Graphic Design graduate a big winner at ArtPrize 2022 | MSUtoday


A mural created by MSU College of Arts & Letters graduate Maddison Chaffer for this year’s ArtPrize competition was selected as one of the winners of the judged awards.

Chaffer, who earned a 2020 BFA in graphic design from Michigan State University, is this year’s installation judge winner. The ArtPrize 2022 winners were announced during the final awards ceremony on September 30th.

Maddison Chaffer with the completed Seeking a Pleasant Peninsula mural. Image copyright: Jonas Quirin

Chaffer will receive $10,000 as the winner of the Installation category. Judges selected a winner and honorable mention in each of the five categories, with winners receiving $10,000 and honorable mentions receiving $2,500.

Chaffer’s award-winning mural, titled “Seeking a Pleasant Peninsula,” features imagery of Michigan’s ecology, including Michigan’s state fish, the brown trout, as well as a lake sturgeon, a loon, a white pine, plants, and distinctive geographic landmarks including pictured rocks, arch rocks, and turnip rocks. The mural was inspired by Chaffer’s love of nature and conservation.

“Our goal was to raise awareness of the current conservation efforts in Grand Rapids and demonstrate the compatibility of art and activism,” said Chaffer. “By highlighting Michigan’s ecology in the midst of one of our most important urban centers, this mural will be able to engage viewers who might not otherwise get a chance to experience Michigan’s natural wonders.

“While I cannot claim that this mural alone will inspire large-scale ecological reform, I firmly believe in the power of art to at least arouse curiosity. Curiosity lays the groundwork for occasional interest that can develop into a deep appreciation. Drawing on this deeper appreciation for our natural landscape, my partners and I hope our community will find a newfound commitment to preserving this unique state we call home.”

As a lifelong Michigander, avid collector, and amateur survivalist, the mural is deeply personal to Chaffer.

“Even in my lifetime, I have seen how human activity has transformed the forests I grew up in. Many of my favorite elms have been replaced by condos; One of my secret streams was bisected by a parking lot,” Chaffer said. “I am committed to preserving my nearby forests in my own activities, using sustainable foraging methods and adhering to a strict leave-no-trace policy, but there is only so much I can do individually can do in a world of greed and corporate ephemerality. seeing legislation. Because of this, I hope my art can help inspire other Michiganns to take collective conservation action.”

The mural was completed in conjunction with the Pleasant Peninsula: Art & Activism Fair, an event that Chaffer coordinated with Erika Collins.

“We are grateful that the ArtPrize judges considered our event, Pleasant Peninsula: Art & Activism Fair, in their decisions,” said Chaffer. “With over 20 local artists, a dozen environmental organizations, four keynote speakers, four local bands, a tape average for the newly installed mural, and over a thousand in attendance, our community made it clear that preserving our native ecology is a top priority here in Grand Rapids.”

Madison Chaffer works on a mural in front of a crowd in Grand Rapids

Onlookers watch as Maddison Chaffer works on the ‘Seeking a Pleasant Peninsula’ mural.

While the painting process for the mural took seven days, Chaffer spent nearly two years bringing this project to fruition. The mural is located at 140 Monroe Center in downtown Grand Rapids.

“Due to the mural’s central location in downtown Grand Rapids and, more broadly, its centrality to the state of Michigan, we hope that the fascination with our state’s evolutionary history will quickly spread among passers-by,” said Chaffer. “Longer term, we anticipate that passing interest will translate into deep gratitude, which in turn will inspire future conservation efforts.”

This year’s ArtPrize event ran from September 15th to October 10th. 2. However, Chaffer’s mural will live much longer and can still be seen on the east side of a building at Monroe Center across from Rosa Parks Circle.

This is the ninth mural Chaffer has created in Grand Rapids, and Chaffer has only been creating murals since 2019. However, this is not the first of Chaffer’s murals to receive an award. In 2020, Chaffer was the People’s Choice winner for the mural they created on a cylindrical silo at Brewery Vivant in Grand Rapids as part of the first AlePrize competition that year. The Beer City Brewers Guild launched AlePrize in 2020 in response to the cancellation of ArtPrize earlier this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information on Chaffer’s murals and other work, visit Maddison Chaffer’s website.

This story originally appeared on the College of Arts & Letters website.


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