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Iron Mountain native wins “ArtPrize” 2011 in Grand Rapids

Lindsey Smith
Michigan Radio
'Crucifixion' by Mia Tavonatti took home the top prize Thursday evening in Grand Rapids. She won $100,000 in ArtPrize last year with another 2-D stained glass mosaic.

From an ArtPrize press release:

The top prize of $250,000 went to Mia Tavonatti from Santa Ana, California (originally from Iron Mountain, Michigan) for her large-scale mosaic, Crucifixion. More than 382,000 votes were cast in ArtPrize 2011 and an estimated 500,000 visitors experienced the third annual competition.

Description of work: (From ArtPrize.org) Having done works for four churches in the last two years, it was an honor to be asked to create the altarpiece for the new Saint Kilian's Catholic church in Orange County, California. After experiencing construction delays, I decided to commence the work and enter the 9' x 13' stained glass mosaic into Artprize. I am very excited to share my first altarpiece with Grand Rapids.

“I created this design by photographing my model in the woods of Santa Cruz, California, tied to a huge cross made of Home Depot beams, and wearing a crown of thorns crafted from a Michael's wreath. By layering this imagery with two sunsets I photographed in Italy and Hawaii, I was able to compose the powerful light sources so relevant to this and all of my work. This "Crucifixion" took 2500 hours, is made of hand-cut stained glass, is attached to a custom wood structure and weighs 425 lbs. I drove Him across country by myself in two sections in a Penske truck.”

Please visit MichiganRadio.org Friday morning for her reactions and a wrap up of the other winners.

Lindsey Smith is Michigan Radio’s investigative reporter. She previously served as Michigan Radio’s Morning News Editor and West Michigan Reporter.
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