ArtPrize piece aimed at saving Michigan’s monarchs

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ArtPrize Eight The Butterfly Effect 092716_248265

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — More than 1,200 bronze monarch butterflies have taken over DeVos Place Convention Center.

It’s part of the ArtPrize Eight entry titled The Butterfly Effect.

Co-creator Bryce Pettit said the piece took five days and more than 100 hours to install. That doesn’t include the countless hours it took to make each of the 1,234 bronze butterflies.

“We chose that number because it shows growth and we call it Butterfly Effect because small action grows into large effects,” Pettit explained.

It’s the first major collaboration between Pettit and Allison Leigh Smith.

Each bronze butterfly is about the same size as Michigan’s delicate monarchs. Pettit and Smith hand-sculpted and hand-rubbed each piece to bring out the natural bronze color.

“[There was] lots of work in each step. We’ve taken no short cuts,” Pettit said. “We started making them eight months ago and didn’t quit until we had enough.”

Pettit said that he has enjoyed hearing visitors’ stories about butterflies. However, the artistic duo is trying to win the $200,000 grand prize to spread a bigger message.

“We have a message of conservation, about protecting the monarchs, and Michigan is a very important state for that,” Pettit explained.

Pettit and Smith are giving away milkweed seeds throughout the week to help with the state’s declining monarch butterfly population. Milkweed is the host plant for monarch caterpillars.

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