Top Five Artists Chosen as 2014 MI Great Artist Online Competition Gets Down to Business

Five artists – including three returnees from 2013 – will vie for the top spot in the 2014 MI Great Artist online competition and a share of more than $16,000 in cash and prizes.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced the finalists via press release.

“We’re delighted with this year’s finalists, the number of participants overall and the quality of their work,” Patterson said. “There is a lot of talent lurking out there. I thank the public for casting more than 9,200 votes and encourage everyone to view the work of these fine artists on display at Park West Gallery.”

Patterson and Albert Scaglione, founder and CEO of Park West Gallery, will announce the winner during a reception on Dec. 11. The reception is at Park West Gallery in Southfield and begins at 6 p.m. It is free and open to the public. The work of the five finalists will be on display at the gallery from Monday, December 1 through Sunday,  January 4, 2015.

The finalists are:

  • Estela Boudreau, a sculptor and former school teacher from St. Clair Shores
  • Kim Fujiwara, an oil painter who specializes in illustrations and portraits from Rochester Hills
  • Patrick McManus, a wildlife and landscape painter from Warren
  • Weatherly Stroh, an oil painter who specializes in animal and landscape paintings, from Birmingham
  • Larry Zdeb, a Troy sculptor who uses found objects and recycled paint in his creations

Fujiwara, McManus, and Stroh were finalists in 2013.

The finalists were among a field of 92 artists from Oakland, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, and St. Clair counties who entered the online competition in September in hopes their entries would catch the discerning eye of the public. After nearly 9,300 votes cast during two weeks, the field was whittled down to 20 artists. A panel of art experts selected the five finalists and will ultimately choose the winner.

The MI Great Artist winner will receive a $1,500 cash prize; five submitted artworks framed by Park West Gallery; a group exhibition at Park West Gallery Dec. 1 – Jan. 4, 2015 with an award ceremony and reception; a scholarship to attend three Business Basics workshops at the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center; a one-hour consultation with an Oakland County business development representative; their artwork featured on a poster to promote one of Oakland County’s signature quality of life events; a solo exhibition at Park West Gallery; and a two-month solo exhibition at the Oakland County Galleria in the Executive Office Building in Waterford.

Four runners-up will each receive a $375 cash prize; framing by Park West Gallery of five artworks included in their submissions; a group exhibition at Park West Gallery Monday, December 1 through Sunday, January 4, 2015 with award ceremony and reception; a scholarship to attend one Business Basics workshop at the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center; a one-hour consultation with an Oakland County business development representative; and a two-month solo exhibition in the Oakland County Galleria.

The judges are Scaglione; Elliott W. Broom, vice president of museum operations at the Detroit Institute of Arts; Dominic Pangborn, founder of Pangborn Design Collection and former professor at the College of Creative Studies; Don Tocco, an artist whose work includes award winning photography, paintings sold to high end art collectors, portrait sculptures of famous global leaders; and Kristie Everett Zamora, coordinator of arts and culture for Oakland County’s Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs.

Patterson and Scaglione launched the contest in 2012 as a quality of life initiative to identify and support up-and-coming artists in the Economic Growth Alliance (EGA) region: Oakland, Genesee, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Shiawassee, and St. Clair counties.

MI Great Artist partners include Oakland County, Park West Gallery, the Economic Growth Alliance, and Oakland County Prosper® magazine.

About Sarah Hovis

Freelance wordsmith, arts appreciator, grammar geek, sports spectator, stationery snob, and world traveler, Sarah charts her own course as the owner of saliho creative. She uses her creative mind and engaging dialogue to fearlessly bring the written word to life in print and online… all while keeping a watchful eye out for the next literary adventure. You can reach her at

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