GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Even though they can’t compete again, defending ArtPrize champs Ann and Steve Loveless are back in Grand Rapids for the world’s largest art competition.
Their 2015 grand prize-winning entry, a textile and photographic print blend entitled “Northwood Awakening,” is on display at the ArtPrize HUB on Sheldon Boulevard, just south of Fulton Street.
The Lovelesses say their success at ArtPrize has changed their lives, boosting business at their gallery in northwestern Michigan.
“We just get so many more visitors to our gallery in downtown Beulah, and so many calls and commissions. Our sales are very, very good,” Steve Loveless said. “We are delighted how much it benefits the entire community, all of Beulah. People come to town and hang around and shop other stores, and many people who have never even been up north. So it’s been great.”
Some people, his wife said, come to the gallery on “a mission” to see the ArtPrize winners.
“Other people kind of stumble in and go, ‘Oh, gosh, these were the ArtPrize winners. So it works both ways,'” Ann Loveless continued.
Ann Loveless is ArtPrize’s only two-time champion: She won on her own in 2013 with a textile piece titled “Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore” and then with her husband in 2015. Her ArtPrize winnings total $400,000.
When asked if she had any advice for other artists thinking about entering the competition, she said, “Just create a piece of artwork that you love.”
“Believe in yourself,” she continued. “Get the best venue you can. Keep trying. You just never know what can happen. Stand there and talk to the public and enjoy yourself. You might get lucky and win.”
Because of a new rule banning past winners, the Lovelesses are not allowed to compete in ArtPrize again.
“I’ve been involved in ArtPrize four years and won twice, so I’m good. I kind of laughed, really, when I first heard it (the new rule),” Ann Loveless said. “I think ArtPrize have given us so many opportunities that we’re good with the one win and now we move on and have other opportunities, other exhibits, other shows. Just move on. I’m fine with the rule.”
She said she had an idea in mind for an upcoming ArtPrize competition — a textile portrait as opposed to her typical landscape. Steve Loveless said he was thinking about creating and entering a large 360-degree panoramic photo of Sleeping Bear Dunes.
“We could still do it and enter it in some other exhibit. We’ll keep going with our artwork and our ideas,” Ann Loveless said.