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ArtPrize awarded in GR

By Lindsey Smith, Michigan Public Radio Network


A Michigan artist is the winner of this year's ArtPrize competition. WGVU's Lindsey Smith reports 36-year old Chris LaPorte from Grand Rapids took home the quarter-of-a-million dollar top prize Thursday night.

The voting public narrowed more than 17-hundred artists from all over the globe down to one. Steve Westdrop is a friend of the winner. He's not surprised LaPorte's nearly 225-square foot pencil drawing won.

"I have pictures on my Iphone of his first panel - 8 months ago - and I knew right then that he had a 'wow'," he says.

LaPorte spent roughly 800 hours on the work. It portrays a division of American cavalry officers based in Illinois in 1921. He's been working for nearly two decades as a portrait and caricature artist - working in malls and other venues.

"I could not have had the wherewithal and experience to accomplish what I did with "Cavalry" without that experience over many years," he explains.

Cavalry and all the other artwork that's transformed downtown Grand Rapids will remain on display throughout the weekend.

ArtPrize opened Sept. 22, with 1,713 artists displaying their works at 192 venues. The public decided the top 10 winners. The competition offered $449,000 in prizes. The event runs through Sunday.

The work will be made available for loan to art institutions.

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