Consumers Energy, Grand Rapids Public Schools Announce Finalists for Sixth Annual Student Art Competition

Overall Winner, People's Choice to be announced during ArtPrize 10 this fall
May 31, 2018 11:35 AM ET

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., May 31, 2018 /3BL Media/ – Organizers have announced the 10 finalists out of nearly 50 entries from Grand Rapids Public Schools student artists who will have their energy-related art work highlighted during this fall’s ArtPrize competition through collaboration with the school district and Consumers Energy.

This morning, representatives from the school’s administration, Consumers Energy, ArtPrize and the city of Grand Rapids gathered to celebrate 49 high school entries submitted with a theme of energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability. Media include oil pastels, pencil/charcoal drawing, painting and mixed media. 

“The Grand Rapids community has long been committed to renewable energy and sustainability,” Lauren Youngdahl Snyder, vice president of customer experience for Consumers Energy, told students and others gathered at today’s event. “Consumers Energy shares that commitment. Recently, we announced our Clean Energy Goals, which includes a commitment to, by 2040, cut carbon emissions by 80 percent and eliminate the use of coal to generate electricity.  The artwork displayed today certainly shows students also understand the importance of protecting our environment.”

This is the sixth year of the SmartArt competition, which stands for Students Making Art with a Renewable Theme.

At a student assembly a week ago, GRPS, Consumers Energy and ArtPrize announced the 20 SmartArt semi-finalists. Those students were invited to the ArtPrize HUB for today’s announcement. The Top 10 artwork was on display afterward and will be displayed during the tenth annual ArtPrize, Sept. 19-Oct. 7. Also during ArtPrize, a large banner displaying the Top 10 will be on display outside a Consumers Energy electric substation wall at Fulton Street and Market Avenue.

The Top 20 were selected by Grand Rapids Public Schools’ officials. The 10 finalists were then judged by a panel of art professionals from Kendall College of Art & Design at Ferris State University, Grand Rapids Community College and Grand Valley State University.  The top winner and the winner of a “people’s choice” online contest are scheduled to be announced during the ArtPrize Final 20 announcement on Sept. 30 at Rosa Parks Circle, sponsored by Consumers Energy.

The 10 finalists announced Wednesday, along with their artwork title, grade, and high school are, in alphabetical order:

  • Lana deGraaf, Solar Bus, 10th, City High Middle School;
  • Emanuel Galindo-Peralta, 60 %, 9th, CA Frost Environmental Science Academy;
  • Rose Gerson, Colors of the Wind, 10th, City High Middle School;
  • Jazmine Knight, Dream in Action, 11th, City High Middle School;
  • Lillian Kuipers, Polluted Night, 11th, City High Middle School;
  • Elena Mealing, Neglected Connection, 11th, City High Middle School;
  • Rukundo Nshimiyimana, Hope, 11th, Innovation Central;
  • Jenna Sherwin,  Light Up The World, 11th, City High Middle School;
  • Alex Van Kuiken, Empire, 11th, City High Middle School;
  • Madison Younts, Our Planet In Bloom, 11th, City High Middle School

“Now in its sixth year, the SmartArt contest has evolved into an annual opportunity that our students and fine arts teachers look forward to with great excitement,” said Grand Rapids Public Schools Superintendent Teresa Weatherall Neal. “I am grateful to be working with Consumers Energy to blend art with sustainability and environmental stewardship -- then elevating the students’ work for the entire world to see as part of ArtPrize 10 and the final 20 announcement.”

The contest’s top winner will receive a $1,000 college scholarship courtesy of Consumers Energy.

ArtPrize is an open, independently organized international art competition which takes place for 19 days each fall in Grand Rapids. Each year, $500,000 in prizes are awarded, which include a $200,000 prize awarded entirely by public vote and another $200,000 prize awarded by a jury of art experts. Consumers Energy has been an ArtPrize sponsor since 2011.

“Engaging visitors of all ages in meaningful learning opportunities lies at the heart of the ArtPrize event. Thanks to sponsors like Consumers Energy, our city transforms each fall into a place for generations of artists and art-lovers to explore and create contemporary art,” said Becca Guyette, ArtPrize director of learning and engagement. “The SmartArt competition continues to be a shining example of how ArtPrize can serve as a stage to celebrate the creativity and ingenuity of our city’s youth.”

For more information on ArtPrize, visit

About Consumers Energy

Consumers Energy, Michigan’s largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy (NYSE: CMS), providing natural gas and/or electricity to 6.7 million of the state’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

Media Contacts

Consumers Energy: Roger Morgenstern, 616-530-4364

Grand Rapids Public Schools: John Helmholdt, 616-819-2149

ArtPrize: Jaenell Woods, 616-214-7921

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