Top Five Artists Chosen from Field of 109 as 2015 MI Great Artist Online Competition Gets Down to Business

Five artists – including one returnee from 2014 – will vie for the top spot in the 2015 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.

“These are supremely talented individuals,” Patterson said. “Their skill and passion is evident in the incredible works they’ve created. I encourage everyone to go to Park West Gallery and see these wonderful pieces in person.”

The finalists (with their medium and hometown) are:

  • Meredith Bailey, watercolor, Rochester Hills
  • Michael Bollerud, pencil on paper, Garden City
  • Kenneth Hershenson, acrylic on canvas, Clawson
  • Jennifer Whaley, graphite drawings, of Rochester Hills
  • Larry Zdeb, mixed media collage, Troy

Zdeb was a finalist in 2014.

Patterson and Albert Scaglione, founder and CEO of Park West Gallery, launched the contest in 2012 as a quality of life initiative to identify and support up-and-coming artists. They will announce the winner during a reception on Dec. 8. 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 Dec. 1 – Jan. 8, 2016.

The finalists were among a field of 109 artists from Oakland, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, St. Clair and Wayne counties who entered the online competition in September in hopes their entries would catch the discerning eye of the public. After more than 22,000 votes were cast during two weeks, the field was whittled down to 25 artists and presented to the judges: Scaglione; Elliott W. Broom, vice president of museum operations at the Detroit Institute of Arts; Dominic Pangborn, founder of Pangborn Design Collection and a former professor at the College of Creative Studies; artist and sculptor Don Tocco; and Kristie Everett Zamora, coordinator of arts and culture for Oakland County’s Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs.

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. 8, 2016, 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 and other services.

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


About Patrick Reyes

Patrick Reyes works for MRM Detroit, a leading digital agency in Birmingham. He also blogs at Rey(es) of Light and Edooce. You can follow him on Twitter at @patrickreyes.

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