Wednesday, October 14, 2015

ArtPrize 2015

Hi, I am Peter Ye, the new Academically Based Service-Learning (ABSL) Student Coordinator for the Natural Sciences and Mathematics. I want to talk about the seventh ArtPrize event. I went to ArtPrize on October 10th, one day before the three-week event ended. I started at DeVos Place Convention Center’s Art Prize venue with four friends at around 7pm and stayed there for about two and a half hours. I am really not an expert on art, probably because I am an engineering student. I have been to ArtPrize before, but this time I actually tried to learn something. I realized that there was such a variety of art, ranging from different topics, themes, presenting mediums, and methodologies.

The first few art entries I saw were outside, near the La Grande Vitesse sculpture (French, meaning “the great swiftness” or “grand rapids”). One entry is “Raising the Flag,” 20 ft. by 12 ft. “American flag made up of 6850 acrylic dog tags in memorial of the soldiers who died in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts. (ARTPRIZE)”

Near the flag was the “Port of Entry,” a 12’ X 12’ x 12’ structure made of Jarritos (colorful and iconic Mexican soda). “It was built with the help of volunteers from the Hispanic Center and the community. It symbolized the community’s strength through unity. It is a tribute to Michigan’s migrant workers. (ARTPRIZE)”

One more entry I want to point out is an oil painting of Calvin’s bridge, “Beltline,” by a Calvin graduate student. “This work can be considered a metaphor for the journey of life. The pathway with the strong one-point perspective is a literal depiction of a place that was extremely formative for the artist. (ARTPRIZE)”

There are so many entries which I didn’t get a chance to see. The entries that I did get to see are so varied. As you can see from the entries mentioned above, some focus on diversity issues, some focus on social justice, some are reflective of life experiences, some are actual material representations, some use the process of the constructing the work to express the theme, some are literal, and some are abstract. ArtPrize is a good learning experience for me. It gives me access to so many areas which I hardly have any knowledge of. The skills and complexity of the artists also amaze me. ArtPrize can be a good experience for people who don’t know much about art, especially for an engineering student like me.