Grand Rapids High School Junior Wins Top Prize in Consumers Energy Sponsored Student Art Competition

WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 5, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — A Grand Rapids Public Schools junior’s painting depicting the benefits and beauty of energy efficiency has earned her a $1,000 college scholarship and prominent display of her winning creation in downtown Grand Rapids as ArtPrize heads into its final week.

Zoe Bultman’s piece, “Flower Power,” was chosen by three professional judges as the top winner of the third annual SmartArt competition among Grand Rapids Public Schools’ high school students, sponsored by Consumers Energy.

Bultman, who attends City High School, was first among the Top 10 finalists in the SmartArt (Students Making Art with a Renewable Theme) competition. The winners were announced Sunday at Rosa Parks Circle during ArtPrize’s Final 20 announcement of the top publicly voted entries, sponsored by Consumers Energy. The company has been an ArtPrize sponsor since 2011.

Presenting the $1,000 scholarship check to Bultman was Garrick Rochow, Consumers Energy’s vice president and chief customer officer. He was joined on stage by GRPS Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal and Maggie Malone, the district’s fine arts director.

“Part of our Promise to Michigan is caring for the communities we serve,” Rochow said. “How better to deliver on that promise than to encourage young artists? Recognizing and supporting today’s talented youths creates tomorrow’s ArtPrize entries, helping this great event to continue far into the future.”

In her artist statement, Bultman explained having the energy efficient light bulbs, which form flower petals, being powered by “a natural light source,” solar energy, creates a connection between nature and manufacturing.

“The flower formed from natural and electrical elements illustrates the relationship between man and Earth has the potential for beautiful things,” she wrote. “The cord that trails off of the piece is symbolic of what this partnership could lead to.”

Since the beginning of ArtPrize more than 10 days ago, a large banner with the Top 10 SmartArt finalists has been on display along the side of Consumers Energy’s Ellsworth Substation at Fulton and Market streets. Bultman’s entry will be noted on the banner as the first place winner.

In addition, for the first time, ArtPrize has put the Top 20 SmartArt entries on display. They are on the second floor of the Access Art Lounge at 50 Monroe, in downtown Grand Rapids.

Neal said interest among students and teachers has increased with the SmartArt competition now in its third year, and assists in the district’s transformation efforts. “We are grateful to Consumers Energy for their support of our students to help them become tomorrow’s leaders. This is a tremendous experience for everyone involved.”

In February, Consumers Energy organized a student assembly to provide an overview of renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainability. In May, GRPS officials selected the Top 20 entries from among 40 submitted pieces.

The Top 20 were then judged by a panel of experts from Kendall College of Art & Design at Ferris State University, Grand Rapids Community College and Grand Valley State University. About two weeks ago, Consumers Energy and GRPS hosted the Top 20 students and their teachers at the district’s headquarters to announce the Top 10 finalists and to celebrate everyone’s achievements. The remaining top finalists received a variety of prizes; all 20 students received a special T-shirt with all of their names included on the back and a rendering of the Top 10 banner on the front.

ArtPrize, now in its seventh year, is an independently organized international art competition open to any artist. It invites artists to try out new ideas on a large and diverse population, and seeks to broaden the critical dialogue around contemporary art by awarding the world’s largest art prize. Two $200,000 awards are decided by public vote and expert jury, and an additional $100,000 in prizes is awarded to the top entries in each category. ArtPrize Seven continues until Oct. 11, featuring over 1,500 entries displayed at more than 160 venues in Grand Rapids.

“ArtPrize has always been a strong believer in programs that enrich and engage communities through contemporary art,” said Christian Gaines, ArtPrize executive director. “This collaboration between Consumers Energy and Grand Rapids Public Schools is a great opportunity to celebrate the extraordinary creativity found in the children and young adults of our public schools. We’re pleased to be displaying the Top 20 SmartArt finalists at our Access Art Lounge this year. ”

For more information on ArtPrize, visit www.artprize.org.

Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest utility, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and electricity to 6.6 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

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Media Contacts:
Consumers Energy, Roger Morgenstern, 616/530-4364. Grand Rapids Public Schools, John Helmholdt, 616/481-2152. ArtPrize, Jaenell Woods, 616/214-7921.

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For more information about Consumers Energy, go to www.ConsumersEnergy.com.

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