Detroit ArtPrize artist lands in top ten, could win chunk of prize money

DETROIT, Mich. (WXYZ) - The world's largest cash prizes in art will be given away this weekend with totals of just over half a million dollars and an artist from Detroit has a chance at taking a big chunk of it home.

 The prize money will be awarded to the winner of ArtPrize 2012 in Grand Rapids. ArtPrize is an art contest that is open to almost anyone over the age of 18 years old.  This year it took up three square miles of Grand Rapids and was displayed across 161 venues with 1,517 entries.  

Detroit man Frits Hoendervanger spoke with us from Grand Rapids as he stood nearby his piece. Typically, during the final voting period, an artist stays with their work so they can answer questions from the public. 

"It's just amazing. I mean the response here is just crazy," said Frits.

He made the top ten with his oil painting "Rebirth of Spring".  The painting is so lifelike you feel like you can walk right into it, which had been his goal.

"It seems like I pulled it off from the response that I've gotten from people and I'm in the top 10 which is just unbelievable and I never thought I'd get there, you know, I was just happy to just show my work," said Frits.

Frits had been encouraged to paint by his father.  He taught himself to paint when he was 12 years old, around the same time his family moved to the United States from the Netherlands. As an adult, he spent time with the Grand Rapids Press and then 14 years ago he moved Detroit with his wife. They live in midtown where he has an art gallery and paints people and landscapes. He brought out the feeling of spring in this year's entry after six months of painting layer upon layer. The inspiration came from family property in northern Michigan.  

"I never thought I would get there. I was just happy to show my work," said Frits.

This is the first year Frits has made it to the top ten.  He has been entering for the past three years and last year he made the top 25.

Voting for ArtPrize ends Thursday evening. The winner will be announced on Friday.  All the entries will be on display through Sunday.

If you would like to learn more about ArtPrize you can visit their link here: http://www.artprize.org/

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