GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Two sisters from metro Grand Rapids are making competing in ArtPrize a family tradition.
Rebecca Humes has entered A Tale of Ten Dresses in this year’s competition. Her sister Jennifer Dunahee entered Serpentina the Dragon in 2021 and Twigg the Forest Dragon in 2022, and Twigg went on to win its category. Both were displayed outside the Amway hotel.
This year, Humes’ wearable dresses are made from salvaged children’s books. The exhibit in the lobby includes the dresses of the JW Marriott and a photo of people modeling them.
“Every year, 320 million books end up in the landfills, so I’m just doing something different with them,” Humes said.
The project has been a commitment of true passion, beginning two years ago.
“When they decided they were bringing back the big prize, I decided I was going to commit and I did nothing but this for the last six months,” Humes said.
This year’s top public votegetter will win $125,000.
The sisters both competed in ArtPrize 2021.
“We both ended up in the top and so unintentionally, we took votes from each other, and I didn’t like that, so we decided to do every other year. And last year she won for her category because she is incredible,” Humes said. “So I’m just hoping I can live up to the name here.”
They decided they needed to change how they compete to provide more time to support each other.
“We agreed that from here on out, we would just take turns entering so that way we would get to cheer each other on. So last year was my turn and this year was my sister’s turn,” Dunahee said.
She has enjoyed seeing Humes get her chance in the ArtPrize spotlight and supporting her along the way.
“When I was getting ready last year, I broke my foot and had a really stressful time. I was able to come and she like was able to help me out like on that homestretch,” Dunahee said.
Competing in ArtPrize has brought the sisters even closer together and Dunahee hopes voters recognize Humes’ talent.
“I think that her entire exhibit is so amazing and so magical that I really do feel like she’s got a good shot at it,” Dunahee said.
Whether the work receives formal recognition or remains a fan favorite, Humes said the dedication is all worth it to see the work being enjoyed.
“I love seeing like the kids react. People of all ages — older men, younger boys, girls, everybody — I just loved seeing their reactions,” Humes said.