Eye on art

With more than 180 artists and 75-plus venues, those involved with Grand Haven ArtWalk 2012 say they are ready for big things in the event's third year.
Alex Doty
Sep 13, 2012


“This is my second year participating (in ArtWalk), and I am also in ArtPrize,” artist Stacy Niedzwiecki said. “It’s a busy time for me.”

ArtWalk involves artists from the local area and beyond who compete in four categories: photography, paintings, mixed media and sculpture. There is public judging and juried voting to determine winners in each category.

ArtWalk 2012 begins Sept. 19 and ends Oct. 6.

"The participation and enthusiasm has never been higher," said the event's chairman, downtown businessman Steve Loftis. "We are at an all-time high for artists and venues as well."

Niedzwiecki said she chose ArtWalk last year after deciding to take a break from Grand Rapids’ much-bigger ArtPrize.

“I wanted to do something on a little smaller of a scale," the photographer explained.

Niedzwiecki will be showing a 24-by-35-inch photograph on canvas titled “Watercolors III” at the Tri-Cities Historical Museum, 200 Washington Ave.

Local artists Chris Protas and Sean Sterzer are helping with an ArtWalk mural project on the old Stanco building on Fulton Avenue, between First and Second streets, called "Mural Mania."

“It’s a great event and it makes people focus on art that they wouldn’t otherwise,” Protas said of ArtWalk. “... I believe it is a great way to draw people in. They don’t necessarily have to go to a private art gallery.”

Protas is no stranger to mural projects.

“I did a very large mural in New York on Staten Island,” he said. “It’s something I love to do and it’s fun.”

During "Mural Mania," two teams of 8-10 painters each will create murals on the walls of the Stanco building. The theme is "giving."

“We will have a fun ‘clap vote’ to vote for the favorite within the crowd,” said Dana Kollewehr, executive director of the Grand Haven Main Street Downtown Development Authority.

The large activities don’t end with "Mural Mania." This year’s ArtWalk festivities begin with a picnic and party at Grand Haven's Central Park on Sept. 19, Kollewehr said.

Kollewehr said Grand Haven City Council is invited to paint a bench made out of an ArfWalk dog to help kick off the festivities.

Other events on the slate include a Centertown Block Party on Sept. 26 and the Indie Rock Music Festival Sept. 28-29.

On Sept. 29, the public can vote on the ArfWalk dogs. The owners of the wooden dogs are invited to bring them downtown for the day.

The DDA has so far sold 80 large dogs and more than 500 little ones.

“We’ve got a good number of individuals involved and interested,” Kollewehr said.

Kollewehr said the ArtWalk committee would look at improvements and adding new areas for the 2014 event.

“It’s not necessarily to get bigger, but to put on a quality experience,” she said.

For more on ArtWalk 2012, visit ghartwalk.com.



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