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Michigan quiltmaker wins top prize at ArtPrize, again


For the second time, Ann Loveless of Frankfort, Michigan has won the top prize at Grand Rapids' annual ArtPrize competition.

This year, she had some help.

Loveless and her husband, Steven, collaborated on the winning piece, a mixed-media effort called "Northwood Awakening."

The 25 foot long piece begins as a photo of a northern Michigan woodscape.

As viewers move from left to right, the photo blends with fabrics to form a quilted textile. 

Steven Loveless said many ArtPrize patrons who passed by the piece told him it was like "walking into a memory."

“People said, ‘I feel like I could just walk into this, I feel like I could be there.’ That’s something that I myself like to communicate in a piece of work,” he said. 

As the public vote grand prize winners, the Lovelesses are taking home $200,000.

They're the first artist team to win the top prize, and Ann Loveless is the first to win it twice.

She also took home grand prize in 2013, for her quilt depicting Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Loveless said she never thought she'd win twice.

"Never in a million years," she said. "I mean, I’m still kind of in shock from two years ago. I’m pinching myself right now."

The evening's other big winner was Kate Gilmore of New York City.

She won the top juried prize, also worth $200,000, for her piece "Higher Ground."

The time-based entry featured women swinging on swings inside an empty house on Rumsey Street.

Gilmore said she likes deconstructing things, then reconstructing them into something new.

“[I like] taking something that’s kind of derelict and forgotten and making it into something beautiful that speaks to the history of the people who lived there and the community," Gilmore said

ArtPrize continues through Sunday in downtown Grand Rapids.

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