Three generations of women embrace ArtPrize tradition

ArtPrize

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — For a West Michigan family from the Holland area, competing in ArtPrize has become a tradition.

Three generations have created entries, with the youngest putting together a piece for the very first time this year.

Lori Bearss, her daughter Kaylee Bearss and 88-year-old mother Viola Burgenmeyer, all are artists that use very different mediums.

Lori Bearss prefers to make paper collages, Burgenmeyer weaves baskets from pine needles and Kaylee Bearss created an interactive 3D Twister game for this year’s ArtPrize that spectators can write on with chalk.

The family helped with Kaylee Bearss’ ArtPrize entry, a project she had been wanting to create for many years.

3D Twister, a 2021 ArtPrize entry by Kaylee Bearss across the street from City Built Brewing Company. (Sept. 30, 2021)

“Just being able to experience and spend time with my family has been really cool for me. And once it was finally built, just being able to look at something that was in my head and it’s now here, just blew my mind,” Kaylee Bearss said.

Lori Bearss submitted an entry in 2018 with her 350 art students from Adams Elementary School in Zeeland. The entry won first place in the category for the public vote.

“It was called “More than Words” and each student did a little bird that they put words on that they wanted to send out into the world,” Lori Bearss said.

An undated courtesy photo of “More Than Words,” a 2018 ArtPrize entry by students at Adams Elementary School in Zeeland and art teacher Lori Bearss.

She also participated in ArtPrize in 2017 with her entry “take these broken wings” and in 2016 with “lest they have wings.

Burgenmeyer’s ArtPrize entry was a collection of baskets in 2017 — each one taking weeks to create.

“I don’t sell them. I give them to special people. I’ve given a lot of them away,” Burgenmeyer said.

The family of artists say ArtPrize is not about winning any awards.

“It’s more about just having the courage to put your piece out there and wanting other people to see,” Lori Bearss said.

The 3D Twister entry will be on display across the street from City Built Brewing Company through the end of the weekend.

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