KIA Awards $4,500 in West Michigan Area Show

Posted: April 8, 2016


Shown: Beth Purdy, Fact: When Tasmanian Devils Are Upset Their Ears Blush Bright Red, collaged paper, charcoal, and oil on canvas

The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts has announced 14 award winners sharing more than $4,500 in awards - including a $1,000 grand prize - in the 2016 West Michigan Area Show (WMAS).

A juried exhibition, the WMAS draws entries by established and emerging artists from a 14-county region. The exhibition will be on view through July 10.

This year's juror was Ron Platt, Chief Curator at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, who chose 106 works to be exhibited from more than 520 submissions. Sculpture, painting, photography, ceramics, glass, jewelry, prints, and fiber are included among the work by 100 artists.

"Opportunities like this are one of the pleasures of my profession, as I get to look at a lot of art, to reward excellence in a range of categories, and to meet the artists who enrich West Michigan's culture," Platt said.

The exhibition was organized by Karla J. Niehus, Associate Curator of Exhibitions.

"The visual arts in West Michigan converge at the KIA for this show: artists and their recent work, arts organizations providing support through generous awards, and the dedicated community that comes to see the 'state of the arts' in southwest Michigan," she says.

"The KIA is grateful to the award sponsors - some who have participated for decades, and others that have stepped up to propose new awards in recent years."


  • Helen Sheridan Memorial Grand Prize ($1,000): Sue Hale, for the body of work in the exhibition: Renascentia/Rebirth, Finn and Merino wool (traditional wet felting using multiple resists); Healing Hand, Merino wool (traditional wet felting with mosaic and embroidered embellishments); Dendrite/Connections, Finn and Merino wool, wire armature, traditional wet felting with multiple resists and shibori
  • Second Prize ($500): Linda Rzoska, Treetop, graphite, oil pastel, tusche, digital print, and encaustic
  • Third Prize ($400): Tom Zaroff, Corpulent Distortion, concrete
  • Fourth Prize ($300): Ann E. Soukup, Measured Mass No. 1, Raku-fired stoneware
  • Fifth Prize ($200): Robert Shimmin, The Famous Mr. Spooky Wig Head, photogravure
  • Kalamazoo Knitting Guild Award for Fiber ($100): Jacqueline Skarritt, One Hundred and Ten Degrees: The 2015 Temperature Quilt, fabric hand-dyed and quilted by artist
  • Ninth Wave Studio Award for Ingenuity in Mixed Media or Intermedia ($200): Barbara Thiery Buysse, Relic Tree, oil paint and found objects on cloth
  • Kalmazoo Log Cabin Quilters' Art Quilt Award ($200): Nina Feirer & Patrick Whalen, Sometimes You're the Goat, Sometimes You're the Tiger, cotton, silk, and sateen
  • Weavers Guild of Kalamazoo Award for Fiber ($200): Gretchen Huggett, Striations #2, linen, silk, indigo-dyed paper; woven, stitched, overdyed in indigo
  • Signature Artists Cooperative Award ($250): Scott Whitworth, Holding Room in Former "Security Prison 21" of the Khmer Rouge, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, archival inkjet print
  • West Michigan Potters Guild Eleanore Smith Memorial Award for Ceramics ($250): Edward Harkness, Ramble, stoneware
  • The Martin Maddox Prize for Imaginative Realism ($350): Tatsuki Hakoyama, Rhythm of Light, oil on canvas
  • Ward H. and Cora E. Nay Director's Purchase Prize: Barbara Thiery Buysse, Relic Tree, oil paint and found objects on cloth; and Beth Purdy, Fact: When Tasmanian Devils Are Upset Their Ears Blush Bright Red, collaged paper, charcoal, and oil on canvas
  • The Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo's People's Choice Award ($500) will be announced during the July 8 Art Hop.

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.

The West Michigan Area Show is sponsored by Chemical Bank and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, and co-sponsored by Warner, Norcross & Judd. Additional support has been provided by David Isaacson in memory of his wife, Helen Sheridan.

Related exhibition events include Artist Talks on Thursday, April 21, Thursday, April 28, and Thursday, May 5, included with admission. During the July 8 Art Hop, the People's Choice Award will be announced.