Serving Art Educators
and Students Since 1994


Featured Artists from ArtPrize

As reported earlier, IAD visited Art Prize in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 2009 and took hundreds of pictures. For 19 days, downtown Grand Rapids is transformed into an "open playing field" where everyone's voice matters on whose art receives the awards. Artists around the world compete and you can find practically every nook and cranny filled with great art.


Following are two pieces that were exhibited during the event:


Michael Westra

The first sculpture covered today was exhibited on a bridge in Grand Rapids. The sculpture on the left was created by Michael Westra, a Michigan artist. Michael graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in Industrial Arts. Westra has exhibited at the 33rd Annual Regional Arts Competition in Grand Rapids, the annual juried art show in Grand Haven, the Dee Lite Invitational Art Show also in Grand Haven, the Muskegan Museum of Art's Regional Art Competition and others. You can find additional work in the Coffee Gallery in Spring Lake, Michigan and The Timmel Collection in Saugatuck, Michigan.


Says Michael, "I enjoy the challenge of the creative process, making a thing of beauty with elegant form and pattern from a material that is usually associated with strength. Wielding a torch of electric fire has a primal feeling to it. Using a 3,000 degree electric flame to weld the steel creation together. My grandfather was a welder by trade to lead his family. I weld for the joy of it and like to think of him guiding my hand."


Michael Westra sculpture

Michael Westra, Winddancer 2, Welded Steel, 2008. This kinetic sculpture of welded steel moves with the slightest breeze. Click on the image for full size.

Westra was a top 10 finalist for Art Prize. During the day he is a Product Development Manager in Grand Haven. Westra received $7,000 as his prize for the tenth favorite piece. Westra said "Winddancer 2" was in a Spring Lake gallery and had not sold, so he decided to enter it in ArtPrize. [Archive]


Terrence Karpowicz

Terrence Karpowicz's sculpture came in at number 17 in Art Prize. The sculpture was farther on the bridge beyond the Westra sculpture.


Terrence Karpowicz was born in 1948 in Cleveland, OH and received a B.A. in fine arts from Albion College. Karpowicz moved to NYC to pursue his career as an artist. Through various jobs, including bartending at Max’s Kansas City and studio manager of Larry Poons, Karpowicz maintained a studio and continued to paint. In 1972, he assisted with an installation of sculpture exhibition by Mark di Suvero which inspired him to sculpture.


In 1973 he enrolled at University of Illinois, in the graduate program in Sculpture. While at UofI, he received the Frank Logan Medal and Prize from the Art Institute of Chicago. Karpowicz was awarded a Fulbright-Hayes Fellowship to the United Kingdom, serving as Scholar to the Wind and Watermill Section of the SPBA, to study the technical and mechanical aspects of the country’s medieval wind and watermills.


karpowicz sculpture sculpture #2

Also on the bridge we seen a piece by Terrence Karpowicz. The sculpture is called Petite Passe and is made with steel and polymer. The piece stands at 12 feet tall. Click on the images for full size.


He has received two National Endowment for the Arts awards, four grants from the Illinois Arts Council, The Newhouse Award, and numerous public and private commissions.

Artist statement: While an art student in the 1970’s, I was influenced by the theories and practices of Minimalism and Conceptualism. Between college and graduate school, I was awarded a Fulbright-Hayes scholarship to the United Kingdom to serve as apprentice to the sole millwright for the government’s Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. I learned the ancient techniques and craftsmanship of watermill and windmill construction and preservation. As a result of these influences and experiences, my aesthetic is rooted in craftsmanship while being informed by the sublime nature of minimal forms and the layering of history and ideas.

My work is defined by the tension at the point of contact, or joint, and the act of creating this tension. By joining irregular, organic materials (such as wood limbs and granite shards) to machine-tooled geometric shapes of steel, I create sculpture with actual or implied kinetic relationships among the elements and between the sculpture and its environment.