2015 MI Great Artist Winner Kenneth Hershenson

2015 MI Great Artist winner Kenneth Hershenson.

2015 MI Great Artist winner Kenneth Hershenson.

Kenneth Hershenson of Clawson was chosen as the winner of the 2015 MI Great Artist award competition for his acrylic on canvas art. Largely self-taught, Kenneth Hershenson, 62, has been painting and drawing for nearly 50 years. A favorite piece in the show, “A Pair of Jacks,” was a an idea that came to him almost 30 years ago, which he has worked to perfect through the years. Visitors can see “A Pair of jacks” along with his other wonderful pieces, at the Park West Gallery through January 8, 2016.

Kenneth Hershenson has participated in many juried art shows and most recently won the People’s Choice Award in the “Duplicity” Open Juried Show in Plymouth. His “I DO Know Jack!” series was in the final top 25 public vote, round one (out of nearly 1,000 entries) in ArtPrize 7, the largest international art competition and exhibition.  Hershenson’s background also includes architectural designs for Disneyland in Anaheim, California and Starbucks in Seattle, Washington (designing Starbucks stores in Japan, Saudi Arabia and Korea). Speaking at the MI Great Artist Competition Hershenson said, “This is the first time my body of work has flowed together in this theme, and it’s almost overwhelming the great response I’ve gotten. My advice to young artists is to just do it, you never know what can happen!”

For winning the 2015 MI Great Artist competition, Kenneth will receive:

  • Framing of his five artworks by Park West Gallery
  • A group exhibition at Park West Gallery, which runs through Jan. 8, 2016
  • Business counseling and other services from the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center
  • His artwork featured on a poster to promote one of Oakland County’s signature quality of life events
  • A solo exhibition at Park West Gallery
  • A two-month solo exhibition at the Oakland County Galleria in the Executive Office building in Waterford
  • $1,500 cash

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The four finalists, Meredith Lea Bailey, Michael Bollerud, Jennifer Whaley and Larry Zdeb,  were also gathered Tuesday night at the Park West Gallery in Southfield where their art was on display for the MI Great Artist competition. 2014 MI Great Artist winner, and Elite 40 Under 40 alumna Weatherly Stroh, was also at the exhibition showing her equine oil paintings.

Hershenson and the finalists win more than $16,000 in prizes and services. Each of the four finalists receive:

  • Framing by Park West Gallery of their five artworks
  • A group exhibition at Park West Gallery which runs through Jan. 8, 2016
  • A two-month solo exhibition in the Oakland County Galleria
  • Business services from the Oakland County One Stop Shop Business Center
  • $375 cash

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The judges for the competition were Park West Gallery founder and CEO Albert Scaglione; Elliott W. Broom, Vice President of Museum Operations at the Detroit Institute of Arts; Dominic Pangborn, Founder of Pangborn Design Collection and former professor at the College of Creative Studies; artist Don Tocco; and Kristie Everett Zamora, Coordinator of Arts and Culture for Oakland County’s Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs.

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During the event, Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson spoke to the importance of the arts in Oakland County saying, ” When we work to attract companies – job providers – to our region, their questions inevitably turn to quality of life issues including, “Do you support the arts?” The MI Great Artist competition allows us to answer with a resounding yes.”

An initiative of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, the MI Great Artist contest was created to celebrate the talent and creativity of area artists. The contest is open to any artist living, working, or attending school in: Genesee, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, Shiawassee, and Wayne Counties. During the 2015 voting period nearly 22,000 votes we cast online, more than twice the number of votes cast in 2014, with 109 entrants vying for the top five spots. Congratulations to all the artists, finalists and Kenneth Hershenson for your hard work and making the 2015 MI Great Artist competition truly great.

Learn more about the MI Great Artist competition on their website and keep up with the artists year round on their Facebook page and on Twitter using #MIGreatArtist.

Stay connected with Advantage Oakland on Facebook & Twitter for more information on programs and upcoming events!

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