The Creative 360 gallery was packed with artists and guests the evening of June 30 for the 8th annual ArtFest 55 festival. Designed to celebrate the creativity of Michigan residents age 55 and over, the evening included an exhibition opening, talent show and writing competition all with awards. This record-breaking year included 190 entries from 19 cities across Michigan from as far away as Rock in the UP! There were 165 art pieces from 98 artists; 22 written pieces from 12 writers; and 3 performances with 5 performers. More than 200 people attended the event.
Curator Colleen Reed who hung the exhibition said, “This is the highest number of pieces ever included in an exhibit here. It was a challenge to organize the art in a way that allowed each piece to shine.” That, however, is exactly what she did. The gallery beautifully showcases each piece.
Donovan Entrekin, Art School Director of the Flint Institute of Arts served as jurist for this exhibit. Entrekin received his MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine
Arts. His undergraduate concentration was painting and printmaking, and graduate studies focused on painting and sculpture.
“This is a joyous exhibit with many very good artists,” he said.
Entrekin’s job was not an easy one. He first had to choose the art that would be accepted into the exhibition, and then choose the winners. Entrekin’s criteria for inclusion was that the piece had to demonstrate a good use of the medium and also exhibit an element of mystery. Ultimately, 108 pieces grace the gallery. Winners in each category include:
Best 2D: Robert Iwamasa (Midland) for his acrylic painting The Watchman
Honorable Mention: Alice Wilsey (Saginaw) for her watercolor Earth’s Edge
Best 3D: Roger Reichmann (Midland) for his vintage assemblage Euclid’s Box
Honorable Mention: James MaloneBeach (Mt. Pleasant) for his piece called Suffer the Children, a fabricated bronze piece with doll’s face and hands holding a missile.
“This is a statement about the children we send to war,” MaloneBeach explained. They come back damaged.”
Best Photography: Carol Harris Buller (Midland) for Zuhören, a photograph of a sculpture in Salzburg, Austria. The word zuhören is on the wall behind the sculpture. The word translates to listen, attend to or take heed.
Honorable Mention: Leeny MaloneBeach (Mt. Pleasant) for her self-portrait I wasn’t using it anyway. “Even though I elected the mastectomy, I resented the cancer that made it necessary,” she said.
Best in Show: Jim Matherne (Essexville) for his watercolor Good Boy. “I started out painting with the idea of a lake walk, but, as most of my paintings go, things change!”
Luana Russell and Sarah Yoder, retired English teachers for Midland Public Schools served as jurists for the writing competition. They read through 22 pieces of writing that included memoir, poetry and short stories without knowing who wrote them.
“Luana and I were impressed by the excellent quality of writing exemplified by a clear focus, fresh and effective imagery, and imagination,” said Yoder. “The winners also elicited genuine emotion from us.”
“There were several especially fine entries in poetry this year,” said Russell. “That was the toughest category.”
The written word winners are:
Poetry: From Joy written by Nancy Snell (Midland)
Memoir: Two Bits for Your Thoughts by Jim Crissman (Midland)
Story: The Good Old Days also by Jim Crissman
The talent competition included original songs, guitar playing and singing. Laura Brigham (Midland) and Janet Martineau (Saginaw) served as judges. Each act won a prize as follows.
First: Mike Zurech (Midland) for his guitar performance.
Second: Nancy Nickerson (Midland) for her original song Star Spangled Fishing. Accompanist: Ginger Kruger
Third: Darby and Jerry Gwisdala (Midland) for their performance of the song, Far Side Banks of Jordan.
The ArtFest 55 exhibition and creative writing entries will be on display through August 27. There is never a charge to visit a Creative 360 exhibition. Everyone is welcome.
If you’d like to be part of the ArtFest 55 festival in 2018, it’s not too early to start planning. Call for entries goes out in March for the June event.
Creative 360 would like to thank the following ArtFest 55 sponsors for their generous contributions to the event and prizes: Cartridge World, Crepe Et Amis, Eastman Party Store, Ieuter Insurance Company, Jimmy Johns, and The Loch Coffee Company.
About Creative 360
Creative 360 is a not-for-profit community arts and wellness organization founded in 1994. Its mission is to create environments that allow people of all ages and abilities to experience the creative process, and to enhance physical, mental and spiritual wellness through the arts and humanities. The organization’s core values of inclusiveness, creativity, respect and community drive the culture at Creative 360. Activities at Creative 360 are supported in part by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, Midland Area Community Foundation and the Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation.