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Grand Haven's 2018 art fest wraps up

Alexander Sinn • Oct 5, 2018 at 7:00 AM

Artists whose work has been on display across Grand Haven this past week or so gathered Thursday to celebrate another ArtWalk in the books.

Jury-selected and People's Choice awards were handed out during the wrap-up ceremony at the Grand Haven Community Center.

Among the artists was Michelle Martin, an ArtWalk regular whose colored pencil piece, “Lazy Saturday,” took second place in the People’s Choice drawing category; while jurors placed her acrylic and resin piece, “Find Your Pride,” first in the special media category.

Both are on display at Borr’s Shoes, 214 Washington Ave.

Martin was an artist growing up, but one event led her to put the pencil down for 30 years, she said.

“I lost a competition to someone who told me they weren’t going to try because they saw my entry and they thought they couldn’t win,” she said.

Complete list of ArtWalk 2018 winners

Several years ago, Martin told her son, now 14, that he could be whatever he wanted to be in life, and she decided to take her own advice and draw again.

Now, Martin makes a living as an artist, full time.

“I try to encourage young people to do it when they’re young,” she said. “When you start getting a real job, then it’s hard to find your own funding and follow your passion.”

“Find Your Pride” reflects her own journey, Martin said, as she surrounded herself with a community through art. 

Dr. Sid Disbrow, a chiropractor in Grand Haven, had envisioned a painting for ArtWalk when national headlines made him turn to a different subject matter. His submission, “Forbidden Borders,” depicts children kept in cages at facilities by the U.S. Border Patrol. Through art, the former art teacher saw an opportunity to send a message.

“I needed to make a statement that what we’re doing is wrong,” Disbrow said. “It’s not what the heart of the American people is. If it promotes discussion about the subject, then I’ve done the job. I have a social heart.”

His initial painting idea, Disbrow said, will be ready for next year.

ArtWalk’s more than 150 works at venues throughout Grand Haven’s downtown and Centertown districts will remain on display through Sunday.

While ArtWalk was inspired by ArtPrize, it will not be taking a year off in 2019 as the Grand Rapids festival transitions to an every-other-year basis.

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