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Michigan Church Hosts International Art Competition


Monroe Community Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Mich. hosted 17 pieces of art during the second annual ArtPrize competition in that city.

ArtPrize showcased the work of 1,700 artists from around the world, focusing on building community between the artists and the general public.

This was the second year Monroe Community was selected as one of nearly 200 venues.

Steve Fridsma, chair of the church’s ArtPrize committee, explained that in order to host artwork, the church applied, was accepted, and paid a fee. Artists then apply for the spots available at the church. More than 240 applied for the 17 spots.

Monroe Community did some fundraising by opening its doors early for a “sneak peek” at the artwork and auctioning off donated art.

Rachel Hyde, whose art was hosted at the church, created “Impressions of Joy” in pen and ink. “[Monroe] is my family [and] my community, so it’s neat to feel supported,” she said.

Although not all of the artists at Monroe were Christians, much of the art was based on artists’ Christian beliefs. “My piece is about Philippians,” said Hyde. “There’s no avoiding that I’m a Christian.”

Fridsma noticed more media coverage and more people this year during ArtPrize. “People who are wandering through will certainly take a spiritual message away.”

Ministry associate Amy Schenkel explained, “[ArtPrize] is a natural fit for us. We value art. We value community. We value what Grand Rapids is about.” Her husband, Rev. Henry Schenkel, added, “It’s a community thing: serving the community, gathering community, and creating community.”

Worship leaders at Monroe also developed a four-week sermon series on the art in the church. “Their artwork asks spiritual questions; the artwork itself could be an evangelistic tool,” explained Fridsma.

Monroe plans to host artwork next year when ArtPrize returns to Grand Rapids for a third year.

Christian Reformed artists that submitted work may have numbered ten or more. Bill Vriesema and Steven Huyser-Honig from Church of the Servant CRC, Danielle Dix from Monroe Community, and Julie Quinn from Sunshine Community CRC all displayed art at Monroe Community Church.

Other CRC artists who showed work at ArtPrize included Wietze Adema, Flint Sackett, and Carol Roeda from Church of the Servant CRC in Grand Rapids; Robin Jensen from Shawnee Park CRC in Grand Rapids; Kirk Lepine from Ivanrest CRC in Grandville, Mich.; and Jason Reiffer from LaGrave Avenue CRC in Grand Rapids.

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