The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts has announced award winners sharing more than $6,000 in awards — including a new, $1,000 prize for a Portage-based artist — in the 2018 West Michigan Area Show (WMAS). The awards were presented Thursday, May 24 at the KIA.

A juried exhibition, the WMAS drew entries by established and emerging artists from a 14-county region. Artists and award winners were selected by juror Chicago-based photographer Dawoud Bey.

From more than 500 submissions, Mr. Bey chose 100 works of sculpture, painting, photography, ceramics, glass, prints, mixed media, and fiber. The exhibition was organized by Karla J. Niehus, Interim Curator of Exhibitions.

“Community support for the arts and for artists is demonstrated each year by the Area Show,” says Niehus. “Arts organizations provide support through generous awards, and a dedicated community looks forward each year to seeing new work by regional artists. This a true collaborative effort that shines a light on the arts in West Michigan.”

The exhibition will be on view through September 2. Related exhibition events include free talks by exhibiting artists at noon on Tuesday, June 26, and a tour of the exhibition on Sunday, June 17, at 2 pm (included with admission).

The public is invited to vote for their favorite work during the course of the exhibition, with a final voting date of August 9. The Arts Council of Greater Kalamazoo’s People’s Choice Award ($500) will be announced Tuesday, August 14 at noon, during the KIA’s weekly ARTBreak.

The West Michigan Area Show is sponsored by Chemical Bank and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, with support by David Isaacson in memory of his wife, Helen Sheridan.


  • Helen Sheridan Memorial Grand Prize ($1,000): Franklin Delgado, The Dour Desire to Endure,, graphite and charcoal on paper
  • Second Place ($500): Harry Ahn, I’m Not Worthless, oil on canvas
  • Third Place ($400): Heather Briggs, excerpt from A Stupid Brilliance series–My Journey Overcoming Dyslexia, archival digital prints
  • Fourth Place ($300): Stephan Roll, Ned Kelly with The Kid Featuring Solid Steel Croquet Balls, mixed media assemblage
  • Fifth Place ($200): Tom Terry, Cleft and Bobbing to Shore; From the Nth Generation, charcoal on paper
  • Ward H. and Cora E. Nay Director’s Purchase Prizes: Nichole Maury, Failures of Communication #1, intaglio print, and Beibei Chen and Leilei Chen, Gaia I, hand screenprint


  • Eclectic Glass Guild of SWMI Award for Glass: Tammy Schrock, Blue Lotus, glass (new and recycled) and copper wire
  • Kalamazoo Book Arts Center Award: Rachel Stickney, /=/, archival book materials, ribbon, and resin cast bug remains
  • Kalamazoo Knitting Guild Award for Fiber: Jacqueline Skarritt, On the Line, contemporary and vintage fabrics
  • Kalamazoo Log Cabin Quilters’ Art Quilt Award: Nina Feirer, Dead Celebrity Quilt #1: Musicians “How Long Will They Mourn Me?”, cotton, silk, metallic thread, and batting
  • Kirk Newman Art School Metals and Jewelry Department Award: Jen Surine, Orb Ring, Argentium silver
  • Martin Maddox Prize for Imaginative Realism: Lea Bult, Siobhan in Male, oil on panel
  • Ninth Wave Studio Award for Ingenuity in Mixed Media or Intermedia: Vicki VanAmeyden, Hells Bells, relief print on 47 used tea bags, cord (shown below)
  • Portage Community Art Award: June Belitz, Balancing Act, cotton fabric
  • Signature Artists, LLC, Award: Hannah Apps, We All Have Secrets, oil on panel
  • Southwest Michigan Printmakers Excellence in Printmaking Award: Beibei Chen and LeiLei Chen, Gaia I, hand screenprint
  • Weavers Guild of Kalamazoo Award for Fiber: Sue Hale, Nest, traditional wet felting with resists and embellishment
  • West Michigan Potters Guild Award for Ceramics: William Becker, Me and My Shadow; Totem in Toto; Embrace; ceramic

Artists eligible to enter the WMAS are 18 years or older and live in one of 14 counties surrounding Kalamazoo: Allegan, Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Eaton, Ionia, Kalamazoo, Kent, Muskegon, Ottawa, St. Joseph, and Van Buren. Only original work of the artist’s own design, completed within the last two years was eligible.