Weatherly Stroh, an oil painter who specializes in animal and landscape paintings, was chosen as winner of the 2014 MI Great Artist online competition.
Stroh, who was a finalist in the 2013 MI Great Artist competition, was selected over four other artists by a panel of art experts. Oakland County Executive L. Patterson made the announcement December 11 during a reception at Park West Gallery in Southfield.
“I’m awed by the talent of these fine artists,” Patterson said. “The competition was very close but Weatherly had a slight edge over the other four finalists. I congratulate her and thank the other 91 artists who entered the competition this year.”
Patterson and Albert Scaglione, founder and CEO of Park West Gallery, presented Stroh with a check for $1,500. Her prizes include five submitted artworks framed by Park West Gallery; a group exhibition at Park West Gallery which runs through Jan. 4, 2015; 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 Gallery; and a two-month solo exhibition at the Oakland County Galleria in the Executive Office Building in Waterford.
The other finalists were:
- Estela Boudreau, a sculptor and former school teacher of St. Clair Shores
- Kim Fujiwara, an oil painter who specializes in illustrations and portraits from Rochester Hills
- Patrick McManus, a wildlife and landscape painter from Warren
- Larry Zdeb, a Troy sculptor who uses found objects and recycled paint in his creations
Fujiwara, McManus and Stroh were finalists in 2013. The work of the five finalists will be on display at the gallery through Jan. 4, 2015.
Stroh is a graduate of the University of Colorado with an undergraduate degree in fine art and a master’s in elementary education. She was an elementary school teacher but turned her focus to painting full time in 2010. She is the great-grandniece of American Impressionist painter Gari Melchers.
The judges were Scaglione; Elliott W. Broom, vice president of museum operations at the Detroit Institute of Arts; Dominic Pangborn, founder of Pangborn Design Collection and former professor at the College of Creative Studies; Don Tocco, an artist whose work includes award winning photography, paintings sold to high end art collectors, portrait sculptures of famous global leaders; and Kristie Everett Zamora, coordinator of arts and culture for Oakland County’s Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs.
Pangborn was especially taken with her work.
“Exquisite composition for an ordinary subject,” he said.
The finalists were among a field of 92 artists from Oakland, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb and St. Clair counties who entered the online competition in September in hopes their entries would catch the discerning eye of the public. After nearly 9,300 votes cast during two weeks, the field was whittled down to 20 artists. A panel of art experts selected the five finalists and ultimately choose the winner.
Four runners-up each received a $375 cash prize; framing by Park West Gallery of five artworks included in their submissions; a group exhibition at Park West Gallery; a scholarship to attend one Business Basics workshop at the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center; a one-hour consultation with an Oakland County business development representative; and a two-month solo exhibition in the Oakland County Galleria.
Patterson and Scaglione launched the contest in 2012 as a quality of life initiative to identify and support up-and-coming artists in the Economic Growth Alliance (EGA) region: Oakland, Genesee, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Shiawassee and St.Clair counties.
MI Great Artist partners include Oakland County, Park West Gallery, the Economic Growth Alliance, AdvantageOakland.com and Oakland County Prosper® magazine.