I knew next-to-nothing about Artprize until the day before the deadline when artist Adonna Khare enthusiastically encouraged me to enter. Adonna won the $200,000 prize two years ago at Artprize; her award-winning artwork was featured earlier this year at the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings (where our friendship began). While the California artist was in Montana for the exhibit opening at the YAM the poor girl was hit with a bout of pneumonia which landed her at the hospital where she saw my sculpture installation “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden” at the Billings Clinic. Adonna said she continued to dream about the trees months after seeing them.
Despite my late entry, I was selected from more than 6000 applicants to participate in Artprize and asked to exhibit at one of the top three venues. The sculptures created quite a buzz at the world’s largest art prize competition featuring artists from more than 50 countries. A local newscaster picked my sculptures as a personal favorite from over 1500 entries and featured “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden on the local news. The public’s response was overwhelming, each day some stranger was moved to gift me something. People brought back family and friends to see the trees over and over again. I was voted the “Top 25” in my category – quite an accomplishment for a first-time entrant I am told.
The Artprize competition seemed like a good opportunity to show the sculptures and gain exposure to help realize my passion to create healing sanctuaries in hospitals and cancer centers. The sincere emotional heart-warming response the sculptures elicited from thousands of people at Artprize motivates me more than ever to continue to create art with a healing purpose.