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Top five artists chosen from 232 as 2017 MI Great Artist online competition gets down to business

Five artists will vie for the top spot in the 2017 MI Great Artist online competition and a share of more than $16,000 in cash and prizes.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced the finalists.

“These are supremely talented individuals,” Patterson said. “Their skill and passion is evident in the incredible works they’ve created. I encourage everyone to go to Park West Gallery and see these wonderful pieces in person.”

The finalists listed alphabetically are:
  • Meredith Lea Bailey, watercolor on paper – Rochester Hills
  • Michael Bollerud, graphite pencil on paper – Taylor
  • Margret Grace McDermott, oil on panel and linen – Clarkston
  • Thomas Tunney, oil on panel – Commerce Township
  • Jennifer M. Whaley, graphite on paper – Rochester Hills
Patterson and Albert Scaglione, founder and CEO of Park West Gallery in Southfield, launched the contest in 2012 as a quality of life initiative to identify and support up-and-coming artists. They will announce the winner during an Oct. 25 reception at Park West. It begins at 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public. The work of the five finalists will be on display at the gallery from Oct. 26 – Nov. 2.

The finalists were among 232 artists from Genesee, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair and Wayne counties who entered the online competition in September in hopes their entries would catch the discerning eye of the public.

After more than 34,500 votes were cast, the field was whittled down to 22 artists and presented to the judges: 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, coordinator of arts and culture for Oakland County's Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs.

The MI Great Artist winner will receive a $1,500 cash prize; five submitted artworks framed by Park West Gallery; a group exhibition at Park West Oct. 26– Nov. 2, with an award ceremony and reception; a scholarship to attend three Business Basics workshops at the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center; a one-hour consultation with an Oakland County business development representative; their artwork featured on a poster to promote one of Oakland County’s signature quality of life events; a solo exhibition at Park West; and a two-month solo exhibition at the Oakland County Galleria in the Executive Office Building in Waterford.

Four runners-up will each receive a $375 cash prize and other services. MI Great Artist partners include Oakland County, Park West Gallery, the Economic Growth Alliance, AdvantageOakland.com and Oakland County Prosper® magazine.
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