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34,500+ public votes whittle down 232 artists as MI Great Artist Competition teduced to top 22

Fourteen Oakland County residents, five from Macomb County and three from Wayne County are the 22 artists who have a chance at becoming the 2017 MI Great Artist winner.
 
More than 34,500 public votes were cast in 12 days during the online art competition. The field of 232 entrants was reduced to 22 semi-finalists for consideration by a panel of judges. Originally the top 20 artists were to be selected but the closeness of the voting and the quality of the entries made it necessary to include the additional two artists.
 
“I continue to be amazed by the work of these talented artists and how the public has embraced the competition,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “In less than two weeks, we had more than 34,500 votes – 15,000 more than we had last year. The contest gets bigger and better each year. I thank the artists for entering and congratulate those whose work will go before the judges.”
 
A panel of judges will review the work of the semi-finalists beginning Tuesday and announce the five finalists on September 19. Their work will be displayed at Park West Gallery in October. Patterson and Park West Gallery founder and CEO Albert Scaglione launched the contest in 2012 as a quality of life initiative to identify and support up-and-coming artists. They will announce the winner at an evening gallery reception on October 25. The finalists will share a prize package worth more than $16,000.
 
The judges are Scaglione; Elliott W. Broom, vice president of museum operations at the Detroit Institute of Arts; Dominic Pangborn, founder of Pangborn Design Collection and a former professor at the College of Creative Studies; artist and sculptor Don Tocco; and Kristie Everett Zamora, arts and culture coordinator for Oakland County's Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs.

The semi-finalists listed alphabetically are:
  • Meredith Lea Bailey - Rochester Hills
  • Michael Bollerud – Taylor
  • Nancy Jane Byrum – Wyandotte
  • Hailey Callahan - Rochester   
  • Rick Cook - Chesterfield
  • Caroline Del Giudice - Detroit 
  • Lacy Draper – Roseville
  • Kim F. Fujiwara - Rochester Hills
  • Andrew Groen - Rochester Hills
  • Margret Grace McDermott – Clarkston
  • Allison Michelini - West Bloomfield
  • Claudia Monet - Waterford
  • Kelly O'Hara - St. Clair Shores
  • Wendy C. Popko -Sterling Heights
  • Rachel Quinlan – St. Clair Shores
  • Arthur Mervyn Richards III - Madison Heights
  • Kimberly Kelly Santini - Lake Orion
  • William Bradshaw Ten Eick - West Bloomfield
  • Ellen Anne Tessada - Rochester Hills
  • Vasundhara Tolia - Bloomfield Hills
  • Thomas Tunney - Commerce
  • Jennifer M. Whaley - Rochester Hills
 
The MI Great Artist winner will receive $1,500; five submitted artworks framed by Park West Gallery; a group exhibition in October at Park West Gallery in Southfield, with an award ceremony and reception Oct. 25; and a selection of business services from the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center; among other prizes
 
Four runners-up will each receive $375 and other services.
 
MI Great Artist partners include Oakland County, Park West Gallery, AdvantageOakland.com and Oakland County Prosper® magazine. 
 
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