2017 West Michigan Area Show Award Winners

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Helen Sheridan Memorial Grand Prize Winner: Deborah Rockman, Companions 8, low-tech digital drawing on photograph.

The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts has announced award winners sharing more than $5,000 in awards - including a $1,000 grand prize - in the 2017 West Michigan Area Show (WMAS). The awards were presented during the March 3 Art Hop at the KIA.

A juried exhibition, the WMAS drew entries by established and emerging artists from a 14-county region. Artists and award winners were selected by juror Fiona Ragheb, a Detroit-based curator with more than 20 years of experience, and advanced degrees in art history and architecture. Her career includes work at the Walker Art Center, the Guggenheim Museum, and Broad Art Foundation.

Among 470 submissions by 270 artists, Ms. Ragheb chose 95 works by 68 artists working in sculpture, painting, photography, ceramics, glass, prints, mixed media, and fiber. The exhibition was organized by Karla J. Niehus, Interim Curator of Exhibitions.

"Community support for the arts and for artists is demonstrated each year by the Area Show," says Niehus. "Arts organizations provide support through generous awards, and a dedicated community looks forward each year to seeing new work by regional artists. This a true collaborative effort that shines a light on the arts in West Michigan."

The exhibition will be on view through May 28. Related exhibition events include free talks by exhibiting artists at noon on Tuesday, April 4 and 25, and a tour of the exhibition on Sunday, April 23, at 2 pm (included with admission).

The West Michigan Area Show is sponsored by Chemical Bank and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, with support by David Isaacson in memory of his wife, Helen Sheridan. The public is invited to vote for their favorite work during the course of the exhibition, and the Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo's People's Choice Award ($500) will be announced May 23 at noon, during the KIA's weekly ARTBreak.

AWARDS
* Helen Sheridan Memorial Grand Prize ($1,000): Deborah Rockman, Companions 8, low-tech digital drawing on photograph
* Second Place ($500): Virginia Stapleton, The Approach, archival inkjet print on Plexiglas acrylic
* Third Place ($400): Cindi Ford, Vulnerable VII, etching, moku hanga, monotype, linocut, and collage
* Fourth Place ($300): Stone Peng, 4-Fence Line, archival inkjet print
* Fifth Place ($200): Sean Larson, Balancing Act, stoneware and steel
* Ward H. and Cora E. Nay Director's Purchase Prizes: Mary Brodbeck, Splay, woodblock print, and Taylor Mazer, And More Stairs, pen and ink on paper

SPONSORED AWARDS
* Eclectic Glass Guild of SWMI Award for Glass: Judy Hallisy, Cylinder, blown glass
* Kalamazoo Book Arts Center Award: Rachel Stickney, Duty Free, silkscreen, letterpress, mixed media
* Kalamazoo Knitting Guild Award for Fiber: Linda Wolf, Nanuk of the North, commercial cotton fabric, pieced, appliquéd, painted, fused, and embroidered
* Kalamazoo Log Cabin Quilters' Art Quilt Award: Jacqueline Skarritt, My Life in Circles: a Circle(s) a Day 2016, hand appliqued, pieced, and stitched; machine quilted by the artist
* The Martin Maddox Prize for Imaginative Realism: Craig Bishop, Germanic Influence of Men & Women from Dürer to Barbie, oil on linen
* Ninth Wave Studio Award for Ingenuity in Mixed Media or Intermedia: Eana Agopian, Meiosis, collage, hand-colored image transfer, screenprinting, copperplate etching, acrylic paint, mica powder, glitter, polyresin
* Signature Artists, LLC, Award: Richard Smith, Tunnel Vision, archival inkjet print
* Southwest Michigan Printmakers Excellence in Printmaking Award: Deborah Mattson, Shingebiss: an Ojibwe Folktale, artist's book, etchings and letterpress
* Weavers Guild of Kalamazoo Award for Fiber: Alyssa Roach, Give the Sun Back to the Whales, ink, fabric, and thread
* West Michigan Potters Guild Eleanore Smith Memorial Award for Ceramics: Betsy Vollmar, Underneath, stoneware, underglaze, borax, and shellac

Artists eligible to enter the WMAS are 18 years or older and live in one of 14 counties surrounding Kalamazoo: Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Eaton, Ionia, Kalamazoo, Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa, St. Joseph, and Van Buren. Only original work of the artist's own design, completed within the last two years was eligible.