize 2010 Winner: “Cavalry, American Officers, 1921”

On Thursday, October 7, ArtPrize announced the winner of the popular vote in the 2010 competition. The $250,000 first prize went to Grand Rapids artist Chris LaPorte. LaPorte teaches art at Aquinas College. The winning work, “Cavalry, American Officers, 1921” is a photorealistic pencil drawing of a gathering of World War I officers.  It took LaPorte over 800 hours to complete the work, which measures 29 feet by 8 feet.

Here are my photos of the winning work.


Here is a 90-second interview of Chris LaPorte.

“Transplant,” by Heidi Kumao

Heidi Kumao is an artist from Ann Arbor who submitted an extraordinary short film, “Transplant,” to the ArtPrize 2010 competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In the public voting, the work did not receive the recognition I feel it deserved. I hope that in the remaining four days of ArtPrize people will stop by Fountain Street Church (24 Fountain Street, NE) and view the film.

“Transplant” is a 4-minute movie that tells the story of the Japanese families who were sent to internment camps by our government during World War II. The movie shows the indominable human spirit, as the Japanese families, forced to live in the desert, created gardens for nourishment of the body and the soul. The story itself is special, but the technique is what makes the movie extraordinary. Ms. Kumao uses black and white photos she got from the Library of Congress and adds her own characters in silhouette that bring the movie to life. In front of the screen is a bell jar, in which there hangs a tag like one would put on property in storage. Throughout the movie, the tag is illuminated with images in color that emphasize the story. It is an incredible effect.

Here are a few still photos I took of the movie.  If you read this before ArtPrize ends, I encourage you to visit Fountain Street Church and see the movie in person.


If you are not able to view the movie during ArtPrize, you can see it on Ms. Kumao’s website at http://www.heidikumao.net/timed_release/transplant/slideshow/transplant_video.html

90 Second Interviews with ArtPrize Finalists by Brian Kelly

Brian Kelly is a photographer in Grand Rapids who does a wonderful job creating 90-second videos about ArtPrize and its participants.  He is in the process of completing 90 second interviews with the 10 finalists in the competition. Here is his interview of Chris LaPorte, whose piece “Cavalry, American Officers, 1921” has been drawing crowds at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

So far, Brian has also posted interviews with finalists David Spriggs, Beili Liu and Young Kim.