BY NATHAN PAYNE
— GRAND RAPIDS — A Frankfort artist was named the 2013 ArtPrize people’s choice winner after the international art competition’s patrons cast 446,850 votes during 16 days of the contest.
Officials say two rounds of public judging ended Friday evening with Ann Loveless’ “Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore,” a quilt depicting a landscape scene, ahead of 1,523 other entries in five categories. Loveless will take home a cash prize of $200,000 for her efforts — the top prize available at ArtPrize.
She also became only the second Michigan artist to win the award since the annual contest began in 2009.
“It is a massive audience of art lovers from near and far who are open and receptive to new ideas and experiences that are intended to be shared with including everyone, from friends to complete strangers,” said Christian Gaines, executive director of ArtPrize in a written statement Friday evening. “Considering the world in which we live, where success is often measured in fleeting, bite-sized, digital morsels, the ArtPrize phenomenon is truly remarkable, and I feel privileged to steward it into the future.”
Also placing in the top three in the public vote was Flint artist Anni Crouter. Crouter’s three massive paintings of polar bears called “Polar Expressed” earned her second place and $75,000.
More than 49,000 people cast ballots during the more than two weeks the contest inundates Grand Rapids with its art, said Brian Burch, a spokesman for the program.