Newsmakers in the World of Craft

“Northwood Awakening,” on view at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, won the hearts of the public at ArtPrize Seven, and garnered the $200,000 Public Vote Grand Prize for Loveless PhotoFiber duo Ann and Steven Loveless of Frankfort, Mich.

ArtPrize, the radically open international art competition decided by both public vote and expert jury, announced the winners of $500,000 in prizes in its seventh annual edition on Oct. 9 in Grand Rapids, Mich. Two $200,000 Grand Prizes were awarded, by public vote to the husband and wife duo Loveless PhotoFiber for “Northwood Awakening,” and by a jury of art experts to Kate Gilmore for her three-dimensional performance piece, “Higher Ground.”

“Northwood Awakening,” a 25-foot long photographic print and quilt hybrid, begins as a panorama of a northern Michigan woodscape. As viewers move from left to right, the photo blends with fabrics to form a quilted textile. It is a collaborative effort of two-time ArtPrize Public Vote Grand Prize winner Ann Loveless, of Frankfort, Mich., and her husband Steven Loveless.


Higher Ground
The professional jurors gave top votes, and a $200,000 Grand Prize award, to New York State artist Kate Gilmore for her magical installation piece, “Higher Ground.”

The three professional judges selected “Higher Ground” by New York State artist Kate Gilmore as its Juried Grand Prize winner. Gilmore’s piece, staged in a house at the Rumsey Street Project in Grand Rapids, featured nine women on swings mounted from the house’s ceiling and in front of open windows.

The 19-day event included 1,550 artist entries representing 48 countries and 42 U.S. states and territories, exhibiting work in 162 public venues throughout seven ArtPrize districts.

Mary Lee Bendolph
Mary Lee Bendolph
Lucy Mingo
Lucy Mingo
Loretta Pettway

Among the artists awarded recently by the National Endowment of the Arts as its 2015 National Heritage Fellows are ceramist and teacher Yary Livan, straw artist and folk painter Sidonka Wadina, and Gee’s Bend quilters Mary Lee Bendolph, Lucy Mingo and Loretta Pettway.

Livan, of Lowell, Mass., is one of perhaps only three Cambodian master ceramicists to have survived the 1975 Khmer Rouge genocide and the only one known to be living in the U.S., where he shares his artistic knowledge with the next generation through classes and apprenticeships. As an active member of the Slovak neighborhood where she was raised in Milwaukee, Wis., and with the guidance of her grandmother, Wadina learned a number of egg decorating styles and straw weaving patterns, which she now travels the world teaching to others. The Gee’s Bend artists, of Boykin, Ala., are three of the chief quilters from the oldest generation of quilters representing this profound cultural legacy, which dates back to the early 19th century when female slaves used strips of cloth to make bedcovers.

Congratulations are due to Baltimore Clayworks, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary with an ongoing series of programs and special events. The organization opened its doors to the public on June 9, 1980. Also marking a special milestone is the Craft & Folk Art Museum (CAFAM), which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year on Los Angeles’ historic Miracle Mile.

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