Sept. 18 2013 12:00 AM

Lansing artists take part in world's largest art competition

As a first-time participant in the Grand Rapids ArtPrize competition (opening today and running through Oct. 6), Haslett artist Sarah Gilmore de Ruiter of Lansing found herself joining the buzz with a painting called “Thunder, Perfect Mind.” The piece is inspired by a gnostic poem by the same title.

“It’s one of my favorite poems,” de Ruiter said. “It reflects the contrasting and varied roles of women in society. Even though the poem was written hundreds of years ago, it is very contemporary.”

De Ruiter teaches seventh grade science at Sexton High School. This week, de Ruiter installed her piece in the RVC Offices in the Riverview Center, 678 Front Ave. in downtown Grand Rapids.

She is one of 42 Lansing-area artists competing in the fifth annual event, which Time magazine called one of the top five festivals in the world earlier this year. About 2,000 artists will compete from a variety of media; over half a million dollars will be awarded to the top 21.

Deb Drew Brown, a photographer from Williamston, is participating in her third ArtPrize competition. She submitted five prints from a trip to the Grand Canyon. Her pieces, collectively called "The Grandest Canyon Collection," will be displayed in the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum.

Brown, an X-ray technician by day, speicalizes in nature photography. She uses bright, saturated colors in her artwork. This year, she offers advice to first time participants and visitors alike.

“Buy a wristband for the shuttle bus,” she said. “It gets very crowded downtown. It’s beyond your imagination” For a full list of all Lansing-area artists competing in ArtPrize, please see page 19.