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Grand Rapids in 1856

Scene of early Grand Rapids viewed from the...

ArtPrize 2010 Winners

Chris LaPorte, First Place - $250,000

Grand Rapids MI

 Artist bio

I love to draw.

Drawing is always cool—no matter what your age or background.

I've pursued drawing as a vocation my whole adult life. I've received art degrees from Aquinas College, La Coste Ecole de Beaux Arts, and the New York Academy of Art. I have taught drawing at GVSU, GRCC, Kendall College of Art and Design, and Aquinas College as well as educational institutions in New York and Michigan.

My caricature and portrait business has financially supported my education, travel, and

fine arts studio. I've drawn close to 85,000 people over the last 18 years of drawing.

I've participated in many art exhibitions in Michigan and New York City.

Title: Cavalry, American Officers, 1921

Medium:  2H Pencil on Paper

Description of work: E PLURIBUS UNUM

Of many one.Many marks make up the drawing. Many men make up the regiment. Many lines make up the face. Many wrinkles make up the shirt. Many characters make up the story. Many experiences make up the event. Many minutes make up the hour, day, and year. This drawing is both a representation of the people, their legacy and the countless organization of pencil marks that make up a composition. It is about the process of drawing, and also a portrait of these men who must have survived horrific events to preserve what we experience today. The drawing is an exploration of character and an exploration of mark-making to reveal that character. It is also a tribute to lasting legacy. I wanted these men to be life size, so that their impact may be immediate and tangible. They are here and now but also way back when.

Technical details: Linear wall space needed:30 ft.


Mia Tavonatti, Second Place - $100,000

Artist bio

Mia's work has earned much recognition and she has studied, lived and exhibited extensively in the US, Italy, France and Greece. Mia's numerous art instructional books have been published in over 20 countries. Recently, Mia unveiled her monumental series of oil paintings on canvas at the ancient Museo Arsenale in Italy. Mia has since returned to Californiaand has formed the Svelata Foundation For the Arts and is currently producing the first Svelata World Tour. Recently, Mia was chosen to participate in the US Air Force Arts Program, where her first orders were to document the training missions of the 550th Search and Rescue teams at Kirtland AFB. In March 2010, Mia spent five days at Randolph AFB training for her first ride in a T38 supersonic jet trainer, where her mission was to document the 50th Anniversary of the T38. Mia has also been known to paint with glass. Her intricate stained glass mosaics weave her experience as a painter with her love of high Renaissance glass mosaics.

 Title: Svelata

Medium:Stained Glass Mosaic

 Description of work:This is NOT a painting! Michigan native Mia Tavonatti made Svelata entirely of stained glass and EVERY piece, even the bubbles are hand cut! She took 2700 hours to create Her. It has traveled 2300 miles in two sections in 40 hours on the back of a red Ford pickup truck to get here! She fought us every step of the way, but is so beloved by those who made her possible that we couldn't bare to hand her over and make her go it alone in some strangers commercial transport. As a trained painter who does mosaics, I am determined to bring the same life, light and depth to my glass mosaics as I do to my paintings. They say I paint with glass . . . But she's here now and gracing the walls of the beautiful Devos Place as if she was created for it.

Technical details: Linear wall space needed:16 ft.


Beili Liu, Third Place - $50,000

Artist bio

Beili Liu is a Chinese-American artist whose creative work has been exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally. She has shown in venues such as the Museum of Art and History, Santa Cruz, the Chinese Culture Foundation, San Francisco, Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, 516 Arts, Albuquerque, Nordisk Kunst Plattform Project Space, Norway, Elizabeth De Branba Gallery, Shanghai, and Granary Gallery, Fiskars, Finland. Her work has appeared and reviewed in Art in America, the Ceramics Art and Perception (technical) magazine, Australia, China Daily, Helsinki News, Asian Correspondence—the World News Network, among others. Liu was named the 2009 City of Austin Artist of the Year in 3D Media. She received her MFA from the University of Michigan, and currently is an assistant professor at University of Texas at Austin.

 Title: Lure/Wave, Grand Rapids (Lure/Forest)

Medium:Thread, sewing needles

Description of work:The ancient Chinese legend of the red thread tells that when children are born, invisible red threads connect them to the ones whom they are fated to be with. Over the years of their lives they come closer and eventually find each other, overcoming the distance between, and cultural and social divides. 

Inspired by this legend, the installation makes use of thousands of hand spiraled coils of red thread suspended from the ceiling of the gallery. A disk may be connected to another, as a “couple”, and each pair is made from a single thread. Every coil is pierced in the center by a sewing needle, which enables the suspension of the disks from the ceiling.
In response to the open space of the UICA-Fulton Gallery, a new version of the installation is created. Lure/Wave takes on a dynamic form of multiple organic waves, which rise and fall dramatically.

Technical details: Total square feet needed: 1000 sq. ft.


Paul Baliker, Fourth Place - $7000

Title: A Matter of Time

Medium: Wood Sculpture


David Spriggs, Fifth Place - $7000

Title: Vision

Medium: Acrylic on multiple sheets of transparent film housed within a display case.


Wander Martich, Sixth Place - $7000

Title: Helping Mom One Penny at a Time

Medium: A giant penny constructed from layers of actual pennies.


Bill Secunda, Seventh Place - $7000

Title: Dancing with Lions

Medium: Welded steel nails


Young Kim, Eighth Place - $7000

Title: Salt and Earth

Medium: granular salt, red clay powder, lights, unfixed calotype


Steam Pig Experiment Birks, Jensen(A collective of artists, designers, engineers, fabricators, model-makers and builders), Ninth Place- $7000

Title: Steam Pig

Medium: Large Scale Multi-Media Sculpture


Frederick Prescott, Tenth Place - $7000

Title: Elephant Walk

Medium: Sculpture


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