After watching ArtPrize explode as an international art competition, West Michigan native Tyler Loftis wanted to find a way to connect the art world in New York City, where he now lives and works as a painter, with his Midwestern roots.
Loftis and Second Ave Arts out of New York City have partnered with ArtPrize to present a curated show designed to promote collecting artwork in West Michigan, along with forging artist-collector-public relationships through a three-day showing at the ArtPrize HUB.
Loftis organizes and curates the Collectors Show twice a year, once during the preview week of ArtPrize and once in the spring. Besides giving a platform to ArtPrize artists to show and sell their work, Loftis brings along work from world-renowned artists like Arthur Dove, Philip Pearlstein and Robert De Niro Sr., among others.
By carefully selecting and hanging the work, Loftis wants to show, rather than tell, what a unique and forward-thinking platform ArtPrize is for the region.
“It’s a visual thing, being able to see it next to each other,” he said. “The whole idea is to bridge the communication between the two different cultures to show how amazing the art is happening in Michigan and how well the New York art shows in Michigan.”
The show in March will be the fourth installment, featuring 50 to 60 contemporary artists, including 30 past and present ArtPrize artists shown alongside the featured NYC artists.
“The diversity of the past three shows has been extraordinary — age, ethnicity, career level,” he said. “I believe we’re doing something very exciting and avant-garde here.”
The art is priced from $300 to $50,000, with something there for everyone, he said. All work in the show is for sale, priced at 10- to 20-percent below market prices to encourage collectors in West Michigan to connect with these artists. Plus, 20 percent of sales go to support arts education at ArtPrize 2017.
“The results have been super positive financially for the artists and collectors, and the quality of work has really been amazing,” he said. “I take a break from my schedule, my work out here, to fly back there and do this. It’s a historical, educational thing that gives these artists an incredible platform.”
This Collectors Show will include work from Eugene Delacroix — a famous French painter from the 19th century — Alex Katz, Fairfield Porter, Philip Pearlstein, Lois Dodd, Robert De Niro Sr., Paul Resika, and Louisa Matthíasdóttir. A few of the artists are still living, now in their 80s and 90s, Loftis said.
Loftis, creator and juror of the Collectors Show, has relationships with artists and dealers in New York, which helps make the show possible. He ran the nonprofit Fire Barn Gallery in Grand Haven for four years with a similar mission to present shows by local and world-renowned artists together.
“The reasons for doing it are a lot deeper,” he said. “It’s not about hosting a random show — it’s more about being part of history, part of something that traditionally hasn’t happened there. We have very rich musical traditions in the Midwest. That’s my heart and where I’m from, but visually, we just don’t.
“My belief is the Midwest has a lot to give the rest of the world visually, it just needs to have a vehicle to get out. I feel ArtPrize is the next step.”
Spring Collectors Show
41 Sheldon Blvd. SE
March 3, 6-10 p.m.
March 4, 12-8 p.m.