Young Kim's 'Salt & Earth (2009)' awarded surprise $5,000 prize at ArtPrize event
October 09, 2009, 1:00AM
GRAND RAPIDS -- The names of ArtPrize's Top 10 award winners were known in advance.
But an unexpected $5,000 award to artist Young Kim became the surprise of the night at Thursday's announcement at DeVos Place.
Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts awarded a Curator's Choice prize to the North Carolina artist, who was a top 25 finalist by popular vote in the competition.
Kim's "Salt & Earth (2009)" was selected by UICA's Visual Arts Committee.
The panel curated the portion of the ArtPrize exhibition at UICA, 41 Sheldon Blvd. NE, and at The Old Federal Building, 155 N. Division Ave. But it was not involved with placement of the site-specific installation in 47 Commerce St. SW.
Kim's installation, which began with photographs that were realized as images in granular salt and powder earth, was widely admired among the local arts community.
After the Korean-born artist failed to advance to the top 10, a #sorryyoungkim hashtag appeared on Twitter.
The surprise announcement, made by UICA Managing Director Janet Teunis and curator Steve Samson, earned a standing ovation from many in the audience of nearly 2,000 in the Steelcase Ballroom.
"We hope this award will further him in his career and recognize him for a job very well done," Teunis said.
Kim wasn't in town for the announcement.
UICA Executive Director Jeffrey Meeuwsen, who also is executive director of ArtPrize, said admirers of Kim's work contributed funds for the award. He declined to name who those were.
Kim's work had been shown at UICA in the past.
"We felt he surpassed what he had done before," Meeuwsen said.
"The piece is strong on so many levels."
An additional honor given was a Sustainable Art Award by Cascade Engineering Inc.
Christina Keller and Lorissa MacAllister, representing the Grand Rapids-based engineering company, presented the award for the artist whose work best reflected the importance of sustainable practices among the 1,262 entries in the competition.
About 224 ArPrize entries were in the sustainability contest, narrowed to five by a committee and then selected via a company-wide vote.
Hessel's installation, an optical illusion called a zoetrope, was powered by the waterfall in the fountain at the museum.
Besides being a work of responsible sustainable media, Keller drew attention to the fact it was fabricated by out-of-work metalworkers in West Michigan.
"It does right while doing well," she said.
Hessels was at breakfast in Singapore -- Friday morning 12 hours ahead of Michigan local time for him -- when he was notified.
He said he was honored by the recognition for a piece fabricated in West Michigan by both green and people power.
"My late father worked at a furniture mill near that site, and coming home to Michigan to make an artwork that is about both the history and the future of my heritage has been an amazing journey," he said.
E-mail Jeff Kaczmarczyk: firstname.lastname@example.org
We've upgraded our community features on MLive.comLearn more! »
- INSIDE ARTPRIZE
Browse by month: