BBAC hosts winning entries from regional fine art contest

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published July 19, 2017

 Artist Carol Socks-Parker will have her winning sculpture, “Love Memories,” on display at the BBAC through late August.

Artist Carol Socks-Parker will have her winning sculpture, “Love Memories,” on display at the BBAC through late August.

Photo provided by Diane Taylor, of the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center

OAKLAND COUNTY — Since 1982, the Michigan Fine Arts Competition has featured outstanding artists from around Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin.

And the work from those local artists gets more and more impressive every year.

Thirteen winners were chosen by jurors in this year’s competition from more than 600 submissions by 91 artists in 54 cities. The top prize of $2,000 went to Alan Brown, of Lake Orion, with his sculpture titled “Blossom Among Dragons.”

Coming away with the BBAC’s President’s Award was Carol Socks-Parker, of Rochester Hills, for her sculpture “Love Memories.”

“I was very excited; how can you not be?” Socks-Parker said of her win. “It’s always nice to have people recognize your work as something that was meaningful for them to look at.”

Even more meaningful since the sculpture was particularly packed with emotion for her, representing time with her family. From the clay shoes that resemble her grandmother’s, to the actual photographs and postcards included dating back more than 100 years, Socks-Parker said she put her family history and her heart into the piece.

Other winners were chosen from around C & G’s coverage area, including Chris Dean, of Ferndale; Austen Brantley, of Royal Oak; and Lulu Zheng, of Birmingham. The top picks were chosen by Noel W. Anderson, an assistant professor from New York University’s Art and Art Professions Department.

The 102 pieces selected for this year’s prestigious competition will be on display at the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center through Aug. 25.

“Because it’s an all-media show, it’s an extra exciting show. You have all these different materials that your eyes can bounce around to and see what people are saying with their work,” said Socks-Parker, who entered for the first time this year.

Annie VanGelderen, president and CEO of the BBAC, said the MFAC exhibit is always a huge draw for the nonprofit art instruction center and gallery.

“Artists share their perspectives through their work and are truly storytellers of the past and tomorrow. As the viewer, we get a glimpse into their visions, which might spark dialogue, memories or dreams,” VanGelderen said. “The Michigan Fine Arts Competition is a wonderful opportunity to take that journey.”

Entry to the Michigan Fine Arts Competition exhibition is free of charge. The gallery’s summer hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. For more information, visit

The Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center is located at 1516 S. Cranbrook Road in Birmingham.