See What $50,000 Will Help Bring to ArtPrize this Fall- mLive

Julie Schenkelberg's installation "Symptomatic Constant" in the grand entry lobby of the SiTE:LAB @ The Morton, awarded a $2,000 Artist Seed Grant at ArtPrize 2014, went on to become the $20,000 winner of the Juried Award for Best Installation. (Chris Clark | Schenkelberg’s installation “Symptomatic Constant” in the grand entry lobby of the SiTE:LAB @ The Morton, awarded a $2,000 Artist Seed Grant at ArtPrize 2014, went on to become the $20,000 winner of the Juried Award for Best Installation. (Chris Clark |


by Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk
on June 26, 2015 at 8:45 AM, updated June 26, 2015 at 11:09 AM

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Artist Julie Schenkelberg left ArtPrize last year with the $20,000 Juried Award for Best Installation.

But the Brooklyn-based artist arrived in Grand Rapids with a $2,000 ArtPrize Artist Seed grant to install “Symptomatic Constant” at SiTE:LAB@The Morton for the sixth annual exhibition.

Another of last year’s 25 winners of a $2,000 Artist Seed Grant, Alex Podesta, whose “Self-Portrait as Bunnies (The Bathers)” was installed in the Grand River, was a finalist for the Juried Award for Best Installation.

That’s some of what $50,000 can do.

Related: Will $50,000 in Artist Seed Grants alter the course of ArtPrize 2014?

ArtPrize 2015’s Artist Seed Grants

Here are the artists and work titles by location

• Boomerang – “For the toward”
• Jessica Bonenfant Coogan – “Disembodied Woman”
• LaMarre And Dancers Featuring James Cornish – “They Were Displaced… And Again”
• Nick Kline – “Pilgrimage”
• Megan Pitcher – “Breakwall”
• Tomas Rivas – “Geometric Flood”
• Daniel Rothbart – “Oculus”
• Mark Rumsey – “Rumsey Street Office of the Archivist”
• Diana Shpungin – “Drawing of a House (Triptych)”
• Filippo Tagliati – “Site #8”
• Mark Dean Veca, – TBD
• Mandy Cano Villalobos – “Undocumented Histories”

Calder Plaza
• Jarrod Beck – “Uplift”
• Ryan C. Doyle – “Activi-Tree”

Calvin College (106) Gallery
• Karen Lemmert – “345 RGB”
• Zach Mory – “Swell”

Grand Rapids Art Museum
• Judith Braun – “As Above”
• Armando Ramos – “Kind Regards”

• Sara Dittrich – “Physical Arrangement for String Trio”
• Michael Peoples – “The Great Race”

250 Monroe
• Faig Ahmed – “Embroidery Space”

DeVos Place
• José Carlos Casado – “Sacrifice”

Fish Ladder Park
• Ritsu Katsumata – “In the Beginning”

Gillett Bridge
• Daniel Elkin – “Straw Sun Space”

Grand River
• Jane Cassidy – “Brumaire is the color”

The second year of ArtPrize’s Artist Seed Grants will bring another crop of 25 artists to Grand Rapids, each funded by the Frey Foundation to the tune of $2,000.

Twelve of the grants are in one venue – “Rumsey Street Project” by SiTE:LAB, three-time winner of the ArtPrize Juried Award for Outstanding Venue.

Each grant, chosen by a panel of experts, is awarded to help fund ambitious and challenging entries in ArtPrize Seven.

“The grant certainly makes it more feasible and lightens the load on my credit card,” said Mark Rumsey, an artist who happens to share the same name as SiTE:LAB’s ArtPrize 2015 exhibition location.

“I’ve undertaken many large scale projects without any funding and have found creative ways to lessen the costs,” he said. “Making art costs money, and the drive to make things has often meant pulling out a credit card.”

Related: What is ArtPrize? How to explain ArtPrize to your out-of-town family and friends

Two artists from overseas in Azerbaijan and Chile are among the recipients.

Three artists from New York City and another three from Brooklyn plus artists from California and Connecticut and North Dakota and New Orleans are among the winners of the 2015 Artist Seed Grants.

Three from Ohio – Cleveland, Gambier and West Chester — will be in Grand Rapids for ArtPrize Seven.

Grand Rapids is represented by four artists and three are from the Detroit area.

A total of 17 grant winners are first-time ArtPrize participants while four are returning for their fourth ArtPrize.

Artist Zach Mory’s, whose “RW Circles and Diamonds” at Cathedral Square made the Jurors Short List for Best 2D Work, returns to ArtPrize from his home in Glen Ellyn, Ill., as one of the 25 recipients with a drawing-and-paper installation.

“My entry is quite difficult to install, and the Artist Seed Grant will help me to purchase additional lighting and the materials needed to create a nearly 20-foot hanging apparatus, both of which will be crucial in bringing my piece to life,” he said. “The grant will also help me to transport the numerous, delicate sections of my piece to Grand Rapids safely and securely, which would have been difficult and costly without the assistance.”

Jessica Bonenfant Coogan’s “Disembodied Woman,” a time-based performance installation, hopes to use the money for transportation as well as the recognition for further fundraising.

“Receiving the grant shows that there is existing support for the project,” she said. “We would have done the project without the grant, but with it we can absolutely improve the quality of what we present. It allows me to focus less on fundraising and more on creating.”

The Frey Foundation last year pledged a $150,000 commitment over three years to launch the grant program.

“For 25 people a year, it’ll mean the difference between the dream and the reality of being in ArtPrize,” said David Frey, a trustee of the Frey Foundation, said last year.

Applicants had to demonstrate financial need, provide a draft budget and project timeline and demonstrate how their project is exceptional.

The 25 recipients of the grants were selected by a panel of art critics and experts, including Nicole Caruth, writer, curator and editor of Art:21 Magazine; Lisa Freiman, director of Institute for Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond; Reed Kroloff, architect and director of the Cranbrook Academy of Art and Art Museum; Scott Stulen, curator of Audience Experiences and Performance at Indianapolis Museum of Art; Miranda Lash, curator of contemporary art at The Speed Art Museum; and Cezanne Charles, director of Creative Industries at Creative Many.

Locally, Joe Becherer, vice president and curator at Frederick Meijer Gardens; Paul Amenta, curator of SiTE:LAB; and Dana Friis-Hansen, director of Grand Rapids Art Museum; also were part of the panel that reviewed the applications, seeking ambitious entries from artists who demonstrated both financial need and artistic merit.

Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk covers arts and entertainment for MLive and The Grand Rapids Press. Email him at