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19 Windows:

by Kelli Kolakowski |

Curious Window Shopping I

T’S TIME FOR EAST HILLS businesses to team up with local artists and transform their windows, taking the phrase “window shopping” to new heights.

As the art competition 19 Windows gears

up for its second year, business owners and art- ists are anticipating what the event will bring to the community in 2011 and look back on the mark left by the 2010 competition. “It reflected the sort of eclectic nature

of the East Hills,” said Brynne Roberts, 19 Windows committee member and Rock Paper Scissors Consignment Boutique owner. “It highlights the very best. I’m excited to see what people come up with; they have big shoes to fill from last year.”

The competition — only open to local

artists — fosters collaboration between artists and business owners in the community. Once an artist is accepted into the event (artists are chosen based on previous work), they are randomly paired with a business. This means no artist has a preconceived idea for a window space, since they do not know which business they will be work- ing with. Once the pairings are made,

19 WINDOWS East Hills Neighborhood Association June 21-25

the artist must create a design that will coincide with the mission of the business. The windows are inspected by a panel of seven judges who give out the awards of $1000 for first place and $500 for second

place. Visitors also have the opportunity to vote for their favorite window and can locate ballots at any of the participating businesses. Their votes will determine the People’s Choice winners, who will receive $500 for first place and $250 for second place. The 2011 competition

will bring with it some additions. “We took some concerted

effort to get feedback from judges, artists and people who came to visit,” Roberts

said. “Now, it’s not only a one-day event, but a week-long event; that way, people have a bigger chance to see the windows. We will also have some street entertainment and food ven- dors and more prize money this year. Last year there were two awards; now we have added two more.” Last year’s winning artist/business col-

laboration was artist Sarah Pupel, whose work appeared in the window of The Conservatory, owned by East Hills enthusiast Wes Beck. “I didn’t give the artist any direction,”

Beck said. “I just said ‘win,’ half jokingly, and then we did!” So what does it take to create the best

window in the competition? “I think someone who gets the essence of

the business they’re working with,” Roberts said. “Someone who makes the most out of the space they’re working with … but really I think the trick will be to catch the essence of business. It will take the artist some time to catch that vibe. Whoever can reflect that the best is going to win.” n

Other Art Events | by By Breann Andersen

Actual, Factual Fables Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park June 3-Aug. 21 General Admission: Adults(14-64) $12, (5-13) $6, Youth (3-4) $4, (2 & under) Free, (616-957-1580)

If you think you have witnessed exceptional exhibits of animal forms and creative figures, then you obviously have not visited Laura Ford’s Actual, Factual Fables exhibit at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. Focused in England and the United Kingdom, this will be the sculptor’s first solo exhibition in the United States. Gathering materials and various entities, Ford creates masterpieces of creatures

that bring reality of social instruct to the viewer. Utilizing contemporary art form, the use of animal imagery helps to provoke a range of emotions. Not only does this exhibit illustrate reality of human circumstances, it will also bring to mind past traditions, for example, the tale of Peter Rabbit.

Portraits and Presence Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Through Aug. 20

FREE!, (269) 349-7775

It’s hard to see ourselves and others for who they really are when we let our insecurities overtake us and hide our social

identities. The Kalamazoo Institutes of Arts will explore this through its exhibit, Portraits and Presence. Starting in 1960, contemporary art offered a rich, complex and personal touch, as this exhibit will fulfill. Who doesn’t want to learn and explore the human image while expanding knowledge of who we “really” are in the process? Although an artist may capture the realistic representation of a person, it’s com- mon to interpret based on our own beliefs, experiences and lifestyles. The KIA’s permanent collection in this exhibit will highlight how artists observe different areas of the human lifestyle through employing the presence of their subjects, and allow people to interpret and learn as they desire.

Hugo Claudin

Color and Sound

| by Maureen DiVirgilio

IN HIS EARLY YEARS as a painter, Hugo Claudin was sometimes asked why his paint- ings didn’t look “more Mexican.” Claudin, a member of the Arts Council

of Greater Grand Rapids and one of the first residents of Avenue for the Arts, moved from Guadalajara to West Michigan as a teenager to study at Kendall Institute of Art and Design. Though influenced by Mexican pop culture and the street graffiti-inspired design of skateboard art, his work didn’t conform to the usual color palettes or themes as typi- cally depicted by well-known Mexican artists and muralists. It’s doubtful that anyone who has seen

his most recent collection, Women on the Verge of Kicking Your Ass, would think to ask that particular question. Currently on display at Mexicains Sans

Frontieres (120 S. Division, Grand Rapids) – Claudin’s live/work space that functions as a home, studio, gallery, concert venue, meeting place, etc. – are portraits of fierce females decked out in traditional Lucha Libre masks. The wildly bright colors are echoes, albeit very loud ones, of the decor that fills Mexicains Sans Frontiers – a blood red rug with giant white polka dots makes its way into some of the paintings, as do lime green, orange and a shade called “Mexican rose,” the authentic version of which can only be produced by pulverizing a certain type of desert bug.

REVUEWM.COM | JUNE 2011 | 57


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