KCAD Connections Abound in ArtPrize 2023 Awards

Posted September 29, 2023 in ArtPrize, exhibitions, Studio Arts, Alumni, Master of Fine Arts

ArtPrize, the international art competition based in Grand Rapids, has announced the winners of over $400,000 in prize money for 2023, including four entries with connections to Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD).

Juried Award Winners

Two artists featured KCAD's ArtPrize 2023 exhibition, Architecture of Being, took home awards on the juried side of the competition.

Film-based multi-disciplinary artist Aryel René Jackson won the $20,000 Time-Based Juried Award for the video piece  "The future is a constant wake," a video piece that, in the artist's words, "proposes a somatic way of forging connection with the past through touch and movement."

video still of hands
Video still from "The future is a constant wake" by Aryel René Jackson (image courtesy of the artist)

Time-Based Juror Coka Trevino, curator and director of programming at Big Medium and Soho House in Austin, Texas, praised Jackson for the piece's “profound relevance and innovative approach to connecting with the past while preparing for the future.”

Mandy Cano Villalobos, an interdisciplinary artist whose work spans installation, 2D, performance, and sculpture, won a $5,000 Juried Honorable Mention Award in the Installation category for the piece "Gambling on the Horizon." Composed of found objects referencing the identity of the Grand Rapids area, the installation call viewers to recognize familiar objects and explore the cultural associations and sense of belonging they evoke. 

People looking at art
ArtPrize visitors explore "Gambling on the Horizon" by Mandy Cano Villalobos (credit: Dianne Carol Burdick)

Installation Juror and KCAD alum Joshua Solas ('18, BFA Illustration), an independent artist and designer who creates under the brand SOLASINK, highlighted the piece's power for collective connection, calling it “a beautiful and honest representation of its environment, Grand Rapids.”

Visibility Award Winners

KCAD alumni Salvador Jimenez-Flores ('14, MFA) and Christopher Shields ('98, BFA Fine Arts) were among the winners of ArtPrize's 2023 Visibility Awards, $5,000 awards recognizing artists from underrepresented communities who exemplify excellence in their work. 

Jimenez-Flores received the Horizontes Award for "Caminantes / Wayfarers," a sculpture on view at the ArtPrize Oasis that celebrates the resiliency and adaptability of the immigrant community in Grand Rapids while reminding us that migration is a shared experience and a shared history that unites us more than it divides us. 

a sculpture of a cactus
"Caminantes / Wayfarers" by Salvador Jimenez-Flores (image courtesy of the artist)

Born and raised in Jalisco, México before moving to the United States at a young age, Jimenez-Flores has nurtured a thriving and multifaceted creative practice that explores his bicultural and bilingual identity as an ever-present challenge of double consciousness, anxiety, and melded identity. He is a recipient of Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grants and The New England Foundation for the Arts, Threewalls’ RaD Lab+Outside the Walls Fellowship Grant, and he is a 2021 United States Artist Fellow. His award-winning work has been presented at such venues as the National Museum of Mexican Art, Grand Rapids Art Museum, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, and Museum of Art and Design amongst others, and has held artist-in-residence positions with the city of Boston, Harvard Ceramics Program, Office of the Arts at Harvard University, and Kohler Arts Industry. 

Shields received the Prism Award for  "Technophobia," a beautifully rendered and hauntingly fragmented oil painting on view at The Morton that explores human identity and creativity in the age of artificial intelligence.

A painting of a face
"Technophobia" by Christopher Shields (image courtesy of the artist)

The Grand Rapids-based artist explores themes of inclusion, desire, authenticity, and queer identity in a creative practice that spans—and often blurs the lines between—multiple mediums, including digital manipulation of analog paintings and drawings. Shields has exhibited his work nationally and internationally, and has also taught art in Minneapolis, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Detroit.


KCAD has played a leading role in ArtPrize 2023 as part of the new public-private partnership powering the prestigious competition alongside the city of Grand Rapids and Downtown Grand Rapids, Inc. The college is hosting exhibits and celebrating student, faculty, staff and alumni contributions throughout the event, which runs through Sunday, October. 1.

KCAD in the News!

We love to share stories about how our students, alumni, faculty and staff are moving the needle. Please take a moment and tell us yours by filling out the KCAD News submission form!


 Subscribe to the feed