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UICA continues showcase of selected work for Festival of the Arts through July 26

An integral part of festival weekend since the beginning, the juried Regional Art Exhibition is available for another month to the public at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art.

/Gabi Brown



2 Fulton St W

Gallery Hours:

Tues–Sat: 12–9 PM
Sun: 12–6 PM
Mon: Closed

Gallery Admission:

Members: Free
Adults: $5
Five and under: Free

See more of what's happening at UICA.

3-D pieces made from found objects "Take My Hand: Precious Soul Awakening," and "Welcome to the USA," by Monica Stegeman

3-D pieces made from found objects "Take My Hand: Precious Soul Awakening," and "Welcome to the USA," by Monica Stegeman /Gabi Brown

/Gabi Brown

The 46th annual Festival of the Arts’ Regional Art Exhibition held its opening reception at Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (2 Fulton Street SE) for the third year on Thursday, June 3- but it will remain available to the public until July 26 for those who weren't able to make it there on Festival weekend or those who want to return.

The juried exhibition consists of 246 pieces of art by 154 West Michigan artists. Residents of all ages from Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo and Ottawa Counties were eligible to submit artwork.

“With 246 pieces in the show, out of 500, that makes it about a 50 percent acceptance rate, which is really low for a juried show,” says Fred Bivins, Chair of the Festival 2015 Regional Arts Committee.

Bivins says providing regional artists with an opportunity to show their work in a juried show “sometimes brings out the better artists.”

In preparation for the exhibition, three jurors sifted through the hundreds of submissions and selected 246 of what they felt were the best pieces. The jurors selected work according to their own expertise.

The jurors included Patricia Hendricks Constantine from Kendall College of Art and Design (paintings, drawings and prints), T.J. Hamilton from Sabo Public Relations (photography) and Beverly J. Seley from Grand Valley State University ( 3-D and multimedia pieces).

First place winners, receiving $500 juror awards, were David Huang for “Luminous Relic #1348,” a 3-D piece; Dennis Timmons for “Thunderstorm over Downtown,” a photograph; and Matthew Schenk for “Classical Gas 2,” a 2-D piece.

Second place winners, receiving $100 juror awards, were Terry Bidgood for “Anguish,” a photograph; Colton Kruizenga for “The Eye Fell in Love,” a 2-D piece; and to Amy Wilkinson for “The Measure of Small Things,” a 3-D piece.

First place award winner Schenk has two oil on panel paintings in the exhibit. Along with his first place award, he was also awarded the Christina Marie Bivins Memorial award and the UICA Solo Exhibition Award.

Though the exhibition was mainly organized and curated by the Festival of the Arts Committee, Exhibitions Curator at UICA Heather Duffy selected the winner of the UICA Solo Exhibition Award.

Duffy says she went through the hundreds of submissions multiple times, paying special attention to pieces that initially stood out, to select an artist who would be awarded the opportunity to have a solo exhibition at UICA.

“Festival has a really great energy and it’s a really exciting time for Grand Rapids,” Duffy says.

Duffy says that the festival, and having the exhibition at UICA not only brings the community to the downtown area, but also draws people to the museum.

Bivins says he has a dedicated team of volunteers who help him with the organizational aspects of the festival and feels it’s important to help local artists. One of the ways that happens is hosting the exhibition in the first place.

“It’s the only regional arts exhibition in Grand Rapids,” Bivins says. “We’re the only cultural organization that is trying to further regional art right here. It’s an opportunity for people in the community to see just how much talent there is in West Michigan,” says Bivins.

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