Dawn Wohlford-Metallo, Bettendorf , IA ; Lisa Higby-Lefevre and Kate Askegaard, Dixon , IL all entered and gained acceptance into the world's largest art competition, ArtPrize®, taking place in venues throughout Grand Rapids , Michigan from September 21 - October 9, 2011 .
ArtPrize® is an international competition with no jury or curator. The public votes on the top 10 pieces and eventually the overall winner. In its third year, ArtPrize® has become an unexpected phenomenon. Part arts festival, part social experiment, part civic project, the event overtakes an entire city bringing visitors in the hundreds of thousands. Venues and artists register and find each other through artprize.org.

Unlike any other event, ArtPrize® gives away the largest cash prize for an art competition--$250,000 to the winner, $484,000 total. The winner is decided solely by a public vote. The vote turns everyone from passive observer into active participant. Anyone 16 years of age or older with an email and valid government ID can vote at no charge, yet all voters must activate their voting status in person at the event. Yes, local residents wishing to support these regional artists will have to make the trip to Grand Rapids . Those making the trip will be immersed, enlightened and amazed by over 1500 works of art by artists from around the world, all within three square miles of downtown Grand Rapids .
The competition will be steep, yet Wohlford-Metallo, Higby-Lefevre and Askegaard all hope to make a name for themselves by participating in this competition.
States Wohlford-Metallo,
"The exposure alone is invaluable. When I attended ArtPrize® in 2010, I was the 1000th person to enter a particular venue on a particular afternoon. Multiply that by 19 days and you've got a lot of people seeing your work."
Wohlford-Metallo, Visual Art Director for Quad City Arts in Rock Island , creates sculptural works primarily with paper pulp she makes herself in her home studio. In the past year, she has shown her work at the Crystal Cork Art Quarterly in Dixon , IL , Art@ Rock River GAP in Rock Falls , IL , and Bucktown Center for the Arts in Davenport , IA.  Dawn's entry, "Compartmentalized States of Being" consists of 12 components, each cast from the same mould using handmade paper. The paper is then embellished with found objects and various surface techniques to illustrate a state of being or a state of mind.
Higby-LeFevre, artist and co-owner of Distinctive Gardens in Dixon , works in the pastel medium, most recently over-sized pastels of intricate abstraction.  She coordinates several local art venues including Dixon 's Second Saturdays Art Happenings, a monthly cultural event. Showing extensively in the region, she captured numerous awards including third place at Freeport Art Museum 's Regional Show 7 in Freeport , IL .  Her work is on continuous display at The Crystal Cork Wine Shoppe and Distinctive Gardens in Dixon .  Lisa's entry, "Precipice of Change" is a 2'x4' over-sized pastel depicting the brink of the Lower Falls in Yellowstone, National Park.  Using an abstract approach, the work when viewed from close range is shear abstract lines and shapes, but from afar is recognizable as the falls.
States Higby-LeFevre,
"ArtPrize® is like Second Saturdays on steroids.  Over 150 venues gather to
showcase artists for nineteen action packed days.  It's phenomenal."
Askegaard received her BFA in Sculpture in 2002 from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. After graduating, she worked creating patterns and molds for planters and fountains and helped create the ash urns in front of the Waldorf Astoria in New York City , and planters at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago Illinois .  She then went abroad, living in Ireland .  Upon return, she searched for a small town that had foundries and a strong art scene and found Dixon , IL .  She has shown at The Next Picture Show in Dixon, receiving an honorable mention for her work.  Kate's entry, "True Love" is a multi-panel, 2-D life-size stippling drawing of Michelangelo's "Pieta".  Using ten's of thousands of tiny, pain-staking dots, Kate created nine 19" x 24" panels for a final size of 5'x 5' with a Steadler .05 Pigment liner on 100s Rag paper.
States Askegaard,
"I can't wait to see all this great art and interact with so many artists."
For more information on ArtPrize®, and to view the three artists' entries, visit:  artprize.org.  For additional information:  Lisa Higby LeFevre website:  lhlefevre.com; Kate Askegaard Blog: katecreating.blogspot.com; Dawn Wohlford Metallo:http://wwww.theartfeed.com/profile/show/303

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