GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The winner of ArtPrize Nine was back in Grand Rapids Wednesday for the 10th iteration of the art competition, but his piece didn’t come with him.
Richard Schlatter of Battle Creek won the $200,000 public vote grand prize last year for “A. Lincoln,” a large portrait of President Abraham Lincoln made from nearly 25,000 pennies. It drew a crowd to the lobby of the Amway Grand Plaza and Schlatter spent up to seven hours each day there, talking to families about it.
The portrait is 12 feet tall and 8 feet wide, and it’s heavy. That makes it difficult to move, which is why it stayed at its current home at 32 W. Michigan Ave. in Battle Creek.
“My heart wants to keep it in Battle Creek,” Schlatter said. “The people there have really responded and have kind of taken ownership of it. So we decided in lieu of selling it, we’ll keep it in Battle Creek and it’s going to remain there for the foreseeable future.”
Schlatter wrote a book documenting his conception of the piece, its construction and his time at ArtPrize. The book is for sale at the Amway Grand Plaza and the ArtPrize pop-up store in the Fifth Third Center. It costs $10, half of which will go to fund a scholarship for students going to art or design schools in Michigan.
“What’s really been neat is that because of ArtPrize and me winning the grand prize, a scholarship was established in my name at the Battle Creek Community Foundation,” Schlatter said. “This past spring, we awarded the first Schlatter Design Scholarship. So that’s pretty cool, to be able to know that it will be able to continue from year to year.”
Schlatter also gave a portion of his winnings to Safe Place Battle Creek, which shelters victims of domestic violence.
ArtPrize 10 runs through Oct. 7. This year’s winners will be announced Oct. 5.