Featuring 143 West Michigan Artists, Award Winners Recognized During Upcoming Lowell Gallery Hop

LowellArts announces the opening of the 31st Annual West Michigan Art Competition highlighting outstanding artwork by 143 Lower West Michigan artists. The selected entries will be on display at the LowellArts Gallery (223 W Main St, Lowell, MI 49331) from now to April 15. Gallery hours are: Tues-Fri 10am-6pm and Sat 10-5pm. A meet-the-artists reception and presentation of awards is scheduled for Thursday, March 9 from 5:30-8:30pm. The event is part of the 3rd annual Lowell Gallery Hop.

A record number of artwork was entered into the competition this year. Artists were allowed to enter one or two pieces into the competition – 421 pieces by 237 artists were entered. The competition was open to all visual art media by artists 18 yrs. and older. The artists also must reside in one of 25 eligible counties in west Michigan. Eligible west Michigan counties included: Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Cass, Calhoun, Clare, Clinton, Eaton, Gratiot, Ionia, Isabella, Kalamazoo, Kent, Lake, Mason, Mecosta, Muskegon, Montcalm, Newaygo, Oceana, Osceola, Ottawa, Saint Joseph, Van Buren.

This year’s competition was juried by Nichole Maury, who selected the artwork that is included in the exhibition, and also selected the award winners. Nichole Maury is an Associate Professor in the Printmedia Area and Curator of the University Print Collection of the Gwen Frostic School of Art at Western Michigan University. A total of $2,000 in cash prizes were awarded to 1st through 5th place, and 5 honorable mentions were selected.

The artwork that Nichole Maury selected is of very high quality, and represents a very diverse range in styles, subject matter, and media. Award winners are listed below, and the full list of pieces included in the exhibition can be found on the LowellArts website

  • 1st Place – Michael Ver Merris from Grand Rapids – Vessel LXXVII, Raku
  • 2nd Place – Joshua Clark from Middleville – Elephant, Cut Wood
  • 3rd Place – Todd Maertz from Muskegon – January, Photography
  • 4th Place – Douglas Klemm from Jenison – Blueberries in Autumn, Oil
  • 5th Place – Colleen Woolpert from Kalamazoo – Planet of the Blind, Mixed Media
  • Honorable Mention – Randi Ford from Grand Rapids – Honesty is Key
  • Honorable Mention – Lee Ann Frame from Fruitport – Traveling Marbles I, Intaglio & Woodblock Relief
  • Honorable Mention – Gavin Mooney from Grand Rapids – Unreachable, Graphite & Charcoal
  • Honorable Mention – Kathleen Mooney from Lowell – Making Pies, Acrylic on Panel
  • Honorable Mention – Tom Terry from Grand Rapids – Redoubt, Charcoal on Paper

LowellArts invites the public to view the West Michigan Art Competition, meet the artists, and enjoy an art-filled evening in downtown Lowell on March 9 from 5:30-8:30pm. This reception, free and open to the public, is part of the 3rd Annual Downtown Lowell Gallery Hop. LowellArts and other galleries on Main Street will be open March 9 with special evening hours including: Flat River Cottage & Night Forest Jewelry, Chimera Design, Ability Weavers, and Flat River Gallery and Framing. Several local restraurants will also participate by offering a special one-night-only discounts for event-goers of 10% off their total food bill during the Gallery Hop. A coupon to receive this discount is available at or by stopping at LowellArts.