Frankfort native's quilts earn spot in ArtPrize Top 10

Northern Michigan woman is in the running to win 19-day art competition.

ArtPrize 2013 is in full swing in Grand Rapids. It is the fifth year the international art competition has taken over West Michigan.

The ten most popular art pieces were announced Sunday, and among them was Northern Michigan native Ann Loveless.

Lovelessâ?? quilted entry, entitled "Sleeping Bear Dune Lakeshore" was hanging in the Gerald R. Ford Museum, but because of the government shut down, the display had to be moved since the museum closed Tuesday.

Lovelessâ?? husband, Steve, drove down to Grand Rapids Tuesday morning to help Ann with the set up of the new display in front of the museum.

â??I think her art generally shows better in an indoor setting with controlled lighting, but she's used to showing her work in an outdoor art fair setting,â?? said husband Steve Loveless. â??She does a lot of art fairs throughout the summer.â??

Ann Loveless is no stranger to ArtPrize. The Frankfort resident submitted her fine art quilts the past three years.

In 2012, Loveless made it into the Top 25 with "Seasons." This year she made it into guaranteed prize territory: the Top Ten. The smallest amount of money the quilter will take home is $5,000.

â??It's very encouraging for her as an artist and as a quilter. She has the whole quilting community behind her,â?? said Loveless.

Many people are surprised when they take a closer look at Ann's work.

â??People frequently, almost always, approach her pieces and think it's a painting, sometimes even a photograph when they see it from a distance. But as they approach it and are aware it's made entirely of fabric and thread, they're really quite fascinated with it,â?? said Loveless.

Ann made the effort to remain by her work throughout the competition each year, campaigning for votes.

â??It is a tremendous amount of work and a huge time commitment-- a commitment many artists can't make,â?? said Loveless.

This year's submission highlights the Northern Michigan vacation destination: Sleeping Bear Dunes. When people link that to the coupleâ??s "State of the Art" gallery in Beulah, it generates business for the gallery and the small town.

â??Even for last year, we noticed an increase in visitors coming to Benzie County, and coming to Beulahâ??coming specifically to see her work. The side benefit for the community and county as a whole is people would make a day trip, a weekend trip, they shop around downtown. So because [Sleeping Bear] is such a well known vacation destination area to begin with, it just reinforces that. It's great for the whole area.â??

Being in the top ten means a mandatory year off from the contest. Loveless said the break would be welcome, but plans are already being tossed around for future projects.

â??We've already talked about a potential piece down the road,â?? said Loveless.

Ann Loveless said if she wins, she will go on a shopping spree, buying more fabric and sewing machines. She also said she would expand their gallery in Beulah.

The 19-day competition wraps up Sunday. You can vote all the way through Thursday night.

The winners will be announced Friday night at 7.