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ArtPrize artist profile: Connected at the Hopcat

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Heidi's "Connected"

Heidi's "Connected"

Sitting across from me is the elusive Garry Boyd. “Sunday Bloody Sunday” by U2 plays over the bar’s speakers. Sporting a Misfits tee, shorts, and Converse tennis shoes his boyish teddy bear like charm shines through his words. “I love my job.”

For a 40-something “geek” Boyd’s passion for community is illuminating. Boyd, General Manager of Hopcat Bar, is a very busy man. The Grand Haven resident, who travels an hour to work each day, has his hand in numerous community based organizations. He collaborates on Activesite Artspace, is a supporter of Well House, books bands like the Ragbirds, and organizes as many beer-based events as he can get his hands on. Boyd, far from burnt out, is an activist by choice and has an honest heart for the spread of community. His most recent endeavor? ArtPrize.

ArtPrize, the buzz word around the Grand Rapids community, is taking the city by storm. A community based art showcase of both local and international artists, ArtPrize includes 1,262 artists competing for a chance to win $250,000. A plethora of art and media are taking over the city of Grand Rapids. Venues are vast and diverse, ranging from coffee shops and art institutes to your local bar.

HopcatHopcat, origin of eclectic foodie delights like the Hippie Wrap and numerous house brewed beers including Sage Against the Machine, will follow their creative suit by housing 16 artists for the 16 days of ArtPrize.  Doing a kind of interior redecorating, the bar’s beloved hanging art will be replaced by 16 artists’ creations:  a Choo Choo Grill, a sock monkey tree, plus many other eclectic works. 

Kicking off the “Art Fight” with a punch, Hopcat will be throwing an ArtPrize Kick Off Party the 23rd. Starting at 6PM, Hopcat’s renegade artists will be showcasing all their entries. One brewer’s entry of an artistically crafted brew will be tapped alongside a “linear universe’s” custom drink.

A community of artists, both local and international, will be in attendance. Capturing the common themes of interconnectivity and identity, Heidi Camp’s piece, Connected, is one of the many showcased at Hopcat. Using 2,988 acrylic squares, Camp created a portrait of U2 front man, Bono. Taking a lot of value in the process, it took Camp between 80 and 90 hours to find where each piece went. “One thing leads to another and you arrive at a place you didn’t expect and that’s where it comes full circle. And in the same sense it becomes complete.”

Heidi Camp represents the typical artist involved in the competition. Teaching elementary art at West Ottawa and attending Kendal College of Art and Design for her masters in Art Education, Camp practices what she teaches. “If you are not practicing art yourself you lose the respect from the students. Boyd and Camp are ready to join what ArtPrize organizers call the conversation.  “I’m really excited to have conversations with the people involved [as they] view the art.”  So if you make it downtown in the next 16 days, stop into Hopcat for a brew. You may find out good people really do drink good beer.

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