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ArtPrize will host a first-ever series of LINK SESSIONS during the 2013 event.  ArtPrize :: LINK SESSIONS  will provide real connections, professional advice and new opportunities to ArtPrize artists through one on one sessions with working art professionals.  More than 30 contemporary art and design professionals will volunteer their time to consult and advise participating 2013 ArtPrize artists through one on one sessions.  LINK SESSIONS are intended to catalyze professional advancement opportunities; artists can use their session for portfolio review, conceptual presentation and feedback, or informational interviews.

Each session will run 20 minutes and will be generously hosted at Haworth | Interphase @ MoDiv, at the corner of Monroe Center and Division.  LINK SESSIONS are open only to 2013 ArtPrize artists.  Artists will apply to meet with the art and design professional of their choice by indicating their area of interest and writing a brief proposal describing how they intend to use the 20-minute session.  Submitted applications will be reviewed by the exhibitions team, and successful applications will fill the sessions on a first come first serve basis.

Students, hobbyists, and emerging and established artists can all benefit by connecting with our consultants who are leaders in fine arts organizations, academic institutions, and the design community.  ArtPrize :: LINK SESSIONS consultants are recognized experts, curators, community organizers, envelope pushers, activists, artists, theorists, gallerists and entrepreneurs. Learn more about the consultants, organized alphabetically by session, below:

SEPTEMBER 18, 4-6pm

JOSEPH ANTENUCCI BECHERER, Chief Curator and Vice President of Collections and Exhibitions, Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park is the founding Director and Curator of the Sculpture Program.  In addition he is the Lena Meijer Professor in the History of Art at Aquinas College, and teaches courses in Renaissance, Modern, and Contemporary Art.  Joe has authored numerous books and articles, and curated many exhibitions on the Modern and Contemporary, Renaissance and Baroque periods.  Most recently he has organized exhibitions of Jaume Plensa, Jonathan Borofsky, Andy Goldsworthy, Beverly Pepper, Mark di Suvero, Henry Moore, George Segal, Richard Hunt, Auguste Rodin, Magdalena Abakanowicz and Anthony Caro, among others.

NANCY L. BEEBE, Owner, Beebe & Associates Appraisal Firm.  She is an Accredited Personal Property Appraiser with special credentialing in Fine Art and an Accredited Member of the International Society of Appraisers, Fine Art Specialty.  Her professional appraisal practice includes consultation, non-cash charitable donation, equitable distribution, estate planning, estate settlement and taxation, insurance coverage, damage claims, assistance with auction sales and acquisition, loan collateral and collection liquidation.  Beebe & Associates has private, corporate and institutional clients throughout the United States.  Nancy has appraised the ArtPrize winners for the last three years.

JOHN BERRY, Executive Director, Design West Michigan.  With Kendall College of Art and Design, John is developing a Masters in Design degree. He has over forty-four years ofprofessional design experience and leadership including The Smith Group, a leading architectural design firm, and as Vice President of Corporate Communications for Herman Miller. He is the author of ‘Herman Miller: The Purpose of Design’published by Rizzoli. He has an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art and a BA from Indiana University in Design and Spanish. He is a former board member of the GRAM, OxBow and Kendall College of Art and Design and currently serves on the National Advisory Committee of Cranbrook Academy of Art.

JORDAN O’NEIL, Director of Corporate and Community Relations, Synergis Education; Founder, Failure:Lab. O'Neill views his place in Grand Rapids as a connecter of people and passions. Side projects are his hobby– he is the Founder of Failure:Lab, a raw and intimate evening showcasing personal stories of failure that empowers audience members to persevere by exploring the space between people who fail and quit, and those who get back up again. He is also a partner in the Elemental Project, a digital publishingcompany that showcases innovative philanthropy.

Dr. DAVID ROSEN, President, Kendall College of Art and Design is an ArtServe Michigan board member, who is leading strategic planning.  Since arriving a little over a year ago, he has reached out to the community, including ArtPrize, to create a number of partnerships.  Among these, is a partnership with the public schools and the Public Museum to create a 6-12 grade curriculum that uses art and design thinking to teach all subjects-- one that can help marginalized populations achieve great success.  He asserts that because humans, unlike other animals, shape their environments so they can adapt and thrive, the artist's engagement in the community is necessary to sustain and support the arts and art practitioners and also to build robust communities.

JENN SCHAUB, Neigborhood Revitalization Department, Dwelling Place, has focused interest in helping creative communities grow. After graduating with a BFA from GVSU, she began working with community art collectives including “lo-fi project site” and “The Division Avenue Arts Collective”. In 2005 she began promoting and working with the Avenue for the Arts as part of the Dwelling Place neighborhood revitalization department in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  In 2006 she graduated with a Masters of Non-profit Administration from GVSU. She is currently a board member of the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network of Grand Rapids and the Heartside Business Association. In 2012 Jenn was recognized as a GVSU Distinguished Alumni and received the P. Michael Wanroy Volunteer in Business Award from the Neighborhood Business Alliance.

DAVE VELDKAMP, Senior Studio Lead, Tekna, Inc. is an accomplished designer at one of Michigan’s largest Industrial Design Studios.  Throughout his career he has developed over 25 products, many in the medical device market, and has been internationally recognized with 14 design awards, most recently a 2013 Red Dot Award.  Dave has been an advisor for a Design West Michigan, a design advocacy group, for the last three years.  Much of Dave’s DWM’s work has been focused on Design Thinking in K-12 education. Inaddition, Dave has taught Industrial Design at Western Michigan University and volunteers at the Grand Rapids Public Museum, Grand Rapids Art Museum and Kendall College of Art and Design.  Dave resides in Grand Rapids with his wifeRachael and 3 children, Maddox, Collins and Cassius.

JONATHAN WILLIAMS, Co-Founder, Failure:Lab, is a serial entrepreneur, surrounded by entrepreneurs, residing in Grand Rapids, MI. He works in Business Development at a Design & Development Studio, Thinkbox Creative. He is a partner in The Elemental Project, Failure-Lab, City Farmers, and the president of a contracting company in San Diego. He loves film almost as much as spontaneous travel, and is forever hunting down the best breakfast burrito.

SEPTEMBER 24, 4-6pm 

MICHELE BOSAK, Curator of Exhibitions at Kendall College of Art and Design, earned her BFA from Kendall College of Art and Design and her MFA and Certificate in Museum Studies from Northern Illinois University, where she was the recipient of a Distinguished University Fellowship. Her artwork has been shown both regionally and nationally in juried competitions, exhibitions, and publications.  Bosak volunteered at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts where she served on the Visual Arts Curatorial Committee for over eight years. Michele has been curating independently and institutionally for the past ten years.

AUSTIN DEAN, is a full-time analyst with GR Current, a local economic development organization supporting early stage companies.  Dean is a native Ohioan turned Michigander who has worked with numerous start-ups in the past, both as a co-founder and as a sounding board for ideas of every shape and color.  His team's most recent endeavor, FAILURE-LAB, uncovers beautiful stories of tragedy and passion, hoping to build communities that embrace its neighbors for their trials and errors.  Dean finished his MBA at GVSU, is a life long Tiger's fan, and a proud Grand Rapidian.

CHRISTIAN GAINES, Executive Director, ArtPrize, was born to American parents in Brussels, Belgium, and raised in the United Kingdom. Christian moved to the United States to attend college, and stayed. With a rich career in film festival strategy, including leadership positions at the American Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival, Sundance, the Hawaii International Film Festival, the American Film Institute, and the Withoutabox division of IMDb.com, Christian joined the ArtPrize team as Executive Director in April 2013.

BEN MITCHELL, Independent Curator, Writer and  Art Editor of the journal, basalt. Mitchell is a recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and Humanities Montana.  He is the author or editor of several books including Ruben Trejo: Beyond Boundaries, Atzlán y más allá published by the University of Washington Press, and the recent Ric Gendron: Rattlebone, published by the Missoula Art Museum.  Mitchell has curated major exhibits with Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Ken Little, Deborah Butterfield, Timothy C. Ely, John Buck, Marie Watt, and others.  He has also
organized projects focused on Andy Warhol’s prints, the earliest art of the pre- and post-conquest American West, and other humanities-based exhibits.  He lives and works in the northern Idaho Rockies and southwest Michigan.

ALEXANDER PASCHKA, Exhibitions Curator, Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts. Paschka's practice has been informed through multidisciplinary design in the museum and gallery professions as well as being a practicing artist himself. Much of his work lives at the intersection between art and technology.  Connecting elements that seem unrelated into the viewer experience and unifying the aspects of the artistic process creates his point of view.

CHRIS PROTAS, Director/Curator, Fire Barn Gallery.  Protas is an original board member of Grand Haven Artwalk and has been the Director/Curator of the Fire Barn Gallery (firebarngallery.com) since its renewal in 2011.  He studied painting at the New York Studio School in Manhattan in the mid-90's, where he lived and painted until 2010 when he relocated to Grand Haven to work on his art.  He has designed and painted numerous murals in different cities and shows with the group Painting In New York. He is currently partnering with NY-based arts management company 2nd Ave Arts (secondavearts.com) to sponsor 20 NYC artists to participate in both ArtPrize and Artwalk 2013.

VON ROBINSON, Principal Designer, Steelcase, graduated with honors from Parsons School of Design, where he also taught, creating the course, Poetics of Design. Before moving to Grand Rapids to become principal designer for Steelcase, he and his wife founded and operated the Brooklyn based design studio, VRiD. He has written and reported for Metropolis Magazine and he writes music and fronts the band, Von Robinson and His Own Universe.

GARY SMITH, Vice President of Product Design & Exploration, Herman Miller, Inc.  In over two decades with Herman Miller, the global leader in designed furnishings for working, living and healing environments, Gary has developed relationships with Industrial Design talent throughout the world, and gently guides design activities within Exploration and Development, to continue Herman Miller’s widely recognized leadership in product design and innovation.  His work helps represent the historical importance of design to Herman Miller's brand and culture.  Prior to Herman Miller, Gary practiced Industrial Design as Design Director at Hasbro, a leading global manufacturer of toys.  His work focused on products for infants and preschoolers, working with such product brands as Mr. Potato Head™, My Little Pony™, Weebles™, and many other infant health and safety products under the Playskool Baby brand.

SEPTEMBER 25, 11am-1pm

KEVIN BUIST, Director of Exhibitions, ArtPrize, oversees exhibitions and programs speakers and jurors. Buist programs a world class speaker series that coincides with the event, that has included lively and provocative lectures by John Waters, Jerry Saltz, and Theaster Gates, among others. He also directs the ArtPrize juried awards, including the selection of jurors.
In addition to ArtPrize, Buist is an artist, writer, curator, and critic of art and film. He has exhibited artwork in solo and group exhibitions in New York City and Grand Rapids, and has been featured in numerous print and online publications including the Art:21 Blog, where he was a Blogger in Residence, as well as Solace Magazine, Art Hack, and SpoutBlog.

HEATHER DUFFY, Artist and Venue Relations / Exhibitions Manager, ArtPrize, is an artist, designer, curator, and maker from the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  She has exhibited regionally and nationally, most recently contributing her designs and site-specific installations to TEDxGrand Rapids.  Heather teaches ceramics classes at the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts (UICA) and volunteers as a member of the Avenue for the Arts Advisory Committee; she also serves as the Exhibitions Committee Chair of the Portland Community Arts Council Board.  Heather has an MFA from Kendall College of Art and Design, in Grand Rapids, where she learned to drive in the snow and became engulfed in theories of memory and place.

JAY FRANKHOUSE, Partner, Fuel-D, is the owner and director a successful creative services consultancy that provides expertise in observation & insight (applicable research), business concept generation, information distillation, visual translation, product ideation and development, design, branding, communications and business accelerator workshops.  As a faculty member of the NewNorth Center, a hybrid business/education start up, Frankhouse leads strategic development, helped design curriculum for the year long innovation methods course. He is also the President of the Holland Area Arts Council Board, a co-organizer for TEDxMacatawa, and an advisor for Design West Michigan.  Frankhouse has a BFA in Design from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit.

DANA FRIIS-HANSEN is Director and CEO of the Grand Rapids Art Museum, taking the helm in July of 2011. Prior to joining GRAM, he most recently served as Executive Director of the Austin Museum of Art.  Friis-Hansen is an accomplished curator, writer, and editor with dozens of exhibitions,catalogues, books, articles, and published papers to his credit.

CHRIS LAPORTE, Faculty, Aquinas College; 2010 Grand Prize winner, ArtPrize, was born and raised in Bay City, MI, pursued fine arts at Aquinas College, where he received a BFA degree in 1996.  LaPorte continued his studies in France and New York, completing an MFA degree from the New York Academy of Art in 1999.  To support his education and fine arts career, LaPorte established a caricature and portrait business.  He has taught a variety of fine arts courses at several arts institutions, including his alma mater, Aquinas, where he is currently an Assistant Professor of Art.  LaPorte has exhibited his paintings and drawings internationally, and has received numerous awards for his artwork, including Grand Prize winner of ArtPrize 2010.

HENRY MATTHEWS, Director of Galleries and Collections, Grand Valley State University. Since November, 1998. Matthews has grown a collection of 750 works of art to more than 11,000.  He oversees an active and diverse exhibition schedule supported by a strong interdisciplinary public education programs in five changing gallery spaces. Matthews was formerly director and chief curator at the Muskegon Museum of Art, and taught at Lawrence Institute of Technology while he served as a research assistant at the Detroit Institute of Arts.  He earned his M.A. in Art History from Wayne State University and his B.F.A. from Alma College.  A native of Salzburg, Austria, Matthews has lead cultural travel programs around the world to every inhabited continent for the past thirty years. Matthews has served on numerous boards and committees, including the Michigan Museums Association, Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts, Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, ArtServe Michigan, the Grandville Academy of Art & Humanities, and the Muskegon Public Art Committee among others.

GWEN O’BRIEN is Co-Principal and Creative Director at Plenty, a branding, graphic, and interactive design studio founded in 2003.  She is a Visual Communications and Interior Design graduate of Kendall College of Art & Design and received their Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011.  Gwen loves giving back to her community and finding ways to help make Grand Rapids a better place to live. Often that plays itself out in the broader design community—she serves as the President for AIGA West Michigan. Gwen is also passionate about animal advocacy and how our food choices impact our world.

AMANDA ROGALSKI, Creative Team, Failure-Lab; Director of West Michigan Business Strategies, Truscott Rossman (Grand Rapids), is a marketing and communications professional.  She directs the Grand Rapids office of a statewide public relations and communications agency.  Through her service to young professional groups in Grand Rapids and across Michigan as well as teaching at Grand Valley State University she works to connect young professionals and students to each other and to their communities.  Her work with Failure-Lab eliminates the fear of failure and encourages intelligent risk taking in companies and communities. Rogalski has been named one of West Michigan’s 50 Most Influential Women and a “40 Under 40 Business Leader” by the Grand Rapids Business Journal.  She is a wife and mother who believes that seeking “work-life balance” is a waste of time.

SEPTEMBER 27, 4-6pm

RICHARD APP, Owner and Director, Richard App Gallery in Grand Rapids.  The company’s initial focus was product photography, photo finishing, and photo restoration, along with gallery shows and outside projects. In 2006, the focus of the business shifted entirely toward fine arts.  Currently, the Richard App Gallery represents more than 50 regional, national and international artists.  Recently, App has juried several regional shows and has curated outdoor projects, including Grand Rapids City Parks for ArtPrize.  He is very passionate about visual arts in West Michigan and the region’s upward trajectory over the past 20 years. App is excited and optimistic about the future.

ELIZABETH CHODOS, Executive Director, Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists' Residency, is interested in creative and enterprising arts administration projects and practices, and moonlights as a creative writer and independent curator. Chodos received a Dual Masters degree from the departments of Art History, Theory and Criticism, and Arts Administration in 2008 from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her Bachelors of Arts in Creative Writing, from Sarah Lawrence College in 2004. She is currently the Executive Director at Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists’ Residency, and was formerly Executive Director at threewalls, where she now serves on the board of directors.

BRIAN DOKTER, Partner and Business Development Manager, Thinkbox Creative, is a competitive, motivated, and intentionally positive person.  He is a partner and the business development manager for Thinkbox Creative, a Grand Rapids based marketing and web development firm. He also is a creator of and partner in several start-ups including Failure-Lab, The Elemental Project, Smooth Ink, Square2, as well as a few in the works.
Personally, he has the honor of being the husband to his wife Rachel and a father to his son Carson and daughter Ella. They are his backbone and inspiration. Professionally, he loves the process of growth and success and is continually seeking more efficient and effective methods of achieving that growth for his clients as well as his own business.

KYLE ISBELL, Co-Founder, Dinderbeck, is a graduate of Kendall College of Art and Design, with concentrations in Printmaking and Photography. He is an active member in the Grand Rapids arts community as an artist and as an organizer. He currently works in the framing department at LaFontsee Galleries, but has also worked for Kendall Gallery as an installer and for the Avenue for the Arts as an event coordinator. For the past three years, he has worked with other young artists in the collective called Dinderbeck, a grassroots studio space that focuses not only on collective workspace, but also on underground events that vary from mural projects to music events to building forts.

MIRANDA KRAJNIAK, Executive Director, UICA, the largest contemporary arts center in Michigan.  With over seven years of arts nonprofit experience, she has done everything from curation, education, and PR, down to answering the phones.  Educated in the Fine Arts, Miranda is a self-taught business woman with a keen eye and strategic mind.

LIANA MESTAS, Co-Founder, Young New England Photographers (www.youngnewenglandphotographers.com), is a Boston based photographer and independent curator.  Her most recent body of work includes photographs, video, objects and installation and has been exhibited in Grand Rapids, MI and Boston, MA.  As the assistant to the artist-in-resident at Samsøn Prøjects in Boston's South End, and the co-founder of Young New England Photographers, or YNEP - a peer-oriented juried showcase that digitally publishes photographic work by recent graduates of New England's institutions - Liana is interested in working with emerging artists.  After curating an exhibition for the 2013 Flash Forward Festival in Boston, Liana joined ArtPrize as the Membership Coordinator / Hospitality Lead.  Liana received a BFA in photography from The Art Institute of Boston where she lives in works when she is not with ArtPrize.

TORI PELZ, Executive Director, CultureWorks, is a Texas native, is making the slow migration north. She is the Executive Director of CultureWorks in Holland, MI, an educational art/design studio and experimental gallery that exists to make excellent art experiences accessible to all.  She is also an artist, freelance arts writer and critic, and co-founder of the regional arts blog, H.A.C.K. She received her MFA from Washington University in St. Louis.

JOEL ZWART is Director of Exhibitions at Calvin College, a private four-year liberal arts college in Grand Rapids, Michigan where he oversees the Center Art Gallery on campus and the (106) Gallery downtown. He also directs all other college-related exhibitions and installations, and manages the college’s permanent collection of over 1,500 pieces of artwork.  He has curated and juried numerous exhibitions and currently serves as Treasurer of the Grand Rapids Gallery Association (GRGA) and as a member of the exhibition committee for the international organization Christians in the Visual Arts (CIVA).

By Heather Duffy on