ArtPrize Fifth Third/Warner Norcross venue is varied, professional, personal


PHOTO #1: Artist Twila L. Nye is reflected in both the smooth and the shattered panels of her “Take a Look at Your Life!” The third panel shows the bright red heart beating at its center. Nye, who is willing to make desktop versions, says that she does not want the work to be about her own pain, from which she is healing, but about helping the viewer see hope.

PHOTO #2: Artist and Warner Norcross attorney David Skidmore is shown with his daughter Anna in front of his painting “The Past, Orbiting.” (Photo courtesy of David Skidmore)

PHOTO #3: This is one wall of “The Makeout Project” by Jedediah Johnson, who smeared on lipstick and then kissed subjects before taking their photos. The ten large panels took up all of the hallway near the Monroe St. entrance.

PHOTO #4: Donald Frank’s “Redfish and Hands” was inspired by the striking beauty of a fish caught on a trip he had planned to share with a dear friend who died days earlier.

PHOTO #5: “Insides Out” by Eric C. Hudson is a series of triumphant paintings created using his medical images, such as X-rays, since his diagnosis with a life-threatening disease.

PHOTO #6: “Modern Art in Quilt Form” by Sue Cortese.

By Cynthia Price
Legal News

The Fifth Third/Warner Norcross and?Judd exhibition venue has really come into its own, with art everywhere in a wide variety of media, and a commitment to the highest quality.

“What I think they all have in common is that they are very well done, regardless of style, technique, or medium,” said Dan Castello, a creative director and graphic designer who curated the showing. “That’s something I’m very sensitive to when I’m selecting the pieces, that they’re very well crafted from an execution standpoint.”

Warner Norcross plays the role of a support partner in the project. “We work with Fifth Third and split some of the costs associated with the venue, but Fifth Third does the lion’s share of it, like, for example, their facilities people working with the artists to hang the art,” says Warner’s Community Relations Manager Robin Keith.

Warner Norcross also supports other aspects of ArtPrize. In the early days the firm was the sponsor of the smart phone app; for the past couple years it has sponsored the ArtFan party. Held this year on Sept. 28, the member-only reception is for the “most passionate” ArtPrize fans, who work to make sure art continues to be available to the community.

And this year, Warner has contributed an artist. Attorney David L. Skidmore painted “The Past, Orbiting” in acrylic on canvas with paper collage. On display in the Fifth Third Warner?Norcross space, the painting depicts a large Saturn-like planet with a ring composed of fragments of historical artifacts, parts of sculptures, and objects that suggest the distant past. “I cannibalized some books on Greek and Roman history and copied the shapes of asteroids that might compose a planet’s ring,” Skidmore says.

He comments further, “I specialize in trust and estate disputes, and there’s actually a connection between my area of law and the artwork?I created. What I’ve seen, doing this for 17 years, is that the past is very much alive for people who are involved in these disputes. They might be trying to use the legal system to get resolution of bad feelings, to prove that a relationship was a good one and not a bad one. So that’s part of what I’m trying to show – the images
of the past are very much part of the landscape.”

He adds that he has been dabbling in painting only a few years, inspired by ArtPrize. “I’m not in it to get chosen for the top 20; it’s just a great way to have lots of people see what you’ve done. It seems like we’ve been getting a lot of foot traffic this year,” Skidmore says.

That is not surprising, considering that with one indoor stop (which, as the app notes, includes free public bathrooms), viewers can see everything from furniture adorned with motifs from Furniture City history to pithy sayings created from car license plates to a bas-relief Apollo and Daphne.

Curator Castello, who was approached based on past connections with people who work at Fifth Third Bank, says, “My first priority as a curator is to create the best experience possible for the people who visit. If over time I can start building a venue that’s as popular as the UICA or the Ford Museum,  that would be a plus.”